Mahurangi Matters, 2 June 2021 – Readers Letters

Put plaques back

I have lived in Snells Beach for about 10 years, but apart from that I have no real connection to Warkworth, historical or otherwise. But I was disgusted at the response to people’s concerns regarding the removal of the name plaques from the wharf by Paul Amaral of Auckland Council (MM May19). “After careful consideration?”  “If possible?” Then to say people could have their plaques back if they wanted them. Why would they want them back? They were made to go on the wharf. Put them on the bl**dy restored wharf.

Rob Paton, Snells Beach

Rotten roads

In reply to Brent Morrissey (MM May 19), thank you for pointing out that the motorway is a national road that is funded by our taxes. This has nothing to do with Mayor Goff or Greg Sayers. Our local roads are funded by a targeted rate, fuel taxes and general rates. The $121 million we were promised has all but disappeared and we are left with $4 million for road sealing from the general rate. This is what we were getting before we went into the Supercity. I am a former roading contractor who has worked with various iterations of the local government. The roads in our area have been metal and mud for over 150 years and there were no sealed roads when I was born in this area. The sealed roads we do have are over 60 years old and have had very little maintenance. Auckland Transport has lifted the level of service on our unsealed roads, however within weeks they immediately start to deteriorate. These unsealed roads have delivered hundreds of thousands of tons of metal and silt into our drains and harbours, which has to stop.  This is why we are spending millions of dollars dredging metal and silt out of the Mahurangi River.

Colin Smith, Rodney Local Board (abridged)

Insulting commendation

I take exception to comments in the previous edition by Brent Morrissey (MM May 19) claiming Rodney’s rural roads have significantly improved since Auckland Council has managed them. Being of the fifth generation of my family to live in Tomarata, and knowing the background of legacy councils, I find it insulting to witness commendation of road maintenance. In several places of our district we can sight the cobblestones laid by pick and shovel by the hands of our forebears now classed as “historic property”. Where else in a developed nation do you travel an hour from its largest city to reach such disgusting metal roads? After years of advocacy along with my many rural counterparts, it is infuriating to hear applause for the “improved” roads. I suggest the writer takes a more extensive drive around his rural roads or willingly shares his recipe for contentment, many would be greatly interested.

Brian Mason, Tomarata

Belittling and diminishing

Please forgive my scepticism when a former local government councillor bestows a flurry of accolades on Auckland Council for its “significant improvement” at managing our appalling rural roads (MM May 19). His comments succeed only in belittling and diminishing the courageous, decades-long battle our rural communities have had to seek rates return parity for decent improvement in our roading network, and a desperate plea to help mitigate the tidal wave of roading sediment flowing into our waterways. Aggressive budgetary cuts see our rates return furnish the infrastructure and roads of all others, but our own. Since when did roading infrastructure improvement become the exclusive right of others? Rates are a community tax and as such their overarching purpose should be to provide basic and safe infrastructure for all. Recognition of this and fairness of community rates return should be a core moral driver for those who govern us.  Regrettably, it is not. Mr Morrissey sounds like he is living in a blissful roading utopia that is as pure as the driven snow. Sadly, however, I feel the rest of us are living in a potholed and muddy dystopia

Julie Cotton, Tapora

Community input vital

A critical element to maintain community participation is public confidence in open and democratic processes. Basic ethical standards are sadly lacking and condoned in many of our community organisations, and it is creating a cynical apathy. With so much Millwater-like “revitalisation” proposed over the next decade, increased community input and scrutiny is vital. It is not okay for a community leader to lodge a submission on behalf of their organisation without informing its members. It is not okay to put self-interest ahead of those they are meant to represent. When fronting a public meeting to push for particular changes to a public project, that person should declare whether they or their clients will financially benefit. When a class of people profit from receiving official information first, all the liaison groups, forums and public consultation looks like window dressing. Despite how much good work someone might do, it is the unethical conduct that should make anyone unfit for office. Public vigilance is important to maintain a spotlight on shadowy behaviour.

Grant McLachlan, Snells Beach