Your Opinion – Hibiscus Matters letters July 15, 2020

Senseless spending on humps

Chris Casey, Manly (abridged)
As per your article (HM July 1) the $150,000 spent on this one road, Laurence Street, could have been used to help seal some of the loose metalled roads within Rodney. Now the speed bumps have been extended across the full width of the road. If this waste of money isn’t enough, the Council has also marked parts of the road in such a way that to pass a legally parked car, one must cross a double yellow line! This is highly illegal. And could we not have a review of the three sets of traffic lights on Whangaparaoa Road that cause massive queues in peak traffic? Two of these only provide access to the Mall (sorry, and the 12 houses in Tower Hill) and are simply not needed. If the one set remained, then the breaks would allow entry and exit where the other two sets currently sit. Any chance some common sense could prevail?

Gantry fault questioned

Henry Stonex, Red Beach
I don’t like the public being given the wrong information. Regarding your article on the Dynamic Lanes (HM July 1), the information on the broken gantry was wrong. Before I was able to change my daily walks routes, I did walk past the spot daily where the broken gantry was mounted. With my engineering hat on, it is not correct to say the gantry broke at the weld. It clearly broke some about 100mm above the weld in a jagged manner that suggests it was the pipe itself that could not take the winds swinging as I clearly remember watching before failure.  Breaks at a weld will be almost immediately close to the weld where the pipe material in this case would not have been damaged by the welding process. The cracking was jagged in largish failures of the pipe material itself, which was immediately obvious to me. That was well away from the weld. Saying they are now making the replacement gantry with larger pipe confirms this to me. I looked at the stub of the broken pipe many times and then suddenly that disappeared as well some weeks later. Pity I did not take a photo, eh?

Chris Martin of Auckland Transport replies: Hibiscus Matters took the information in its story from the report commissioned by Auckland Transport from an independent engineering consultancy. The information in the report stands.

Hub heads south

Michael James, Orewa
As stated in Hibiscus Matters’ June 17 story, Council will still provide face-to-face services until amalgamation in a hub at Albany, and will provide services in a new premises in Orewa in 2 to 3 years – but where? Shouldn’t these premises been identified before sale of the Tasman Building and surrounding lands? The new premises should include a new library, the present one leaks in torrential rain. The only area in Orewa is maybe George Lowe Place – oh sorry, the price paid will not be sufficient to buy those properties and construction costs for a new council service area. Anybody noticed that the hub and spokes are drawing closer to central Auckland? Our rates are still going up, in fact more than the national inflation rate and the services provided to us are diminishing. The Covid-19 emergency budget is clouding council’s mind. We all suffered, where is the kindness? When the ‘community-focused business’ fails to eventuate, the buildings and land at 50 Centreway Rd will be sold to a commercial enterprise at a price that we as ratepayers should have received in the first place.

Petrol prices queried

Sel Jones, Manly
We don’t seem, as a country, to be concerned about the price of petrol. Back in the day when the US barrel of oil was $80 to $100 US per barrel, we were paying $2 plus at the pumps. With the US barrel price now down in the $40 plus US a barrel, the pump price in NZ does not seem to have moved down in keeping with the barrel price. Can anyone explain this?

Mark Stockdale, of the Automobile Association, replies: In 2008 when petrol prices first went above $2/litre, the high cost of oil then made up about $1.20/litre of the price, and taxes were over half that amount. Now that’s virtually been reversed – the current oil price makes up about 50c of the pump price, while taxes are about $1.10/litre, or $1.20/litre for the third of Kiwis that live in Auckland. That includes the latest annual tax increase of 4c/litre on July 1, plus an estimated 8c/litre for an Emissions Trading Scheme levy, first introduced in 2010. The balance of the retail price covers the costs of distributing and retailing fuel. The end result is the same, with petrol prices around $2/litre, – it’s just that nowadays oil prices don’t have a big impact on what we pay – instead its tax (most of which is fixed excise to fund our transport system).

Paper appreciated

Sefton Mills, Hatfields Beach
Just want to say what a fantastic publication you provide. The local matters you dig up to keep us informed is amazing. Keep up the good work and thanks.