Mahurangi Matters, 3 April 2019 – Readers Letters

MM fails

I was shocked to read the Mahurangi Matters front cover (MM Feb 27) with the title “Outrage over dangerous footpaths”. With such a compelling image, it is hard not to feel sorry for the victim of poor maintenance by the Auckland Council of our core infrastructure.
One wonders if the front page would be reserved for a younger resident with the same fate. I have my doubts. General maintenance is one of the many issues facing the community. This along with the historic weir, the Hill Street intersection and road maintenance. All easy subjects to report on. However, the failure of Mahurangi Matters to report on the daylight robbery of an elderly resident at the ATM in New World, a murder in Snells Beach and a vicious attack involving Mahurangi College students strongly suggests that as an editorial team you are not willing to dig into the real issues facing a growing community. It is a total failure of your newspaper to expose some of the real issues in this community. Your willingness to publish so many feel-good stories at the risk of addressing deep pressing community issues is a reflection on the poor state of journalism in New Zealand.

E.N. Cooper

Mahurangi Matters responds: It’s always good to get readers’ feedback on the content of our paper, good and bad. Mahurangi Matters reported the Snells Beach murder on its Facebook page, but the story was deemed to be dated news by the time the print edition appeared. There is scant evidence of a daylight robbery at the ATM at New World and no such robbery was reported to Warkworth police. New World suspects rumours started after the ATM retracted cash while an elderly woman fumbled with her credit card. As far as the issue of the students goes, perhaps there was a case for looking at this more closely, as bullying in any frame is to be deplored. Mahurangi Matters covers both feel-good and more serious stories, as our footpath coverage illustrates and coverage would not have been significantly different if a young person had been involved. Mahurangi Matters could easily expend all its resources covering every crime story that occurs in the area, but we believe this would short-change readers. As a bi-monthly paper, we do from time to time look at overall trends in crime, but we also cover the gamut of issues motivating this community, from roading and transport to growth, the provision of medical services, environmental work and so on. There are always going to be gaps, but be assured we do our best to provide coverage which is comprehensive, timely and accurate – Ed.

Rail no answer

I was surprised and dismayed to learn of the Mahurangi East Residents and Ratepayers Association suggesting that transporting the Auckland waste to the Dome Valley by rail would resolve the enormous problems around this proposed landfill site. The environmental degradation this landfill could bring to the area in the way of introduced rodents and predatory gulls and cats to the existing rare and fragile inhabitants of the Dome forest, along with the probable contamination of the Hoteo River and the aquifer situated under the proposed landfill site should be the main concerns. Wellsford will be sourcing its water from this aquifer soon! Watercare having succesfully located an aquifer aftera lot of expensive drilling. Putting a landfill in the clean headwaters of a catchment, in a valley that flashfloods and can see up to 225 mls of rain in 24 hours – in a cyclone event, is insanity.Which by the way, cyclones are now coming from both east and west coasts and we get the rain from both in the Dome. Highest rainfall north of Auckland. The enormous opposition from the residents of the Kaipara and in fact the whole of NZ, to this outrageous site proposal by Waste management , is reflected in the results of my petition No mega landfill in the Dome Valley standing at 11, 245 signatures as of the 16 march ! and rising! And by the way its not 300 truck movements per day through the Dome but 300 return trips which makes 600 daily growing with Auckland growth to a maximum of 500 return trips or up to 1000 truck movements per day. So yes the traffic issue is a huge and worrying issue, but surely more so are all the many environmental reasons why this landfill must not go ahead at any cost in the Dome Valley. Once the aquifer is contaminated its gone for good. Once the snapper breeding grounds at the Hoteo mouth are contaminated its gone, once the forests are over run with rodents the rare residents like the forest geko, kakariki, tui, kereru, tom tit, kaka, hochstetter frog, blue duck, giant snail and worm, bell bird etc etc some resetablishing themselves from Tauwharanui and Little Barrier reserves, will be lost! And for what. A landfill which can be either located eleswhere or done away with altogether, in favour of a waste to energy plant which could be built to replace the aging Huntly power station already connected to rail and currently burning 170 million dollars of Indonesian coal per year to keep the lights on in Auckland.! It could safely and cleanly be burning waste like Scandinavian countrys like Sweden, Denmark, Norway have been doing for many decades. Clean green NZ ? Its time we lived up to our marketing slogan and made it a reality before it becomes a bad joke.

Its time Auckland Council sorted the enormous problem of landfill out with a smart solution that is future proof. Landfills are not sustainable, polluting and to even suggest putting one in the Dome sets a dangerous precedent for a precious area of wildlife preservation of which the Hoteo catchment needs. A landfill in the Dome is completely out of context with current land use being rural production and forestry and reserve. Council should look at buying up these precious valleys currently in forestry for native forest restoration. The valley in question has native regenerating bush and inhabitants already established, just needing protection and wise stewardship. The Dome could be another Zealandia with predator fencing and already has beautiful walking tracks. It is also a dark sky zone which is now rare and essential for star gazing. It could provide a great tourist attraction to the area, not a dirty secret to be hidden away in the bush. It could be the jewell of the entire area and already is in my eyes.

Susan Speedy, Dome Valley

Tree sense needed

As the owner of the ANZ bank building, I appreciate that Auckland Council or the Rodney Local Board planted the trees to attempt to improve Queen Street, Warkworth. However, they planted the wrong trees. These have been growing extensive root systems, which have raised the footpath blocks, creating an uneven and dangerous surface, and, as well as being absolute horrors for the occupiers of the bank building, they drop all their leaves every year totally blocking the bank gutters and causing internal floods when the gutters overflow with heavy rain. As the owner, I have cleaned the gutters twice and during covert visits, often in the semi-dark, branches have been pruned that were causing damage to the roof of the bank building. Can’t any sensible arborist be employed to tell the truth that these trees are unsuitable and they need to be removed and replaced with others that do not constantly drop their leaves and constantly raise their roots and cause footpath damage? It has been three years now. The trees and Pat Lennan’s seat have been roped off, with no access. Perhaps it is finally time for a chainsaw to get a decision.

Simon Withers, Warkworth

Auckland Transport has previously said they would like to retain the trees as they are healthy specimens – Ed

Inspirational women

In early March, local businesswomen celebrated International Women’s Day at a One Warkworth event where they were inspired, thoughtful and supported one another in entrepreneurial spirit. A few days later, two local businesswomen celebrated successfully operating a professional optometry company for two decades in the heart of Warkworth. The accomplishments of Claire McDonald and Sally Adams are indeed significant. For two women to have professional careers, families, employ others, invest in high-tech equipment and support local schools and clubs – they are deserving of our admiration. Step back in time just one generation before these dedicated businesswomen, and you’ll find our foremothers were unlikely to have professional careers, much less own a business. Their primary role was in the home and they had limited access to financial resources – by law. Search online for some history of New Zealand businesswomen and you’re unlikely to find anything – because women’s businesses were invisible, possibly deemed irrelevant. Early in the 20th century, my grandmother operated her own small businesses, which I only learnt of three years ago. Maybe it wasn’t deemed important, but I bet it consumed her. I applaud McDonald Adams for 20 years of hard work, professionalism and entrepreneurship. May other businesswomen be inspired by them.

Jackie Russell, Warkworth