Read the fine print
Following Neil Anderson’s suggestion (Letters, HM February 7) that MP Mark Mitchell was “into misinformation mode” over 3 Waters, I’d like to warn him not to rely on Government summaries of proposed legislation. If seeking the full truth, it always pays to seek out and read the policies and legislation in full. That can be quite an eye-opener. Three Waters is no different to many other horrors being pushed through Parliament. Ownership is a nebulous word when “control” of the assets and their revenue is to be given to other unelected, unaccountable and unchallengeable parties.
Fiona Mackenzie, Stanmore Bay
This government and their partners seem intent on winding the clock back in NZ to the time of tribal rule. First He Puapua, which was kept secret from the 2020 electorate so has no mandate and now Alex Rogers [Hauraki Gulf Forum executive officer] says that we have nothing to fear from the changes in the governance of the Hauraki Gulf. Au contraire, as with He Puapua, when someone says nothing, the truth is that there is probably much to be afraid of. On another topic – the 3 Waters reforms — in a letter in Hibiscus Matters February 21 edition, there were a couple of important points that were missed or ignored. It is stated that there has been consultation with local councils, and while this is true, the vast majority are against it, so the government has listened but completely ignored what was being said. This is almost the definition of an autocracy. Completely missed or avoided was the governance of the new authority which will be 50 percent local authority and 50 percent local iwi. Why was this missed?
Geoff Marshall, Gulf Harbour
I write in response to the story about paid fire crew at Silverdale (HM February 21). The Silverdale community can be assured Fire and Emergency will be there when our help is needed in an emergency. Silverdale fire station has a Yellow Watch career crew, who operate 7am-5.30pm Monday to Friday, as well as one of the largest volunteer fire brigades in Auckland with more than 50 volunteers. Both volunteers and career crew work hard to protect the community. I am extremely proud of their mahi and the commitment. I also appreciate that our volunteers give up their time to be there for their community. We have more than 35 composite (career and volunteer) fire stations across NZ. It is usual that they may respond to emergencies together. The Silverdale crews are also backed by more than 70 stations across Auckland, including Albany and East Coast Bays. They can be quickly deployed to assist Silverdale if more resources are needed. When looking at the future needs for the Hibiscus Coast, as with the rest of NZ, we listen and talk to a wide range of stakeholders. We regularly meet with Auckland Council to plan for the future growth of Auckland. When we plan and allocate resources, we consider factors including access to motorways and local hubs and how potentially station or personnel change will increase our response capabilities. When looking to futureproof our capabilities, we look at large geographical areas, growth analysis and callout patterns. Fire and Emergency is committed to making sure we have the right resources in the right places. We are dedicated to supporting our communities, and continue to plan for their future needs.
Ron Devlin, Region Manager Te Hiku Fire and Emergency NZ (abridged)
Loo art needed
As a long time community worker in Silverdale, I was invited to a meeting regarding the toilets. Later I was sent the plans for the renovation but, because I’m not an expert, didn’t realise the dimensions of the new toilets. Once they were completed, I was very disappointed as inside the ladies where it had been painted a warm cream colour and had artworks and decorative tiles, it was now a cold white. As well I found when I used the single toilet, my thigh was against the sanitary bin. How can the Council say that the toilet area is okay? I have offered to replace the artworks and the community noticeboard we had for the ladies, at my own expense, but this has been turned down. I know that there was rarely any damage in the ladies’ toilet – it was always in the men’s, which was not decorated.
Lorraine Sampson, Silverdale
I understand how annoying some people find freedom camping at their local car parks but at least they’re generally in self contained campervans – unlike the homeless people living at the East side of Stanmore Bay Beach with their dogs. Unroadworthy vehicles, cars all over, no toilet or shower facilities, shaving and cooking in the public carpark, despite there being signs clearly stating no overnight camping. When will this be addressed? Council don’t care, my kids are too nervous to use their local beach walkway.
Antony Clark, Stanmore Bay
Auckland Council Regional Compliance team leader Mark Parkinson responds: “Our Regional Compliance team regularly attend the Stanmore Bay area to speak with those that are Freedom Camping and ask them to move on. On occasion, we are made aware of rough sleepers in the area and when that occurs, we work with our community outreach partners to engage with them to try to get them into alternative accommodation. Our teams will check on the current situation and to see if any further action is required. If you suspect someone is rough sleeping, report it to the council on 09 3010101, or via the online Report a Problem tool, so that we can engage the necessary support services to give them the help they need.” He also notes that the Stanmore Bay carpark is an Auckland Transport (AT) asset and as such, any decisions to trespass Freedom Campers would be made by AT.
I support the crackdown on people abusing the opportunity to freedom camp (Camping crackdown begins at Hammerhead. HM February 7) but unfortunately it seems that complaints often class all campervan/caravan owners as irresponsible and unwelcome. The NZ Motor Caravan Association (NZMCA) leads the way in responsible camping, taking action against members who are reported to have camped or acted inappropriately. There are also domestic and overseas travellers in hired vehicles from reputable companies who are usually responsible too. These vehicles are fully self-contained and now there is a new certification card that has to be displayed in the window of any officially self-contained vehicle. However a minority of people do not obey the rules. Many display a self-contained sticker but are not truly self-contained. There are also those who display NZMCA ‘wings’ but are not members of the association. In 2018 I emailed our local board members, with photographs, about one vehicle that was abusing the rules. Not only was it a continual over-stayer – there was a related car parked alongside taking up a second parking space. I received a polite response to say that the local board had no resources for enforcement. I have photos of that same vehicle in 2019 (not during lockdowns) and it is still there today. So I fully support trespassing someone like this, who has lived here for at least four years. Responsible campers who frequent the Hammerhead a couple of times a year also complain about the one or two vehicles that have a constant presence, aware that this minority gives all of them a bad name. It is a fantastic freedom camping site and we should be happy that people want to visit, but only if they do so responsibly. I recently read that Council plans to reduce the number of allocated motorhome parking spaces on the Hammerhead to 10 and that the local board feel there is a need for it to be 20. Some nights the number even exceeds 20. There is also a new parking area across the road from Army Bay that has been allocated for boat trailer parking but not for overnight camping. Surely it would be safer to have all the trailers kept on the same side of the road as the Army Bay launch ramp, and then allocate say 10 parking spaces for genuine self-contained vehicles in the new parking area to overnight? This would also provide an alternative to the Hammerhead. Many of the occupants want to walk or cycle in Shakespear Park, go birdwatching, or just spend one or two nights in a place where they can easily access downtown Auckland, and do not need to park near the ramp. Finally, from all I read, however hard our local board members who know the area work for us, the all-powerful Auckland Council overrides recommendations and does whatever it wants.
Diane Lindsay, Gulf Harbour (abridged)
Men’s Shed called on for seat repairs
Recently the carved wooden seats on Te Ara Tahuna/Ōrewa Estuary walk and cycleway were damaged again. Hibiscus & Bays Local Board member Janet Fitzgerald was among those who advised Auckland Council staff about the most recent vandalism. Auckland Council area operations manager Kris Bird says the damaged seats will need to be temporarily removed and staff are in discussions with the Hibiscus Men’s Shed to see if they are able to assist with restoring them. The seats were hand carved by master carvers who were inmates of Paremoremo Prison. There have been a number of incidents of vandalism since they were put in at the end of 2012.