Mahurangi Matters, 17 June 2020 – Readers Letters

Unrepresentative commission

The Representation Commission has decided to call our electorate Kaipara ki Mahurangi rather than Helensville (MM May 20). Northern Action Group submitted that the Rodney name should apply as the area is largely now aligned with the Rodney Local Board area. Seventy-five per cent of objectors to the name Kaipara ki Mahurangi preferred the name Rodney, but they were ignored.  The commission correctly noted that there were a number of suggestions made in the objection process, most of which supported the name Rodney, reflecting the Rodney Local Board area included in the electorate, but did not also mention that the name Rodney has a long association with the area. Then the report says it was the commission’s clear view that calling this new electorate Rodney would be “highly confusing”. But there is no evidence that would be true for most electors in the area who commonly use “Rodney” for the local board area. The commission contradicts its own comment on why most people supported the traditional name. The commission implied that the name Rodney for the electorate might be confusing for 54,000 people who were previously in the Rodney electorate, but has surely removed any confusion by renaming their new electorate Whangaparaoa, although many locals preferred the business community’s name, Hibiscus Coast. There was only one submission for the name Kaipara ki Mahurangi, from a community group with voting representation separately provided for in the local Maori electorate, Te Tai Tokerau. If the commission seeks to give Maori names to non-Maori electorates in place of traditional European names, even though the majority of electors might not support the at, then it should just say so.

William Foster, Leigh

Allegations unfounded

This is in response to Trevor McKinney’s letter (MM May 20). To the best of my knowledge in the past decade there has been no dying or disappearance of shore-front pohutukawa along the Snells Beach beachfront, either in front of beachside properties or in front of the Sunburst Reserve. Most local residents would welcome further tree planting in the area to replace the trees cut down for recent property development – more green than concrete bases for fishing shelters. The Sunburst Reserve carpark has five spaces specifically marked for overnight campervans. During my walk today, three of these spaces were occupied. Does this amount to “scared away motorhomes”? I think not.

Diane Taylor, Snells Beach

Tunnel vision

In your recent Mahurangi Matters (MM June 3) it states that Dave Parker hit on the idea of a tunnel dinner. While Dave has done many things for the community, that dinner was not one of his ideas. NZTA had asked the Orewa Rotary Club to organise it. When that fell through, they came to me as the Mayor and asked that I take it on. After discussions with the councillors, one of whom was Dave, we asked the three Rotary Clubs of Warkworth, Whangaparaoa and Kumeu to assist. Many volunteers under the direction of my husband, Malcolm, organised a great night, which NZTA said was one of the best ever. One of the local vineyards created a special wine label and ran the bar. The profits were divided between the clubs to be used on youth initiatives.

Penny Webster, former Rodney Mayor

Too many tolls

The proposed extra motorway toll (MM June 3) will increase traffic on one of the most dangerous stretches of road in New Zealand, from Puhoi to Warkworth – the latter a town slated for extensive future growth by Auckland Council. This new charge will undoubtedly lead to an increase in deaths and injuries simply by deterring many from using a safer road. Residents will in effect be paying two tolls for using the same road, something that doesn’t happen anywhere else in New Zealand. In fact, I understand there is only one other toll road anywhere in the country. Will every extension to this motorway be tolled?

That trip to Cape Reinga could get mighty expensive. Warkworth has an elderly population, with a lower per capita income than many other areas of Auckland, whose residents can use their roads and motorways for free. So, for example, when a north Rodney person goes to a city hospital, they face a $10-plus charge under this proposal.

When an aged north Rodney person’s relative wants to visit them, they also face this charge. This would not be just a once a month fee for many, but several times a month, daily in some some cases, and quite a burden for those on limited incomes. Not everyone owns a holiday home in Omaha! Is it a coincidence that restrictions are planned for the existing free route, or is my cynicism well founded? Will on-ramp metering be used on SH1 where it joins the new motorway as some have suggested? And why was this toll not flagged when the motorway extension was proposed? It may well have led many to reconsider their support. Finally, along with this proposal and the incredibly irresponsible plan to relocate a major landfill site off the already dangerous Dome Valley, does anyone else think we are being shafted by Auckland Council and let down by our local board? We are regarded as a sleepy little town. It is time to wake up.

Peter Eley, Sandspit