[ Bioenergy ]
31 August 2001
NORTH SHORE TIMES ADVERTISER
PO Box 33235
NORTH SHORE CITY
DANGERS OF CASTING VOTE MISUSE
Correspondent Peter Money (NSTA 30 Aug) applauds Cr Lilly for use of his casting vote. Perhaps he doesn’t realise that the casting vote has been seriously misused in this instance. A casting vote in the hands of the chairman of a meeting is only there to break a deadlock and allow the committee to progress. Since there was no majority it should have been used to maintain the status quo - not to force through a change of policy by Council. This is a change the people at large have not been consulted on.
A casting vote is not there to double the power of one individual. Its use as such is a serious transgression of democratic principles.
Many in our North Shore communities are outraged that this misuse of the casting vote has turned away from the environmentally-friendly weed control methods that we implemented when I was last on Council. It will expose some inhabitants, whether they be children, adults or animals to the dangers of herbicides. Herbicides are designed to kill by interfering with a plant’s life force. Humans are still learning about their effects.
Mr Money’s assertion that glysophate is "benign" ignores the evidence that has been presented from people suffering reactions to such synthetic chemicals. In spite of his 40 years experience in horticultural science, he has overlooked some such sprays having been found to contain POEA contaminated with dioxin – a serious carcinogen. Even those who tolerate dangerous chemicals should respect the damage that they might cause to others. Why compel everyone to be exposed to them when there are other options?
It is an indictment on this present Council that they did not follow their weed control policy to utilise environmentally sensitive methods. Indeed, the public does not know that it stopped trials in January of an improved method of synthetic chemical free weed control (hot foam) before it was able to determine that it would be more effective and more efficient and thus cheaper. Why? This is despite the policy requiring new methods to be assessed for, amongst other things, human and environmental safety.
I urge Council to prevail on its contractor, even though a tender has been let, to alter their method of weed control so that we can once again be safe on our streets and proud of being an environmentally friendly and healthy North Shore City. I will make sure this happens.
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