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Letters to the Editor

Do Environmentalists benefit the Environment?

The recent weather events in the Coromandel and the East Coast with the resultant damage and negative effects on aspects of our lives in these regions makes me question whether environmentalists are benefitting communities or are in fact contributing to the damage our environment has suffered; including that we have recently witnessed.

Sea Erosion

The most public local display of damage to our environment recently was the damage being done to the foreshore in front of the Yacht Club. This part of the beach has been gradually worn away over the years and the various parties involved have been unable to secure consent to put protection, in the form of rock walls or groynes, in place, despite the problem and predicted outcomes being well known. For example the November 2020 Mercury Bay Community Board meeting considered an extensive report on Buffalo Beach erosion, and in particular the Yacht Club. At that stage there was 14 metres of grassed dune between the Yacht Club premises and the beach and the report to that meeting stated quite clearly that at the current rate of erosion it would be only 3 years before the Yacht Club premises would be directly affected. While many felt that was over dramatic, the actual time needed has proved to be less than that reported. This meeting referred to a 2017 decision to use a one metre wide weed barrier to protect the Yacht Club. It was noted that this had not been put in place but, despite considering other protection options, made no decision to raise the protection offered and confirmed it only had medium priority. A very poor environmental decision made and poorly executed.

Soil Erosion

Other communities have also suffered over the last few years and the recent weather event also attacked East Coast communities very hard. Over TV we have watched slash (rubbish left lying around by the timber industry) and silted top soil ruin people’s homes, land and livelihoods. We watch as this forestry rubbish damages public assets such as bridges with a resultant attack on taxpayer pockets to repair. Silting also happens in our bay and almost daily we see examples of this. You can see the silt flow in, creating and growing sand banks and swirling around the beach front, eventually building up the sand banks and islands by the harbour entrance. Soon we will be able to walk to Centre Island. After every major storm you can also see the build up of logs, branches and other bits of forestry along the beach front, swept down from the hinterland. The main reason for the silt pouring off the New Zealand countryside is soil erosion. To fight this, much work was done in the post World War II years with the planting of poplars, especially so in the East Coast regions. This was quite successful as poplars have extensive root structures that bind hill sides together; so why did this practice stop?

Greed and Stupidity?

The answer is of course money and stupidity. Poplars do not make good commercial timber so the growers wanted to change to Pinus Radiata which is a very poor option for erosion control, especially so, when you consider the land it is grown on is clear felled every 25 years. You would expect such a significant change in land use would have been opposed by environmentalists, but no. That is the money influence. By amazing coincidence at the same time environmentalists were being told by certain interests that the planet was about to burn and the only way to save it was to plant Pinus Radiata as it soaked up carbon dioxide so quickly. The young environmental movement accepted this which is where stupidity comes in.

A Time for Pragmatism

The result is that environmentalists' incompetence has contributed to regions, including our beautiful bay, being in the damaged state they are in. Their actions or inaction is threatening our community. We need to protect ourselves and this would be best done if the environmentalists stepped back and let practical people lead the way. At a local level we need to protect our beach. We need rock walls extended, we need groynes built and we need to forget about weed planting as the solution to all ills. At a national level we need to actively protect our top soil, enforce that the Forestry Industry is accountable for its mess and obliterate the idiotic Carbon Trading system which is a growing force behind the notion that pine planting is the solution to planetary ills. I guess we need common sense more than we need environmental ideology.

What would Cyclone Hale have done to a 30 hectare mussel spat farm in Mercury Bay?

Imagine if even some of the 800 buoys and up to 700,000 metres of rope in the structure, which has received Council resource consent, had broken away and ended up on our coastline. The expense of repairing the 30 hectare farm would be enormous and the clean up of the debris in the bay and on the coastline would be a huge and ongoing job. I hope the partners in the venture have factored these potential costs into their business plans going forward. I also hope they’ve improved the plans for the structure that were presented in the Resource Consent application. These were pretty much the same as for mussel farms in the sheltered Firth of Thames. Maybe the applicants would have some comeback in court against the Waikato Regional Council for awarding consent for a structure likely to be damaged or destroyed in the conditions that can be experienced at the site. Oh well, a storm of this magnitude is unlikely to happen again for a long time. Yeah right! Helen Vivian - Wharekaho Beach


In an earlier letter I questioned the fact that we had had no plans, proposals, or initiatives in place from our Mayor. Now I see that TCDC (Continued from page 23) are recruiting 17 more staff . How can more staff be justifi ed if there are no confi rmed projects in place? From the Mayor's earlier comments we were expecting a tightening up of fi nances and a much needed reduction in staff numbers. TCDC currently has the highest number of staff members on salaries of over $100,000 in the whole of New Zealand. We are constantly told that there is no money to fi x, let alone targeted to provide much needed infrastructure. There needs to be some accountability here. Councillors are elected to work for the people and support their communities. So please explain why TCDC have set up in direct competition against one of the most vital and respected businesses on the Coromandel Peninsula. The Informer for years has produced a much appreciated Summer Guide to the Coromandel. This year, at a huge cost, TCDC has produced its own magazine yet again - in direct competition, and with a strong conflict of interest with the same advertisers being targeted. Frivolous spending of taxpayer's money? Perhaps the TCDC staff involved could be immediately re-directed to take the place of the additional staff currently being recruited. As stated above - there needs to be some accountability here. Our Mayor, predictably, has now publicly confirmed that he is running with Three Waters. This is against the wishes of over 80% of our population. Scott Simpson has voiced his concern and I would just add - there needs to be some accountability here.

Ady Cole-Ewen - Whitianga

Another Three Waters and erosion opinion

I would like to support Trevor Ammundsen’s letter, The Informer, Tuesday, 3 January 2023. The Three or Five waters legislation is a disaster and is defi nitely an agenda to give Maori control of water. (No one race or group of people should have control of a natural resource that everyone uses - we have local authorities who represent all the people who are supposed to do that.) Thank goodness National will repel it if elected. With regard to our Mayor Len Salt, I agree that he has shown his true colours, wanting to endorse this move despite the fact that the bulk of the peninsula rate payers are against it, as they are with amalgamating with Hamilton enabling them to call on our rate money to put into Hamilton projects all in name of ‘Climate Change,’ yeah right? When asked at a ‘Meet the Candidates Meeting’ about this, his answer was, ‘In a heartbeat’. However, he didn’t get elected that time. Also, fancy not considering that when our Mercury Bay Boating Club was in danger of being washed into the sea - that was ‘not an emergency.’ Council has had an aversion to using rocks to hold back the sea and has spent millions on doing sand bags and planting and other soft options only to lose them in the next storm combined with a high tide, as we have just experienced. Rocks work. Just look at what’s been done already. Save our beach including our Boating Club with a continuation of the rocks along the front of the beach and it will be there for years and years. Just look at Auckland and other places safe behind a rock wall. And don’t make those houses (Buffalo Beach) remove their rocks (put there in an “emergency” by Harold Abrahamsen), while they wait for another Resource Consent before they can put them back. Let’s get it fixed up once and for all by doing what is right and not what certain touchy feely methods advocate.

Gloria Humphries - Whitianga

Doubling up

I wish to register my concern re the duplicity of receiving the Informer's "Summer" guide and the TCDC's "Our Coromandel" guide. Our Council should not be in competition with a well respected business in town especially as they seem to be targeting the same advertisers. As TCDC is advertising for more staff , surely the staff involved in putting the magazine together could be better utilised elsewhere in the Council. We should not need more staff at more cost to the ratepayer just a reshuffl e of priorities and jobs. My second concern is the Mayor's support of Three Waters as reported recently in your paper. He never actually came out in support of Three Waters in the build up to his election and he really should have been more transparent before the election rather than after, as a big percentage of ratepayers are opposed to this Bill. I would love to hear from the Mayor and his Council on these issues.

Sandra Robinson


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