Tolling the new Puhoi to Warkworth motorway is exactly the wrong thing to do (MM May 20). A toll of $2.80 will double the traffic flow on the old State Highway from 7000 vehicles per day to 15,000 vehicles per day. Even a toll of $1.50 would increase traffic on the old State Highway by 50 per cent. Doubling the traffic can be expected to double the accidents. One of the main reasons for building the new motorway was to reduce accidents by diverting traffic from a lower standard highway. Tolling is promoted to generate revenue, but in doing so it increases accidents. The efficiency of collecting revenue by tolling is very low. The transaction cost is $0.70 per vehicle. Other costs that are incurred are ‘tolls not recovered’ ($0.021) and gantry operation and maintenance costs (at least $0.07). For a $1.50 toll, 53 per cent of the revenue collected is wasted. The NZ Transport Agency (NZTA) objective should be to attract as much of the traffic in the corridor to the new highway as possible. We are paying NX2 the same amount for the use of the motorway for the next 25 years, regardless of the traffic volume. At the hearings for the new motorway, the traffic model predicted only 48 per cent of the corridor traffic would use the new motorway. Add a toll to this and the figures can only get worse. The reason that the split is so poor is that NZTA did not include a Warkworth southern interchange. NZTA should build the southern interchange now and agree to no tolling to get the split closer to the 83 per cent split predicted by Beca. To do this would make much better use of the of the monies already committed to the NX2 project. The people of Rodney are already hit by a triple whammy. They pay $2.80 for the only toll road in the Auckland area. They pay 10 cents a litre levy to Auckland Council as an Auckland Transport Levy, and they pay $150 per property for the Rodney Local Board transport targeted rate to carry out projects not paid for by Auckland Transport. NZTA are now proposing an additional whammy by tolling the new road. Further tolling is unacceptable.
Roger Williams, Warkworth
Congratulations to Mahurangi Matters in getting back to print. We always look forward to reading one of the best community papers we know. We are in total support of our Rodney Councillor, Greg Sayers, when he states it is time to slash costs (MM May 20) and have a zero per cent rates increase option. Like Council, many pensioners who rely on dividend income will have their income slashed as a number of companies cancel or defer dividends. Council can expect at least a half billion dollar hit on income this year, so must go hard and slash costs. It will undoubtedly mean Council staff working hard and being more efficient. Staffing is an obvious starting point. With 86 staff paid more than a quarter of a million dollars ($250,000) and the Mayor suggesting that all staff paid over $100,000 take cuts of only between five to 10 per cent, surely it is time to cull staff like every well-run business. Keep up the battle Greg, for a zero rates increase.
Terry and Beatrice Nuthall, Warkworth
Recently you’ve spent a lot of time hammering the Rodney Local Board about this feedback on the landfill they provided (MM May 20). This seems to be a case of chasing the minnows instead of the big fish. Why haven’t you investigated the actual applicant for the landfill. Waste Management is a Chinese-owned company that is predominantly owned by the Chinese Government. Apparently, they are placing a great deal of pressure on Auckland Council to ensure the consent process is completed by end of 2020. This seems very strange for a landfill that is not supposed to begin official operations until 2028. Why is a Chinese Government-owned waste management company so set on getting official sign off on its new landfill so quickly? In fact, why is a Chinese company so intent on managing our waste? I’d suggest you stop wasting your time chasing a group of people that have no control over this whole process and start asking questions about who is actually pushing for this landfill in our area
To clarify, Mahurangi Matters has published only two stories regarding Rodney Local Board feedback on the landfill. It has pointed out numerous times that Waste Management is Chinese owned. In a story published online on April 6 we reported Waste Management was resisting pressure to halt the resource consent process while the country was under lockdown – Ed.
I sympathise with Trevor McKinney’s letter (MM May 20) commenting on the proposal to erect a sun shelter on the unspoilt Sunburst Avenue Reserve.
However, just a note: James Snell certainly planted many trees, including the remaining oak tree off Snells Beach Road where the old homestead sat – as a plaque shows. However, except for one or two ancient specimen, all the pohutakawa on the beach front from Daltons Road to Ariki Drive were planted and tended under the direction of Trevor Chatterton, between about 1965 and 1970. At the time, he was the Rodney County building inspector, reserves and property officer, seen around in his little black Ford Prefect. Incidentally, he also looked after the Martins Bay Holiday Camp. I remember one Friday night in the Warkworth Hotel asking him what he had been doing all day. He replied, “Planting pohutakawa at Snells Beach.” Last summer, I watched an enlarged family spanning five generations enjoying a picnic in the shade of one such tree, now 50 years old. “Chattie” would have been pleased.
Geoff Ward, Snells Beach
Lowdown on litter
With takeaway outlets closed for the four weeks of Level 4, and being a “glass-half-full” sort of person, I decided that I would use my daily walk to rid the town of takeaway litter. As it was difficult to quantify the bags and bags of general waste that I picked up, I counted the aluminium cans. Over the 33 days, I squashed and recycled 343 cans. The biggest daily tally was 59. One day, I met a golden labrador out walking his gentleman, and he summarised the situation succinctly (the gentleman that is, not the labrador) – “We live in such a beautiful part of the world, and so many people are irresponsible”. So, which parts of the town were the best and the worst? Hepburn Creek Road was awarded the chocolate fish for best outlying road and Woodcocks/Falls/Hudson Roads earned the liquorice strap. For town streets, a chocolate fish for Northwood Park Estate and six of the best for Wech Drive and anywhere within cooee of McDonald’s. I kept a keen watch to see how long it would take for the irresponsible to undo my good work. Five hours after McDonald’s opened, I picked up one of their newly discarded coffee cups.
Maureen Young, Warkworth