Friday, January 12, 2007

Poripori Road Picnic area - a tragedy of the commons?

What is the tragedy of the commons? I guarantee that we have members of the council who wouldn't have a clue what this condition is, so how on earth can they be expected to fix or remedy the situation - something that effects us all, and is happening around us on a daily basis!

The Poripori Road waterhole car park/layby area is owned and promoted by the Western Bay District Council, which means it is owned by everybody - and nobody (when it comes to being responsible that is!)

This is a prime example of what happens when there is not a clear set of property rights in place, and when everybody has the right to use something, but has no responsibility for the upkeep or maintenance of it.
This area is open to the public at all times with no restrictions.
People frequenting this local beauty spot park in the carpark (Layby) and frequently leave mountains of garbage, bottles, cans, nappies, condoms, wheels and car tyres etc, which are promptly used as missiles by the next lot of visitors, to be thrown and smashed on the rocks below, and the wheels and tyres rolled over the edge down into the previously beautiful bush.
Lowlifes visiting the area have recently been on a graffiti spree, covering the rocks at the previous beauty spot with unsightly tagging.
The Western Bay District Council happily consent to remove the garbage from the carpark, but once it has been hiffed into and onto the water and rocks below, their responsibility apparently ends, and it becomes the responsibility of Environment BOP! (Call me old fashioned, but I call this PASSING THE BUCK!)

New Zealanders used to have a pride in their country - a clean, green paradise! But now as the population increases, and more and more children are achieving a lower standard of education in government-run factory schools and consequently fewer taught the real meaning of property rights and personal responsibility, we have legions of low-lifes, hoons animals and losers without a conscience, and a total disrespect for the environment, and the property of others trashing the place without a care.

In the past, when there were fewer people using the resources (parks etc) there were fewer problems, but with the population growing without limit, the values that visitors seek in the parks are steadily eroded. Plainly, we must soon cease to treat the parks as commons or they will be of no value to anyone.

The council have been approached on numerous occasions to provide rubbish bins, and have refused (excuse the pun!) They have also refused to put in place speed humps, or other deterrants to the boy racers who cannot resist the opportunity to do donuts in the loose gravel, and burnouts on the adjoining tar seal.

By taking ownership on behalf of everybody for this area (and every other one like it) and neglecting to take good care of the resources as if they were privately owned they have relinquished the responsibility from a private property owner to look after, manage and take pride and care of it. This previous beauty spot is slowly and gradually turning into what resembles a toxic waste dump!

What shall we do?

There are several options. We might sell them off as private property. We might keep them as public property, but allocate the right to enter them. The allocation might be on the basis of wealth ie an entry fee or bond, by the use of an auction system. It might be on the basis of merit, as defined by some agreedupon standards. It might be by lottery. Or it might be on a first-come, first-served basis, administered to long queues. These, I think, are all objectionable options. But we must choose—or accept reluctantly with no complaint the destruction of the commons that we call our National Parks.

A very interesting and authoratative study on this subject was written in 1968 by Garrett Hardin, which can be found at the following link, or just by googling "Tragedy of the Commons"

This is what Aristotle (384-322BC) said: "what is common to the greatest number has the least care bestowed upon it"

Was he right or WHAT!


Post a Comment

<< Home