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Letters to the Editor

Differing views seems Trish Ganley enjoys reading about different personalities and different ideas, on the proviso that they agree with her current views. I can't help but raise an eyebrow when she questions the political neutrality of the Informer, purely because it published a mildly unflattering opinion piece regarding the current government's performance. Rather than being offended (Say what ??) because she considers herself "..subjected, each week, to the blatant biased ranting of your Guest Editor, Trevor Ammundsen," I'd suggest she post an informative response to the article, factually refuting any claims she disagrees with. I personally enjoy Trevor's contributions each week as they truly do offer "different ideas." Long may it last.

Biggles Bailey


Freedom of speech!

Trish Ganley, please don’t stop reading The Informer! We need an open minded local publication that shares the views of all of us in Mercury Bay. Freedom of speech! Don’t discourage it, we all have our own opinions and if they can’t be published, we’re doomed! And quite often Mr Ammundsen does raise some good and relevant points. Also note they are his opinions, not The Informer’s.

If you have ever met Mr Ammundsen, you may have noticed he has rather puffed out cheeks - primarily because there are occasions when he keeps his tongue firmly in them.

(And Mr Noble, in regards to aircraft noise,

I hope you haven’t just recently moved here?)

Brian Morrell


Well done to all

Having spent most of my 85 years in England and seen the slow decline in local people working to make their communities better it is very refreshing to see after the effects of the Cyclone Gabrielle so many people working to clear the damage. Fire Brigade, Council and people working so hard to restore the streets and clear the drains, well done to you all. The spirit of the town is refreshing, well done - and Thank you.

Ken Shelvey


Storm history

I was going through old photos and material of my late husband, Graeme Jacobsen and my mother and father-in-law, Max and Eve Jacobsen, and found these photos. Max and Eve lived at the top of the hill going to Simpsons Beach and built the block of shops which used to contain a supermarket and a fish factory, or similar, in Coghill Street.

I previously dropped in a scrap book which Eve kept when I lived in Coromandel, but didn’t find these photos of Hurricane Carlotta; they seem very topical now. I haven’t heard Hurricane Carlotta mentioned in years and yet it did a lot of damage and was very frightening at the time. I remember the Blue Dolphin Camp losing rooves and corrugated iron sheets forced into the hill above Simpsons Beach.

Kate Jacobsen


Fact check please

Re Neera Giri’s letter last week: I think it is good that the informer prints opposing views to our coastal erosion problem, but Neera please stop spreading misinformation and jumping on Greta Thunberg theories and instead, follow up with the true facts. The forestry, the marina, and the waterways have nothing to do with coastal erosion in Mercury Bay. The forests are carbon credits. The Waterways development was not even thought about in 1987 and 1988 when two massive storms (Bola) eroded more of our foreshore than Cyclone Gabrielle did this year. The sandbank that forms in the middle of Mercury Bay has always formed after major and minor storms. I can remember as far back as the late 1960’s - massive surf out in the middle of the bay. It will happen again and is recorded as far back as 1957 as the then ‘Whitianga Town Council’ recorded in their minutes after a major storm that there was concern that nothing was being done to stop the erosion in the bay. I am more qualified to talk about the coast erosion and shifting sands in Whitianga than anything you read about on websites.

Peter Grant


From the Mercury Bay Aero Club

There was a regrettable incident last Sunday, 19 March, morning at the Whitianga airfield when a pilot took off early, outside authorized operating hours. Apart from being unsociable, this action was against Civil Aviation rules and the Aero Club have reported the incident to them and they will be taking the appropriate action against the pilot.

The Mercury Bay Aero Club (MBAC) is aware of noise concerns from some sections of the community and although not legally required to do so, have introduced procedures to help reduce any inconvenience to local residents. This pilot is not a member of the MBAC, has broken several rules and will not be returning to the Whitianga airfield for some time.

Keith Skilling, Vice President MBAC


Greed brigade

SAVED! - the chooks from their cages.

SAVED! - the sows from their crates.

BUT – Once more into the breach dear friends!

Ocean fish are next on the agenda of the All About Money and Greed Brigade.

For all the talk about extending our Marine Reserves, protecting and saving the Hauraki Gulf, and working with the environment and not against it, the proposal to dump a huge caged fish farm just north of the Firth of Thames is testimony to how our Fisheries Authorities and those associated with them ignore what gets in the way of their profits.

The fish are packed so tightly into these cages they are unable to swim freely and become highly stressed. Without being fed tonnes of antibiotics, the diseases and lice that become rampant in such an unnatural environment, the fish would not survive them. They are fed tonnes of processed food and the overflow of both antibiotics and processed food drops to ocean floor. No natural flora and fauna of the sea can survive in these areas and they become totally barren. The antibiotics and processed food is also consumed by wild fish in the area. Would you be happy to go fishing in the Firth of Thames to catch your fresh fish for a great healthy meal – not knowing whether it is contaminated with antibiotics and/or has been feeding on processed food. If you knew that the fish you were buying in the supermarkets came from such a stressful environment, raised on processed food and antibiotics, would you still be happy to eat them?

Farmers on the land have strict rules governing how animals must be treated and how they must be presented for market. Animals must have room to move about easily and without stress. No animal can be sent for slaughter with any trace of antibiotics in their system. It takes a long time for antibiotics to be excreted from the system so how would this be managed on a fish farm in an already contaminated area. This should never be an issue that has to be discussed because under no circumstances should any animal or fish be put into such an appallingly stressful situation. And under no circumstances should the Hauraki Gulf be threatened in this manner.

Ady Cole-Ewen

Simpsons Beach

Complaint about Caulerpa and...

We have just received the latest from Ministry of Primary Industry (MPI) about Caulerpa seaweed.

Never have we heard such nonsense about a perceived pest and the area closures required to prevent its spread! Hysteria or perhaps a hidden agenda to introduce a marine reserve, would best describe the action.

The catch cry-“If it comes up on your anchor-chuck it back” is ridiculous. By the time it is obvious to the skipper, the boat may well have drifted 100m or more! A more sensible suggestion would be to retain it on board and bring ashore.

However that said, there is absolutely no logical or scientific reason to prohibit anchoring or the taking of fish in such vast areas, particularly at Great Mercury Island, where Huruhi Harbour is the only all weather anchorage around the island. The fish life, including snapper, is at an all time high in the anchorage. We have a 60year plus history of Great Mercury, both commercially, recreationally and as divers.

Outside the harbour, over a long period of time, we have had, if you listened to the so called experts, supposedly annihilating infestations of starfish, paddle crabs, tube worm and ongoing diving surveys being conducted due to the possibility of fan worm. If Caulerpa is so invasive and able to readily move to other areas in the water column, are we kidding ourselves that we have any hope in hell of stopping the spread? How did it get to Great Barrier for instance? One would have to suspect in the bilge water of ships.

In a similar vein, proponents of the closure of all scallop fisheries areas cannot possibly be able to back up their claims that the scallops are depleted to almost extinction. Yes they have moved deeper, year on year for a good long time, but because they aren’t in the identical areas certainly doesn’t absolutely indicate overfishing by commercial fishers or anyone else.

Let’s face it, the scallops can’t predict where anyone will fish, either commercially or recreationally, and then adapt accordingly. Surely it is nature and changing seasons and all the things we have no control over.

Gail and Jim Morgan

Te Rerenga

Feedback from Len Salt’s article: Barrier Air

Bullet point 4: Issue March 14

We’re looking at investment from NZTA and the Government for a Transport Plan which includes what air and sea links can be put into place to keep supply lines open in the short to longer term.

On week days, Barrier Air are flying twice daily into Whiti from Auckland. This has been a fantastic service, when the runway isn’t waterlogged - the latter being a whole different discussion!

• From 1 May, this service is reducing to one flight every other day. • The cost of flights has increased significantly. • There are not many seats available, unless you book well in advance. • How is this helping with putting a short to longer term Transport Plan in place for Whitianga? • More flights mean more tourism which Whiti is desperate for, given the recent weather events, road closures etc.

I understand there is a pilot shortage, and with many flights being cancelled due to the runway being flooded, Barrier Air is doing its best, but please reconsider putting on more flights, and at a reasonable price, to help those of us who use these flights for business and also the local businesses who are desperate for some tourist trade.


Kate Feast


Challenges x 3

There are a few issues that have arisen since Gabrielle hit us and it’s time to get some answers and action from our Mayor and the Council.

First: Gratitude has been widely expressed to CFM Coromandel for the stellar radio and social media coverage across our communities during the recent storms and cyclone. It would be a great service to all if they were advocated and recognised by the Mayor and Council as the go-to radio station during an emergency. They are the only radio station live 24x7 with backup generators that keep them on the air when the power goes out. To my knowledge, it is the only station so equipped across its entire network. On a side note, if the tsunami sirens had been installed last year, they could have been used for issuing messaging alerts during the cyclones via their PA capabilities.

Second: When will the Mayor and Council initiate the action group asked for last year and AGREED TO by the current Mayor prior to his election, to reinstate the tsunami sirens immediately using the already proven technology being installed in Northland. Why has the promise to form a team in conjunction with the Tsunami Sirens Silenced Action Group not been actioned? To refresh the collective memory, there were thousands of signatures on the petition to reinstate the tsunami sirens including a majority of those in Mercury Bay. Each signature represents a person the Mayor and Council are charged with protecting. In addition, our communities have no tsunami siren warning system at all. We were told that another alerting system, ‘whispr’, at best a very weak partial replacement for the removed sirens, would be up and running by August /Sept 2021. Why hasn’t it been implemented?

Third: When will a councillor with extensive emergency and civil defence experience, be made Operational Chair of the emergency management portfolio in TCDC?

A reminder: One of the primary responsibilities of any level of government is the safety of the people it represents, both through elected personnel and through the unelected staff. There is a term that comes to mind; ‘vicarious liability’; which is holding a Mayor and/or Chief Executive personally responsible for bad decisions made in their names…

NB: It would be helpful if The Informer could follow up on answers to these questions as the transparency at TCDC is quite opaque.

Gerry Church


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