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Letters to the Editor of 4 November

| Thu November 13, 2014

Dear Editor - Keep ‘em Legal

It’s a near full moon on Guy Fawkes. The perfect combination for lunacy and depravity, right?

In truth, this time around was the perfect combination for fun and town unity as proven by the hundred or so people of all ages enjoying fireworks displays they financed themselves down on Buffalo Beach opposite Mill Road in Whitianga. Apparently the public had to foot the bill for this year’s Guy Fawkes displays due to the Mercury Bay Community Board diverting the money allocated for the big display to another cause.

I suppose we did alright. Legal fireworks were used safely for maximum fun for young, old and in-between. I’m a tauiwi (person born overseas) and this night reminded me why I decided to move to Aotearoa. It showcased the good side of this town.

I say keep fireworks legal and make sure well in advance the money is available for the big display next year.

"Fun has no shelf life" - Hunter S Thompson.

Brian P Walsh

Whitianga

Dear Editor - Taxi Service in Whitianga

After more than three years of hearing numerous complaints about the taxi service in Whitianga, I have decided to put pen to paper. Having been a taxi owner for six years, I have a lot of experience and knowledge of the industry.

I have researched eight small town cab companies on and around the Coromandel Peninsula and found that Whitianga’s taxi service has the highest charges and the least operating hours. You cannot say it is economic reasons as fuel prices between the various towns only differ by five cents a litre. Other related expenses are basically the same.

So what’s going on? Whitianga has a great percentage of senior citizens, many, for whatever reason, do not own a vehicle. They have to rearrange their doctors appointments and grocery shopping to "fit in" with the taxi company. It’s all very well to increase your hours over summer for the tourists, but what about the locals? They are your bread and butter.

Later this year the alcohol limit for people driving is going to be lowered, so people if you are driving and you had even a couple of drinks, you may be up for a fine of $200 and 50 demerit points.

I have spoken to some of the local pubs and restaurants and they confirm that their businesses are hurting through the lack of a suitable taxi service.

My husband and I have been approached to drive for someone who holds appropriate licences and we are actually considering it (something I never thought I’d do again).

Shel Moxham-Whyte (ex-Paradise Cabs)

Whitianga

Reply from Whiti City Cabs (the Taxi Service in Whitianga) to Ms Moxham-Whyte’s Letter

Chinese whispers and hearsay are not the way to complain about any business or service. The New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA) has a correct procedure for formal complaints, of which to date we have received none.

First and foremost we are a business and operate accordingly, we do not get subsidised, nor do we get any funding. The NZTA approves all hours we operate and the prices we charge. A taxi company has just as many overheads as any other business in town, which we have to carry over the quieter months of winter.

I have rung around the Coromandel Peninsula and as of 1 November 2014 there are now only two legal cab companies operating, being Whiti City Cabs and Thames Taxis, whom only operates to 5:00pm most week nights.

A recent meeting with bar, pub and restaurant owners and operators in Whitianga regarding the new drink driving law effective from 1 December 2014, has seen us come to an agreement with new operating hours and collectively we have worked out a solution to suit all.

Senior citizens are given discounted, reduced rates and locals who regularly use the taxis know our operating hours and are grateful that we have the luxury of a taxi service in our town as most small towns do not.

Another legal operator started a private hire service at the beginning of the year and realised after roughly eight weeks of operating this was not viable and closed down.

Whiti City Cabs is governed by NZTA rules and regulations and has strict guidelines that we must follow. We pride ourselves on the level of professionalism we operate at.

Karla Chapman - Manager of Whiti City Cabs

Whitianga

Dear Editor - A Referendum on the New Zealand Flag

If I wished to call a (non-binding) referendum on the flag issue, I would be obliged to collect signatures from ten per cent of those on the voters roll supporting this, to present to Parliament. I doubt that Prime Minister John Key will follow this process, even though the flag issue is his hobby horse (or smokescreen to divert attention from something else) rather than National Party policy endorsed by electors at a general election.

If we must have a referendum on the flag, let it be to abolish flags, which serve little purpose other than giving steam to pseudo-patriots - before someone comes up with a new flag featuring a bunch of people poking their tongues out doing a haka on the grounds that this would be typically New Zealand. Then we could perhaps also have a referendum to make performing the haka a criminal offence as it is an incitement to violence.

John Chilwell

Kuaotunu

Dear Editor - Allowing Dogs to Exercise

Whilst walking my dog on the beach on 3 November, two stray dogs approached at speed down the beach and set upon my dog pinning him to the ground in an act of dominance. Despite my best efforts I struggled to get the dogs to leave mine alone and luckily an older gentleman who was also walking on the beach and realised what was happening came to my aid and, using a large stick, managed to frighten the dogs away. My dog was thankfully unharmed, but it was a very traumatic experience for myself and my dog.

I raced down to the Council offices and alerted them to the stray dogs that were headed down the beach and I later found out that they had in fact been captured and had been held at the pound. By all accounts I understand it is not the first time these dogs have done this. Unfortunately though, I suspect that as the dogs are repeat offenders, their future is not looking very promising.

I am so upset because like all the supposed "problem" dogs, the problem isn’t the dogs but the owners. It wasn’t a vicious attack, it was an attack of dominance. They were out on the loose and they were in a pack. They weren’t even the stereotypical "problem" breeds, but I strongly suspect that these dogs, like so many in this area and throughout New Zealand, lead a very boring, mundane, unhappy life. Probably left cooped up in a back yard day in day out without socialisation, exercise or proper training. Those dogs had managed to escape for an hour or so to fulfil their doggy needs and let off some steam which in this case involved attacking my dog and another dog and also frightening all the seabirds down on the beach.

It is such a shame that for every responsible dog owner there are also very irresponsible dog owners and it is those that give the rest of us such a bad name and prevent us being able to take our dogs on many walks, tramps, beaches and campsites all over the country.

A dog’s basic needs in this order are food, water, shelter, EXERCISE (this is hugely important - to be able to release built up energy and achieve a calm sense of mind), discipline (this does not mean beating a dog, it just means insuring the dog has boundaries), love and affection. If you do all of these things, you will have a happy, content dog that will respect you as a pack leader and it won’t run away every time it gets the opportunity too. A happy, content dog will want to be in its own territory within its own pack environment and it will look to you, as the pack leader, for leadership and guidance.

If you cannot provide all of these basic needs for your dog, then you should not have a dog.

Joanna Gable-Fearn

Whitianga


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