In response to Rodney Local Board chair Phelan Pirrie’s letter “Alternative facts” (MM Sept 2). Thank you for pre-announcing future political promises to our constituents. We live in hope that it all happens. So, let’s not get bogged down on any “mystification”. I have a better idea: open up the Local Board workshops and meetings to the public like other local boards have done. It would give the community more transparency and stop so-called “misinformation” being spread. On the issue of advocacy/responsibility of the Local Board roles within the CCOs, I tend to find posed glamour photographs in the paper in front of a new treatment plant (Warkworth) unhelpful from a practical point of view, when Wellsford requires a new drinking water treatment plant. The current one was originally installed in the 1950s. Wellford’s water treatment plant was due for an upgrade under the Rodney District Council. The money allocated for this project disappeared in the amalgamation into the Auckland Supercity. Your bureaucratic speech involving process and figures is of cold comfort to communities who still wait for basic infrastructure upgrades after many years. Bureaucratic speech does not equate to actual bricks and mortar. The roading targeted rate has been misappropriated. You sold a deal, road sealing, to decent people then snatched it from them. The $121 million deal is so deferred, there is little hope of pulling it off. The community is still paying extra rates – the targeted rate, the regional fuel tax and a roading portion of the uniform annual charge. You are correct there is now only $1 million for road sealing. Why would the governing body (councillors) allocate more money for road sealing when the Local Board are only prepared to put their roading targeted rate money into buses, park and rides and footpaths? Well done!
Colin Smith, Wellsford subdivision, Rodney Local Board
The contents of Phelan Pirrie’s letter, “Alternative facts” (MM Sept 2), demand attention. Fundamentally, his words seem to epitomise the failure of the current political system in New Zealand. Colin Smith apparently stated in his column of August 19 that Auckland Transport (AT) had informed the Local Board that the Helensville-Silverdale bus services were “not sustainable”. Mr Pirrie states that is incorrect, and proceeds to clarify (sic) several other apparently erroneous comments involving expenditure in Rodney. I find this infuriating. Why have we ended up with a collection of elected servants who were presented with factual information yet are now arguing over its veracity? Either AT stated the bus service was unsustainable, or they did not – though it is possible they couched any response in terms impossible to interpret. It is a symptom of the deep-rooted dysfunctionality within the political system here that we have two Board members disagreeing on facts/alternatives, and simply thereby spreading confusion. If this happens regularly at this kind of lower level among the political class, I begin to see why the political elite are so seemingly incompetent. Either that, or they are bamboozled entirely by the self-serving bureaucracies we pay a great deal in taxation, rates, surcharges and ad nauseam to maintain. Mr Pirrie ends his letter with another situation, which seems to highlight chronic failures: that of the endless entrenched argument about whether the Board or the Council should fund such and such, and that Mr Smith needs to ask questions of the Council about why AT did not direct more budget in a particular direction. We have three different, publicly funded bodies, comfortably projecting their responsibilities. My suggestion, for what it is worth, is that Councillors and Local Board members get together in a room and start banging each other’s heads together until some common sense emerges (it could be a long session). Frankly, I am fed up with paying for a lot of elected servants to waste time and energy, scoring points and playing silly b*ggers, however well-intentioned either or both of them may be – or think they may be. I suspect I am not alone, but thank you, Phelan Pirrie for bringing this to all our attention.
Crispin Caldicott, Warkworth
The mindless vandals who are destroying Labour Party billboards in the Rodney area should think before they act. It took working people hundreds of years of struggle to gain the right to be represented in government and to be allowed to vote. Before then, only the rich landowners and powerful businessmen made the laws and governed the country to their own advantage. Smashing down a billboard shows only ignorance and intolerance of other people’s views.
Our democratic freedom to think, speak and vote as we choose is precious and should be protected by us all. Many countries still do not have the “one man, one vote” rule that we take for granted in New Zealand. We should celebrate our freedom and be on guard against those who try to take our democratic rights away from us.
Anne Smith, Sandspit