Hibiscus Matters Letters - April 2017

By: Blogger

Unanswered questions
John Simons, Orewa (abridged). April 12, 2017

Well done Councillor John Watson and his Viewpoint piece on Rodney District Council and Auckland Transport bribery and corruption issues (HM March 15). There has in fact previously been very little pertinent comment on it at all. I can only assume there is concern and fears as to libel laws and the inference unmentioned others may have been involved. It is difficult to believe this situation did not progress further up the chain or that those up the line did not know of it. If they did not know, were they doing their job properly? Did they just ignore it or did they just accept it as normal? I question the actions of the Serious Fraud Office in deciding not to follow up on the numerous others they were in fact aware of.
 
Save the trees
Alan Bruce, Manly. April 12, 2017

Felling those trees at Whangaparaoa School (HM March 15) is completely unnecessary and a waste of the school’s time and money. Surely its resources, which seem to be stretched these days for all schools, would be better spent on something educational? All that this will do is rob the environment of beautiful established trees while demonstrating the destruction of nature – for a trumped up reason – to the children. The school of course can do as it pleases but as a resident, I am appalled.

Editor’s note: Thanks for all your feedback on this, which continues to roll in. It seems to have touched a nerve! We have drawn the school principal’s attention to all these comments.
 
Ban bags
Cathy Lucas, Whangaparaoa. April 12, 2017

The use of one-trip plastic bags should not only be reduced, it should be banned. As your story in the April 1 paper points out, they are a global disaster. As a boatie I am well aware that so many of these bags end up in our oceans. Nick Smith says the bags are 1.5 percent of New Zealand’s litter, but the harm they do is out of all proportion to that. It’s also a problem that can be easily solved by simply making the bags too costly for people to use.

 
Got the message
Francis Aitken, Matakatia. April 12, 2017

Council finally talking sense, with the reduction in chemical spraying (HM April 1). I hope Auckland Transport gets the message and stops using Roundup. There may be scientific studies on both sides of this argument but I’ve always been of the mind that you err on the side of caution. If there is no need to risk poisoning people, particularly those sensitive to these substances, why would you? Listening to the people at last.
 
Millwater vibrations
John Wullings, Red Beach. April 1, 2017

I hear those vibrations during the day (HM feedback, March 15). We think they are coming from the development at Millwater. We noticed this already 12 years ago while we were building our house, which is when I found out it was from the earth moving equipment.
 
Air con throbs
Doug Tomey, Orewa. April 1, 2017

Yes I have noticed the constant, low throbbing noise with vibrations (HM March 15). I can’t be certain, but I believe it comes from some giant air conditioning unit on the roof of something in the main shopping area of Orewa. I think it’s Countdown’s roof, but I can’t be sure.
 
Local input called for
John Clements, Orewa. April 1, 2017

Bruce Walling raises a very good point about what our Councillors and Board members do for us (HM March 15). On face value not a lot. Especially when it comes to maintenance of our assets. But it’s not entirely their fault. Long ago, Rural District Councils came in to being in recognition of the fact that rural areas have different needs and aspirations to metropolises. Amalgamation has produced a behemoth where power is gripped up in ‘City Hall’ and our elected reps spend most of their time in endless meetings, so one rarely sees them out and about. It’s too late to go back, but there are two things that can be done: 1. Much more delegation to Boards, so that they ‘take ownership’ of their local areas. 2. Residents report things that need attention. The more ‘hits’ we have the more chance there is of success.
 
Real cost of water
Wally and Shirley Davison, Manly. April 1, 2017

I was interested in the figures quoted by Wayne Walker for people who are prepared to help out neighbours when their tanks run low (HM March 1) – suggesting that $3.36 per cubic metre is what a friendly neighbour might charge for a ‘help out’ till rain falls. The suggestion of $3.36 is a false figure for it ignores other charges on the account such as the fixed charge of $205pa and also the fact that not everyone gets wastewater charged at 78.5 percent of water consumption. Anyone who has both tank and a metered town supply as we do, is charged at 100 percent of metered water consumption. Taking two consecutive months of our accounts – one estimated and the next with meter read, the combined total was $168.48 for 34 cubic metres which equates to $4.96 per cubic metre. Anyone on the 78.5 percent wastewater charge should recoup at least $4.43 per cubic metre or $1.07 more than Wayne Walker’s calculation. Help out by all means but don’t sell yourself short. We help out at $5 per cubic metre as we have dual supply.
 
Reconsider felling
Angela Campbell, Manly. April 1, 2017

As a resident of Manly, I walk my dogs past Whangaparaoa Primary every day. I would be devastated to see those trees come down (HM March 15). When they colour up in autumn, in particular, they are a fantastic sight and take your breath away against a clear blue sky. They are often alive with birdsong and cicadas. I think the school would do well to remember that it is part of this community and if no one has actually been hurt in the decades that those trees have been there, they should reconsider removing them.
 
Trees valued
John Simons, Orewa. April 1, 2017

Some while ago I visited my son in Portland Oregon in the USA. My impression was all the roads were lined everywhere with trees, big trees, be it residential, commercial shops or factories. Overwhelmingly these were deciduous and many were of the Liquidambar family. Not only did they look wonderful, the general response was to protect and retain them. We constantly hear responses here in NZ to urban trees that follow the line expressed in your recent report on the trees next to Whangaparaoa School, that we must remove them for health and safety reasons. What are the actual statistics for injuries and death by urban trees in the last decade or two? I regularly walk through Eaves Bush, full of big old trees, lots of fallen trees and branches everywhere – it is obvious that it’s ‘dangerous’. Should we not cut all these problem trees down or perhaps not allow anyone to enter this dangerous environment? Could we please stop a moment, take a deep breath and get real.
 
Rights of trees
Ruth Thomson, Manly. April 1, 2017

I am writing about the plan to fell those beautiful liquidambars in the grounds of Whangaparaoa Primary School (HM March 15). What are we teaching our children? That nature can make an inconvenient mess and even at times be dangerous and the goal is to therefore get rid of that risk. I’d like to suggest that a better lesson would be management of that risk – perhaps a sign asking people not to park or stand under those trees in a storm? It seems this happens by default in any case. Those trees have lived in this street longer than many residents and have the right to proper maintenance – they add a lot to the local environment. Since the tree rules changed I’d say at least a dozen large trees have been felled in my street alone. We cannot afford to keep losing trees.
 
B ‘n’ B concerns
Liz Watson, Army Bay. April 1, 2017

I feel for the motel owners who are faced with horrendous rate rises. But as someone who has considered offering a bed and breakfast service on Airbnb I am grateful that Airbnb people are not being asked for this money too. Many of these services are small, mum and dad operations and they would not be able to afford to pay a rate based on their property’s CV. Most would simply drop off the service and with it would go the affordable, off the beaten track options that both Kiwis and overseas travellers seem to enjoy and value.

Editor’s note: We understand that Auckland Council is speaking with providers like Airbnb about this targeted rate and those discussions were described as “positive and ongoing” by an ATEED spokesperson recently. Watch this space!
 
Delivery girl outed
Brian Goodall, Manly. April 1, 2017

I believe that I was recently hand-delivered a copy of your latest issue by no less than the editor! It gave me a good feeling to realise I’m part of a community where the editor of the local rag is quite happy to deliver the paper herself.

Editor’s note: I’ve been ‘outed’! Yes, some residents of Manly may have spotted me popping Hibiscus Matters in their letterbox. My daughter has had this paper route for many years and when she is not able to do it, my partner Andrew and I help out. It’s a great excuse to take a walk and complete the process, from a story’s germination to its fruition in a reader’s hands.

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