Mahurangi Matters, 16 May2018 – Readers Letters

Save the wallabies
I feel compelled to write in over a couple of points in the article about the wallabies on the front page (MM May 2). Our family has owned a holiday property on the island for 23 years in Schoolhouse Bay. Obviously, over this time we have got to know a lot of the residents there. The majority in our bay are pro-wallaby, ourselves included. The paragraph about wallabies destroying native forests and bird life and competing with farm animals is incorrect. The island looks fine. We have plenty of bird life and there are no farm animals whatsoever on the island. The paragraph about some islanders feeding the wallabies is correct. We do take food over for them. They are beautiful creatures. They have lived on the island for 150 years and we still have native birds and trees. The wallabies certainly should not be treated like rats. It is inhumane to poison theses amazing animals like you would a rat. Children love to go out with a torch at dusk and feed these beautiful creatures.
Janice Green, Snells Beach/Kawau Island

Rates scandal
In your story “Appeal Court scuppers rate refund hopes” (MM April 18) you gave a mostly accurate account of the outcome of a Court of Appeal decision in favour of Northland Regional Council (NRC). Some readers might be interested to know that we never sought to avoid NRC rates or get them refunded. We repeatedly offered to pay them.  When we found the rates were all illegal (confirmed by the High Court and the Court of Appeal), we asked that the Council be forced to re-issue their rates demands with corrections. The High Court agreed with us. This would only have resulted in all their penalties falling away. It is also important to record that we never took the NRC to court. They went after us by standing like a gang alongside the Kaipara District Council, who were suing us (and over 100 others) to recover illegal rates that Parliament had fixed by backdated legislation.  Readers of your excellent paper who think they are living in a democracy are very much misled. You are to be congratulated, almost uniquely, for exposing the lawlessness of this country.
Bruce Rogan, Chair Mangawhai Ratepayers and Residents Association

Stop slinging mud
The recent Parliamentary spat between local Rodney MP’s Mark Mitchell and Jenny Marcroft over their dialogue on the $4 million funding needed for the dredging of the Mahurangi River is symptomatic of what is all wrong with our political climate at the moment. Under our quirky MMP system, Rodney has the luxury of five local MPs: Mark Mitchell, National; Tracey Martin, NZ First; Jenny Marcroft, NZ First; Marja Lubeck, Labour; and Kelvin Davis, Labour MP for Te Tai Tokerau. Extracting $4 miilion from the Government should be a political doddle for this collective cross Party power house, especially with Greens support a given for this critical environmental project. Cleaning up our waterways is the political flavour of the month. A word in a few collective friendly ears in Wellington should fix the funding problem promptly. My grandfather was the Warkworth agent for the Northern Steam Ship Co a hundred years ago, when their small ships from Auckland used to come up the river. It would be wonderful to see them back again. Members of Parliament must never forget their primary role and responsibility is to represent and support their local people – party politics must never interfere with this. Time for a collaborative local MP get together to support the Mahurangi River Restoration Trust to get the river sorted. Dredging mud from the river is a lot more effective and useful than slinging it around in Parliament. The community expects no less.
Bill Rayner, Director Grey Power Auckland Region

Blackmail on speed
I objected to Bevan Woodward’s comment that people who oppose a reduction in speed limits are being hypocritical (MM April18). Naturally we all want a reduction in road deaths, that is a given, but the emotional blackmail resorted to by Mr Woodward is less than helpful. As a traffic engineer, Mr Woodward would understand that while speed is one of the causes of road accidents it certainly isn’t the only or main one, and reducing speed limits will do little if nothing to alleviate that situation without aggravating other causes of accidents. Roads are designed and built to a standard where the speed that is to be travelled is part of the design calculation (plus a significant factor of safety). The exception to this rule is the very few roads that have been converted from ‘goat tracks’, where a lower speed limit normally applies (or should do if the authorities are doing their job). People who speed excessively ignore the speed limit deliberately and reducing the speed limit will do nothing to persuade these people to change that behaviour. Speed is not the sole factor in these accidents. I would suggest that alcohol, drugs, inexperience and most critically impatience, combined with excessive speed play the major role. Reducing the speed limit will do nothing to improve the first three but will greatly exacerbate the last. If the abuse of double yellow lines is happening then the implementation of central barriers will not help because they will act like a Venturi with irresponsible impatient people speeding out of the restricted area thereby creating a hazard. Space doesn’t permit me to list a number of suggestions to rectify the situation, but I do suggest greater and more effective policing of the current road regulations will help.

Imposing lower speed limits will only cause impatience which will exacerbate the situation and penalise the responsible driver while do nothing to prevent the irresponsible driver. Mr Woodward needs to go back to his drawing board and come up with better and more creative solutions rather than appear to be pushing a political chestnut here and trying to use emotional blackmail. It is not only insulting but downright rude and adds nothing to the debate!
Stephen Becket, Dome Valley