Pot calls kettle black
Faye Brea, Gulf Harbour (abridged). Published November 15, 2017
Good on you re the editorial re plastic (HM October 18) – but does Auckland Council realise they have our Wayne Walker advocating for no plastic bags at all for Auckland and yet we in Whangaparaoa have to purchase plastic bags for our weekly rubbish collection? (Back in 2015, a Council committee headed by Cr Walker established a working group to minimize the use of single use plastic bags in Auckland). In many cases I see up to five bags outside some households! Myself and friends would carry our reusable shopping bags for groceries etc, and place any fruit plastic bags when accumulated into the bins provided at the supermarkets and The Warehouse. I realise Auckland Council must have had a long term contract with suppliers in Rodney but it’s a bit of pot calling the kettle black when they advise us to not use plastic bags, but make us purchase them for our rubbish collection. What is the time span before we get bins for rubbish?
Editor’s note: Council staff say that wheelie bins will replace those plastic rubbish bags on the Hibiscus Coast “in the next couple of years”. The pay as you throw wheelie bin system is currently on trial in Waitakere and involves buying a tag to put on the bin, instead of purchasing a plastic bag.
Sophie Lee, Orewa. Published November 15, 2017
I am amazed that an ice cream van managed to get a licence to operate in Orewa Reserve car park (HM November 1). There are local businesses right opposite the park or a short walk away that rely on that summer trade. If competition can’t be used as a reason, then the local board should have come up with another reason.
Linda Goodwin, Red Beach. Published November 15, 2017
It was interesting to read AT’s response about the need for buses to leave on schedule in order that stops are met on time (HM November 1). However I have never seen a bus waiting at a stop so that it could leave on time. Instead they finish up being 5-10 minutes early, causing people to miss them. I have a bus stop outside my house and so speak from observations.
Diane Lindsay, Army Bay. Published November 15, 2017.
I had no idea about the difficulties faced by Karen and Keith of Sign Solutions when I had them design a motif for my new splashback. They were always upbeat and very accommodating and I am delighted with the result. Good on them and it is pleasing to see that they won the David Award (HM November 1) – well deserved.
John Clements, Orewa. Published November 15, 2017
I read with dismay your article about the cost overruns on the $25 million for the Nautilus repairs (HM Nov 1). What happened to the building consents process in the first place? Add to that the $31 million blowout on the repairs to the ASB Towers which was bought by the Council after only a ‘visual inspection’ (cf. NZH). And the $1.2 billion dollars ‘wasted on the Council’s IT system’, which Cr Mike Lee said was ‘…a bigger scandal than he had suspected’ (cf. NZH). There are many other examples of our money being squandered through Council ineptitude. There needs to be an independent audit of the Council’s performance before it’s too late.
Betsy Kettle, Sustainable North Trust, aka Hibiscus Coast Zero Waste (abridged). Published November 15, 2017
Just responding to the letter to the editor from Diana Belham, Millwater in the November 1 edition about Compostable Coffee Cups. The definition of “commercially compostable” is hot composting – at least 55°C for at least three days throughout the entire mass. This is usually done specially enclosed, insulated ‘in-vessel’ composting units. Because most of NZ plastics are made from oil, which are turned into resins overseas, then shipped to NZ to be turned into packaging containers, plastics have a considerable carbon footprint. Alternatively, compostable containers made from cornstarch or timber waste can be continually grown in NZ, composted and put back on the land to grow more corn or trees. It is a good example of a sustainable system. These are made of polylactic acid (PLA) but look and feel just like PET #1 plastic. But NZ businesses have made huge investments in plastic manufacturing and are likely to start looking more seriously at plastic recycling in NZ now that China is refusing to take our waste plastics. But should NZ businesses also be looking at alternatives to oil-based plastics entirely? Perhaps they should also be looking at how to encourage compostable containers, given they can have a cradle-to-cradle life cycle. I would love to see the Coast trial a combined food scrap and compostable plastic collection so we could figure out how to make it work in terms of a local, small scale solution. A food scrap collection could also greatly reduce the load on our wastewater treatment plant and to our coastline from food scraps going down the gurgler.
Further to a letter in November 1 edition, Charlie Coco’s and Ecoware were asked to define “commercially compostable” in relation to whether their drink containers will break down in a home compost bin. Here is the response (abridged): ‘Compostable’ is a relative term and goes another step further than biodegrading. Fortunately, there are clearly defined performance standards. The main standards are from Europe and the US, both requiring a product to be 100 percent biodegradable, biodegrade within 90 days and produce a non-toxic by-product. The Australian standard even requires a product to undergo a worm toxicity test before it can be defined as compostable! For these things to be achieved certain conditions are required, such as a high temperature (on average 65°C) and sufficient moisture. In a commercial composting facility optimal conditions are maintained, thus products are guaranteed to compost within 90 days. In a home compost bin, not everyone will be able to maintain high heat, therefore the rate of compostability may be slower. This is why we recommend disposing into commercial composting bins and more specifically, bins that will accept bioplastic. Lastly, it’s important to ascertain the raw materials of a compostable product. Ensure that you buy compostable food packaging made from sustainably sourced plants, not oil, and support renewable resources.
Wendy Cohen, Arkles Bay. Published November 1, 2017
Has AT changed the feeder connection rules and not told the travelling public? On Friday of the recent Labour Day weekend, I along with many others, were coming in on the NEX bus from the city looking forward to our long weekend. The bus was caught at the traffic lights turning right to the bus station when, to our horror, we saw all the feeder buses leaving the station. This meant a 20-minute wait for the next set of feeder buses to arrive. The timetable at the bus terminus states clearly that if you are on the 3pm from Wellesley Street you will be able to catch the 3.50pm – we were about two minutes late. I raised this with the driver of my connecting bus who told me they are instructed now to leave on time and not wait for the NEX if it is late. Is this true? Who knew this? If indeed this is now the new rule they should sort out the regular lateness of the NEX from the city? I think this is caused by passengers alighting at intermediate stops up to Albany, as by the time we leave Albany the bus is empty and late!
Auckland Transport spokesperson James Ireland responds: When the new bus network is launched on the North Shore this will provide shorter routes that operate more frequently. This will have a positive flow on effect for those in the Hibiscus Coast. Bus drivers do have to leave on schedule in order to make sure the stops along the route are met in time. AT is aware that sometimes connections get missed, and we are always working to improve reliability of public transport. We thank readers for bringing issues like this to our attention as it helps us find the best solution.
Not a sucker
Lucy Miller Hatfields Beach. Published November 1, 2017
After seeing information online about the amount of plastic straws (used just once) that go to landfill every day in the US, I have been asking for ‘no straw please’ when I buy a drink. I get some funny looks from staff, but the more people that do that, the more the message might get through. It means taking the lids off some of the drinks, as they’re designed with a hole for the straw.
Diana Belham, Millwater. Published November 1, 2017
I try to avoid unnecessary plastic packaging wherever possible. One of my favourite haunts is Charlie Cocos in Orewa which makes awesome smoothies. However, I wonder whether their takeaway cups, made of plant material, are really recyclable. They are number 5 plastic which Auckland Council does not currently recycle, so I presume that any put in the recycling still go to landfill? Also I see most people put them in the bin after finishing the drink, so I doubt many get recycled. Is this greenwashing? Would be interested to know.
Charlie Coco’s and Ecoware Packaging responds: We do not recommend recycling. Recycling is a well-established and developed industry, and NZ has efficient municipal and national systems to organise and process most recycling waste. Although “reuse” is a good thing, it is also misleading as some products can only be recycled a finite number of times before it can no longer be used, and the end destination is landfill. As you correctly point out, our cups are made from plant-based bioplastic, resulting in significant fossil fuel savings and less greenhouse gas emissions during production, when compared to traditional oil-based recyclable plastics. This also means our cups are commercially compostable, a claim which requires adhering to rigorous global standards and testing. Disposal is equally as important and whilst we can’t control where they go (nature of takeaway) we strongly recommend composting. There may be a way to go, but we believe compostable food packaging is the most sustainable single-use packaging solution.
Editor’s note: We are seeking a definition of ‘commercially compostable’ for this reader as we understand you can’t just put these in a garden compost.
Claire Tierney, Stanmore Bay. Published November 1, 2017
With the land at the corner of Stanmore Bay Road and Whangaparaoa Road becoming surplus to the needs of the Ministry of Education I can’t believe that the proponents of Penlink have not been vocal about securing this land for Auckland Council and AT use. As far as I can see, Penlink’s effectiveness will be null and void unless the shambles of intersections that currently exists with three sets of traffic lights within 400m from Link Crescent to Wade River Road is addressed. Even now it is a bottleneck that creates ‘rat-running’ motorists who avoid Whangaparaoa Road, and it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to realise that it is only going to get worse. The Ministry of Eduction’s land provides the perfect opportunity to reduce the number of lights controlled intersections to one set and deliver a smoother journey past the plaza while securing safer access onto Whangaparaoa Road with future growth in mind. There has been considerable land purchase investment in securing the penlink route and it’s interchanges but just 1.5km west of its terminus on Whangaparaoa Road will be traffic queuing chaos if this piece of land and some serious planning is not implemented. Come on councillors, AT and Council planners, let’s do something to fix it now by securing this parcel of land asap.
Claire’s full plan of how the land could be used is linked to this letter.
John Clements, Orewa. Published November 1, 2017
Viewpoint (HM October 18) asked about the Council’s performance. When Mr Goff was running for Mayor he said, ‘Satisfaction with the Council is at rock bottom’. Seventeen percent of those canvassed trusted the Council to make the right decisions; 47 percent did not. The problems are: cumbersome administrative procedures, too little delegation, duplication of staff duties and ‘teams’, so no individual is responsible for results. This picture is consistent with most bureaucracies. The bigger they are, the worse they usually perform. Local government should be devolved to the lowest practical level. Another article that caught my eye was about tsunami sirens. In fact there is a helicopter tsunami warning system in place. I asked Civil Defence why it wasn’t advertised and was told, ‘because people may rely on it’. Yes, it made me chuckle too!
Brandon Baker, by email (abridged). Published November 1, 2017
Your article about Brayden Bayer (HM October 18) was good but the info supplied is wrong. I was one of three guys who spent exhaustive hours creating the NZ Tag game to the level it is at today. Claude Istifini, Todd Price and I took Tag from a Rugby League Club format to a nationwide sport overtaking Touch in NZ for numbers and participation. We created with the help of ATEED and sponsors many World Cups, national and regional tournaments and the major development throughout Rugby League clubs in Auckland first then nationally. I introduced Tag Football at the Raiders League Club with great success after a couple of our administrators and members of the Raiders Club decimated our hugely popular Touch numbers and competitions to create the Sharks organisation. To say “Tag 20 is Non-Contact/non-Tackling version of Rugby Sevens.” is wrong as it was developed at a Rugby League Club and adapted from US Flag Football to suit Rugby League trainings. Rugby has sat on our coat tails and done nothing to develop the game other than take it, convert the rules to Rugby and for their own interests not in the best way forward for NZ Tag Football Assoc or the original game League developed. As Rugby gets huge funding at the expense of many minority sports, I believe it unfair to those who created it and worked tirelessly to grow the game to what it is today, in an almost volunteer capacity. Having been a player, coach and development agent of NZ Tag I wish Brayden Bayer the greatest future in this wonderful game. The hard work by all those Rugby League volunteers over many years is paying off because our youth like Brayden are reaping the benefits of our visions and goals. Good Luck boys and show those Aussies what you’ve got! Kia kaha.
Editor’s note: We apologise for the error and thank Brandon for clarifying this.
Walking yesterday I noticed the bar and channel along the whole length of Orewa Beach. Haven’t seen that before, no one else in our group recalled seeing it either, Wonder who else spotted it?
John Boland Manly. Published November 1, 2017
Dairy Flat transport options
Orewa resident Bryce Pearce hopes that the blog post he wrote for Greater Auckland will be considered by Auckland Transport planners as they look at infrastructure for Dairy Flat’s transition from rural to urban. The blog post went up last month and has received a lot of comment from readers. It suggests creating a ‘transit corridor’ walking and cycling route to link with bus stations right through the Diary Flat Future Urban zone, where the development will happen, making it central to future homes and easy to access public transport without using a car. Hibiscus Matters put the idea before Auckland Council’s planning manager north/west, Warren MacLennan, who said all transport options, such as those shown in the blog, will be considered through the structure plan process. “We welcome interested parties making comments on the draft structure plan when it is released for consultation,” he says. Cr John Watson has passed the information onto Auckland Transport for its planners to consider. The Blog post can be found at www.greaterauckland.org.nz under Dairy Flat Future Urban Zone planning transit.
Local recreational fisherman Karl Hall seized the opportunity to have a day off work last week. This not only saw him treating the family to a fresh fish dinner, but he was treated himself with a close up look at some Orca. A pod swam past the boat while they were anchored up on the inside of Moturekareka Island, near Kawau.
Not many people say thanks for local board grants, but Orewa Surf Lifesaving Club showed its appreciated for the $20,000 given to it by the Hibiscus & Bays Local Board. The money was given to the club in July (HM July 19) to fund a feasibility study for its new clubrooms. Pictured making a presentation to the local board last month are, from left, president John Chapman, Terry Craigh from the building committee and Zane Taylor, building committee chair.
‘After seeing Hibiscus Matters’ story on the “ploughed reserve” at Stanmore Bay last issue, a reader sent us this photo taken recently in a reserve in Tiri Road, Manly when contractors on a ride on mower ploughed up the grass and then had to be towed out by a truck. Residents who live near Weiti Views Reserve in Whangaparaoa have also made numerous complaints to Council about damage caused by mowing wet ground. Seems Council can’t win – if they leave the long grass they get unhappy residents, when they mow it, despite the wet ground, they annoy others…