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Letters to the Editor

Stepping Up

I first recognised her at the end of a shovel working along with the rest of the local community in their commitment to saving the Mercury Bay Boating Clubhouse.

Then again today, Caroline Hobman, Whitianga Community Board Member, was in attendance at the Wharekaho and Simpsons Bay Residents and Ratepayers Dune Planting meeting at Whitianga Town Hall. When I thanked her regarding her commitment, both to digging in to save the Clubhouse and attending our meeting, she looked surprised and said that this was her community and where else would she be.

How refreshingly different!  No other Board Members were in attendance, and she was most certainly not looking for any recognition for standing up for her community.

Thank you Caroline - you are a credit to all those who voted for you.

Ady Cole-Ewen


P.S. Dean Allen and Deli Connell were present on behalf of TCDC.

Mercury Bay Boating Club and centralised Authorities

Some years before our community boating club was jeopardised by cyclone Hale, the club tried to work proactively with the local authorities to prevent the further loss of the seashore fronting the clubhouse. Since neighbouring property's had, sensibly, installed rock retainers to their frontage it changed the coastal dynamic and worsened the erosion further along the beach. 

The authorities would not allow any proactive approach only to let the sea take it.

Mercury Bay Boating Club has a host of clever, intelligent proactive people who are prepared to take responsibility for their plight.

It's one thing for bureaucrats to do nothing and another to prevent locals from helping themselves. Instead of being able to take preventive action we are forced to waste resources under emergency duress.  The old line from WRC & TCDC is that it's all too expensive!

This becomes a joke when one long time local man, after many years of observation, a bunch of kina sacks and many hours, filled those sacks with sand, strategically placed them and showed all those ‘know it alls’ how to save Flaxmill Bay Beach with the age-old solution of coastal groins.

I believe the time of centralized authorities’ control is over; it just doesn’t work.

There is NO substitute for intelligent local knowledge and kiwis determining our own destinies. Simple low cost solutions are what this country was built on and we all need to question these edicts issued from on high by the disablers in their concrete castles.

This is just the beginning of sea level rise and multiple storms.

We need co-operation, not control.

Roger Harwood 



The elections for our representative are coming. To cast a worthwhile vote we need to be informed. So perhaps our sitting MP, Scott Simpson, could put some info in his columns.

We need to know why we (our country) are short of doctors and nurses, who we poach from countries that have their own needs?

Why is our education system short of teachers and performing so badly in the basic subjects?

Why are we short of tradies and apprenticeships? E.g. builders, plumbers, electricians, fitter and turners.

Peter H. Wood


Travellers Trust?

If superannuitants are to get free travel with their gold cards on the privately-owned Whitianga ferry, the money has to come from somewhere. Bulk funding (WRC) comes from the taxpayer. TCDC funding comes from ratepayers.

Perhaps it’s time for a Travellers Trust to be formed. Who will subsidise the ferry operator for gold card crossings? Their funds would come from donations, charities etc and even from a local Whitianga addition to the rate demand.

Who would be on the Trust? Grey Power, Aged Concern, two local Councillors, the electorate MP, WRC Councillor and finally (by invitation) one or two gold card holders representing the Whitianga demographic. The book-keeping and bank account would be up to the Trust. (The Government regulates Trusts.)

Peter H. Wood


Climate Change - a reality?

The answer to this complex question is YES and it effects every country in the world. With global warming the extremes in weather patterns are very serious with high temperatures exceeding record levels and wet and stormy conditions bring ing threats to all low lying areas in many countries.

The question is, will New Zealand be affected more than most countries? I believe the answer is yes, as all island countries must be affected with the predicted sea level rise over the next 10-20 years.

What staggers me is the lack of common sense with regard to climate change and the fact that people living in low lying countries such as the Netherlands have bee fighting against sea rise and managing well for at least 100 years. The international airport in Amsterdam is three metres below sea level. Why in New Zealand do we not listen to our Dutch people or study their engineering when developing our Coastal Erosion Policy? New Zealand’s crazy policy favours sand replenishment as a preferred option and sometimes the only option, against rocks and groynes. Surely we need both??

Thames Coromandel District Council and Waikato regional Council have supported this erosion policy and, in fact, recommended ‘managed retreat’ as a mitigating option. How can we comprehend this when over 5,000 properties on the Coromandel were given consent to build a coastal property when years later the TCDC and WRC change their minds and recommend ‘coastal retreat’. I wonder how many of their homes are by the coast at sea level? It is not fair on our people and this needs to be challenged.

Noel Hewlett


Spat Farm – facts please!

Ady Cole-Ewen, protesting against the spat farm needs to get the facts right. Firstly, it was a publicly notified application, so to say there was no consultation is incorrect. Being in the marine environment, it was a Waikato Regional Council application, not with the District Council so our Mayor and Council are only involved as interested parties; they are not the decision makers. Secondly, the assertion that the waters in the inner Hauraki Gulf are 'calm and protected' compared to Mercury Bay is incorrect and the large farms in the open ocean off the Opotiki coast are proof that such structures can withstand the elements. Any structure in the water attracts fish and marine life, thus increasing biodiversity to an extent that will outweigh any negative environmental effects. Furthermore, substantial structures in the water absorb some of the energy of waves, so storm damage could have been fractionally less severe, had the farm been in place. In fact, I can foresee a day when proposals will arise for an artificial reef across the bay to absorb wave energy to protect Buffalo Beach.

Everyone is entitled to their opinion but please do not put misinformation in the public arena.

Dirk Sieling

Ohuka Beach


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