Errors in Viewpoint
The Viewpoint column by Rodney Local Board member Colin Smith (MM June 13) is full of factual errors. The entire Rodney Local Board voted unanimously to consult on the Rodney Local Board Transport Targeted Rate to accelerate transport investment in Rodney. The proposal has nothing to do with the Rodney First ticket. It is in the 2017 Rodney Local Board Plan. It was not a Rodney First policy and in fact had not even been thought of prior to election. There was no directive given to any Rodney First members to vote for the targeted rate.
One of those who voted for the rate was not a member of Rodney First; one who voted against was. The final analysis of the 1799 submissions (2.75% of Rodney’s population) was 52 per cent in support, including partials in support, and 48 per cent not in support, including ‘partial no’ support. If there had been less than 50 per cent in support we would not have progressed the proposal.
Cameron Brewer chairs our transport committee and was elected unanimously by the Board because of his extensive contacts within the organisation and six years experience as a councillor. The Rodney Transport Targeted Rate will deliver long demanded footpaths, bus services and park and rides across Rodney. Rodney will receive $800 million transport investment as part of Auckland Council’s Regional Land Transport Plan, including $121 million to seal our gravel roads.
This budget delivers the largest amount of money ever spent on transport infrastructure; we think that’s a win worth celebrating.
Beth Houlbrooke, chair Rodney Local Board
Time to revolt
Targeted rates (MM June 13) are just a way of getting around Mr Goff’s promised average rates rise of 2.5 per cent. Good election spin but unrealistic in practice. In 2010, when the Supercity was born (or miscarried) the government said staff would be reduced by 1500 and wages would fall to $513 million a year. In fact, staff have increased by over 3500 and the wage bill is forecast to rise to $1 billion a year. That’s about $2.7 million a day. Until the Council wakes up to the real world of commerce and massively cuts wage and other costs, there will be no reprieve for us citizens. Mr McNabb is right. We need a bloodless revolt.
John Clements, Orewa
Bus for Wellsford
A regular public bus service to Wellsford is urgently needed. With the proposed residential growth in and around Wellsford, this need will only increase. Warkworth, Kumeu and Riverhead are all about to have a regular bus service and Wellsford’s need is no less than these communities.
For young people wanting to access training and employment, for elderly people and people from low and medium income families, access to affordable public transport is a must. With the planned population increase in the area and more people commuting to work, a park and ride service from Wellsford is desperately needed. This would take cars off the road, reduce congestion and increase traffic safety through the Dome valley. The regional fuel tax is here, regardless of whether people support it or not. As local community organisations, we want to make sure that the Wellsford community and surrounds get the services which are being extended to other outlying areas of Auckland. Auckland Council needs to step up and include Wellsford in its public bus service immediately.
Colleen Julian, Manager Women’s Centre Rodney, and Quentin Jukes, Coordinator - Homebuilders Family Services
Don’t blame whites
In reply to ‘In defence of rats’, letter by Bruce Rogan (MM June 13). Bruce Rogan’s logic that “there is not a very good case for retaining white humans” cannot go unchallenged. The politically incorrect but factually correct evidence removes “white” from his logic. During Polynesian (Maori) settlement from around 1250AD there was 6.7 million hectares of vegetation cleared by burning, typically in the hunt for the soon to be extinct megafauna (large birds). Between 1840 and 2000 (that is after Bruce’s “white humans” settled), another 8 million hectares was cleared. Think about that on a per capita basis. Colour doesn’t come into it. The key word is “humans”. And since Bruce’s letter was entitled “In defence of rats”, let’s have a reality check there too. The currently acknowledged first settlers, Polynesians, brought with them the kiore (Polynesian rat). Between Maori hunting behaviours and kiore, not just the big birds met with extinction. Many endemic ducks, wrens, geese, coots and rails, and invertibrates also disappeared forever – long before Bruce’s “white humans” rocked up. The subsequent introduction of the Norwegian rat, stoats, weasels, ferrets, and cats just continued the process more efficiently. Over the 750 odd years of human settlement on our wonderful motus, nearly half of all the vertebrate fauna has been destroyed. No settlers of any colour can claim to have been very good at kaitiakitanga (conservation). Arguably the concept of kaitiakitanga only kicks in when the availability of resources and the ‘guardianship/ownership’ model of the environment is challenged. In my opinion, the main issue that is “truly monstrous in scale” is the mainstream acceptance and politically promulgated view that everything was rosy before Eurpoean settlement and largely negative subsequently. This culturally skewed ‘truth’ and divisive finger pointing detracts from the task at hand – all of us New Zealanders, together, using the best technology, concepts, and skills and getting the hell on with protecting and enhancing what we have left of Aotearoa. By the way, if you’re the Bruce Rogan that led the Mangawhai Rates Revolt you’re a legend! You were righteous and dedicated.
Dave Adams, Warkworth
If you can’t stand the heat
As a non-politically aligned resident of Rodney, I read with amazement the comments reported in your article “Chair quits rude social media” (MM June 13). When the chairperson of the Rodney Local Board states that “people [her constituents] are so rude” and disconnects from a social media platform because she does not want to receive or register the tenor of sentiment relating to issues of critical community importance then, by her actions, she is abdicating her role. She is turning her back upon her basic representative obligations, and it is time to resign the role and quit local politics.
John Griffin, Sandspit