Mahurangi Matters, 24 April 2023 – Readers Letters

Toxic landfill

There is something very wrong with what is happening in the Dome Valley. Not just because Waste Management want to use it as a dump site, but also because of what our government allows to be imported and dumped in our landfills.

There is no question that Auckland needs somewhere to dump its waste and I am certain that there are better places than on the bank of one of the longest rivers, feeding into one of the largest, most pristine harbours in the world. But scant regard appears to be shown for the thousands of tonnes of toxic waste that is being imported from the Pacific and stored in our landfill.

Specifically, and by volume, most appears to be slag and by products of nickel mining from Noumea, in particular. I am very reliably told that this is permanently toxic. It can be neutralised by very high heat incineration and intensive “scrubbing”, but this is not going to happen when it is buried in the ground.

At some point it is going to be released and it will make its way downstream. Waste Management may well be doing the best job possible with the technology that is available and will create a good and secure landfill, but I do not believe we should be burying vast quantities of imported highly toxic waste.

This is not a function of Auckland Council but of the NZ Government.

I ask our MPs, “What can be done and why is this waste not being directed back to the economies that benefit from the nickel and other material being mined?”

The benefit to NZ for burying this is short-term, and being siphoned offshore by Waste Management.

The long-term cost is going to be borne by our children and grandchildren.

Stop burying imported toxic waste and do whatever is required to ensure that this is never, never disposed of anywhere near a runoff to any of our harbours!

Steven Garner, Warkworth

This letter was referred to Waste Management NZ for comment, but a spokesperson said the company was not commenting to the media while the Auckland regional landfill proposal was before the Environment Court.

Bus occupancy

Correspondent Neil Anderson (MM Apr 10) believes that buses are good for the environment. They are, provided they are fully occupied. Unfortunately, each bus I see on the local circuit carries only one or two passengers. The CO2 output per passenger-kilometre is horrendous. But that is not all. The energy need to produce the bus is three times that of a passenger car, which is already sitting in the garage anyway. Probably the Rodney Local Board got it right. The notion “bus good, car bad” is somewhat simplistic.

K H Peter Kammler, Matakana

Keep off the grass

I chuckled over your ‘Early bird gets the win’ (MM April 10). “Two birds on the head are NOT going to lead to one in the bush” reminded me of a story told to me many years ago by my daughter when she was undertaking her nursing training at Middlemore Hospital.

A young woman was admitted to the hospital with appendicitis – she was a punk and her spiked hair was dyed green. When she was being prepped for the operation it was found that the hair on her head was not the only hair dyed green. She had written in felt pen on her lower abdomen, “Keep off the grass!” After the operation, when she had woken sufficiently from the anaesthetic, she lifted up the blanket to see what had gone on. She saw there, also written in felt pen, “Sorry, had to mow the lawn”.

Maureen Young, Warkworth