Mahurangi Matters, 19 May 2021 – Readers Views

Wharf plaques

We were saddened to learn that the name plaques on the Warkworth Wharf are to be removed during the renovations and stored for safe keeping (MM May 5). The names will be listed in a kiosk on the wharf for future reference, whatever that means. Our late parents’ names are on two of the plaques, and we like to share a quiet time with them occasionally in a peaceful setting. Standing outside a kiosk is hardly the same. What will be the eventual fate of the plaques and why can they not be reinstalled on the renovated wharf? Is it penny-pinching? Has a “woke” objection been discovered? Or has some bureaucrat decided that there is nothing wrong with a snub to the people of Warkworth?
Na’a & John Northcott, Warkworth

Auckland Council’s Community facilities head Paul Amaral responds: The old plaques will not be reattached to the wharf’s new decking, which is partly due to the condition of some plaques and the different widths of the new decking timber. Community facilities staff have been working with the Riverbank Enhancement Group to find a more sustainable solution for the plaques to ensure the community’s contribution to the old wharf’s construction continues to be acknowledged. After careful consideration, the group’s intention is to display the contributors’ names in the wharf kiosk next to the wharf and if possible also on the rolling digital screen in the kiosk. Anyone who would like their plaque returned to them should contact the project manager, Aaron Pickering, on 09 301 0101.  

Think again, Greg

Thank you for adding the accurate information from Mayor Goff at the end of your report on local roads funding (MM April 21). And for pointing out to the apparently unaware Councillor Sayers, that an $878 million world class motorway has recently been built through his constituency directly connecting it to the largest urban economy in the country.
I understand it is difficult for councillors to play a meaningful role in the Supercity, after all minimising democratic participation in the operation of Auckland Council was a core intention of the then Local Government Minister Rodney Hide. Today, councillors across the city continue to struggle to represent their constituents effectively. However, regurgitating the old chestnut of local roads and raising the dead horse of the Hill Street roundabout probably don’t qualify as burning issues in comparison with the Council paying a private contractor $90 million of ratepayers money to build speed bumps around Auckland. Or why a developer at Te Arai has been awarded a water right, which is destroying the environment of Lake Tomarata, or why Council continues to ignore the Rodney community’s effort to stop the Dome Valley tip. These examples of Auckland Council pandering to private business interests and misspending public money are surely symptoms of a failed local government administration worthy of everyone’s attention. Incidentally, as someone who travels the Rodney rural roads constantly, one thing I can congratulate Council for is the significant improvement in their condition since it began managing them. I suggest the councillor takes a look for himself sometime – he may be pleasantly surprised.

Brent Morrissey, Wellsford.  

Fair return needed

I’m not in favour of my rates increasing if there is no guarantee of local roading infrastructure equally increasing (MM April 21). The Mayor is asking if we favour a 3.5 per cent or a five per cent rate increase. Correct me if I’m wrong, but from what I have read there seems to be a manipulation that we get nothing at 3.5 per cent and a little bit for a five per cent rates increase. If we get a fairer return back, I might feel differently.

J Williams, Warkworth

Corrections on sailing

Thank you for the coverage of the NZ Team Sailing national competition in Algies Bay last month (MM May 5). However, I was mistakenly quoted as saying that the event would have generated “hundreds of thousands of dollars for the local economy”. The more realistic figure is likely to have been around $120,000 (had the sailors not been exhausted by five full days of sailing, with early starts and late finishes, there may have been  more money spent locally). I had also particularly wanted to mention those who gave their time, services, boats and houses to accommodate the young sailors (the list is long), and this too was missing from the article.  Without these generous folk, the event is not possible, let alone affordable, and collectively they contribute enormously to the event’s success. The event was held at the Sandspit Yacht Club facilities located at Algies Bay.  Mention was made of the “Sandspit Yacht Squadron” donating a scholarship to Waimea College last year.  This was not the case. The New Zealand Team Sailing Association (NZTSA) was offered a scholarship by the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron to send one up-and-coming team to Kawau for a training weekend. South Island’s Waimea College team was the worthy recipient of this scholarship, which no doubt contributed to their success as they came third in the Gold Fleet at this event. The competition is the largest schools’ sailing regatta in the country where all the boats and equipment are supplied by NZTSA and run by volunteers.  It is held every  year, sometimes alternating between the North and South Islands, but Algies Bay has time and again offered all the right ingredients for highly successful regattas, and South Islanders are its biggest fan.

Ross Sutherland, event coordinator, NZTSA

Bothersome bias

In reply to Neil Anderson’s letter Biased survey, (MM April 21), Councillor Greg Sayers put up this survey to gather local opinions on the abysmal treatment Rodney gets from Auckland Council’s rates spend. This had options for people to choose their answers. On the other hand, a few weeks ago Phelan Pirrie and Beth Houlbrooke, of the Rodney Local Board, put out a quick guide to this issue, but in this they had marked the answers They wanted! So Mr Anderson, who is actually being biased here?

Shannon James, Matakana

Wrong about race

The article and comment by the race relations commissioner Meng Foon (MM March 31) are disappointing and arguably not the whole or true story. The majority of New Zealanders who have lived for a few decades can and should question much of the information that is recorded before coming  to the conclusion that “the impacts of racism in New Zealand are extensive in migrant communities”. Mr Foon states that only about half of New Zealanders hold positive views on migrants, but does not provide any evidence why that might be, or if it is even true. All New Zealanders have experienced difficulties in life, as well as good times, so depending on the way the questions were asked, it might slant the answers to the way you want it to look. Mr Foon quoted comments from the “Indian Focus Group” the “Muslim Focus Group” and the “Filipino Focus Group”, and also comments from Chinese elderly people. This mix would cause me to question. Are we talking about race or is it cultural concerns people are dealing with? When I was a boy on our farm in Tauhoa in the 1940s, the community’s only local store was owned by an Indian family. The children came to our school, and the whole district valued that family and what they provided. One of the boys came to our wedding when that time came. It seems that race is a current trendy term but much more divisive – and political foolishness results. We have little to no control over our birthed race, but we do have control over how we live out our culture. If I am looking to employ a driver for my valuable truck, I might have a look at the applicant’s car to measure the “care for” aspect. If I am looking to rent my property, it will be much less about the race and much more about how the culture is going to value it. Most times absolutely nothing to do with race, but are we getting on with the honest dealings of  sharing our cultures? Remember we can, if we choose, blend cultural standards and choose to be one people. So to sum up, I am disappointed with our race relations commissioner. He is highlighting race and making it a political  matter, instead of what it is – a human behaviour matter.

Maurie Hooper, Snells Beach