The Irony of Old Mans Beard
The German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche wrote ” the surest sign that two people no longer speak the same language is that both say ironic things to one another but that neither senses the irony.“
If Nietzsche had been attending the Otago Regional Council Annual Plan hearings last week he would have seen how prophetic his words really were. The Society submitted that the Council’s failure to enforce the provisions of the Pest Plant Management Strategy and the provisions of the Biosecurity Act in Dunedin City is seriously affecting the city’s’ reserves and our biodiversity. Not only is the Otago Regional Council not speaking the same language as the Otago community, but it failed to understand the irony of the Dunedin Amenities Society’s’ submission.
In 2008 the Society identified and mapped 180 sites of Old Mans Beard on private property adjacent to the Town Belt, and presented that information to the Council for enforcement. After three years of inaction that information was presented to the Councillors again in the 2011 Annual Plan. The irony of the presentation is that from within the Otago Regional Council car park a large flowering sample of Old Mans Beard was taken to this years Annual Plan and presented to the Councillors. To find such a virulent pest plant in the car park of the very organisation that is charged with the management of this weed speaks volumes for an organisation that is failing our community and our environment.
The Dunedin Amenities Society does not place the blame for this on Council staff, but on Council management and Councillors who are failing to resource their staff appropriately to take action. The other bitter irony is that the Dunedin City Council pays thousands of ratepayers dollars in controlling this weed species on our parks and reserves. Yet there is every likelihood that such work is futile because the Regional Council will not enforce its own Pest Plant Strategy on adjacent private land and the controlled sites become reinfested after each flowering year. The Dunedin Amenities Society says its time that the Otago Regional Council began speaking the same language as our city and its community and show our region that it has the capacity to act appropriately.