Some light relief
Re The Informer's front page article last week (Issue 1047). Loved this article, very creative, and very funny. Well done, will look forward to your next 1 April story.
Kind regards Brett Fraser
Letter to the guest Editor
Re The Informer's front page article last week (Issue 1047). Well! Sorry Mr Amundsen, but it looks like the government has changed their mind again (will wonders never cease?). The tunnelling machine is not leaving Auckland after all and will be deployed to connect the North Shore to the South Shore, rather than Coromandel East to Coromandel West. We'll have to rename the road 25 Eh?
I just read the front page of the Informer 28 March about the proposal for State Highway 25A due out Saturday,1 April. As I read, I thought this proposal of a tunnel being built under the Kopu - Hikuai Rd, the proposal being a single lane road with a canal could only be proposed by the Ministry of dumb ideas and stupidity and was about to write an indignant letter to the Informer, then I saw the date - April Fools Day. I thought well done, Informer team. We could all use a good laugh about the state of Coromandel roads which are a very serious problem. P.S I am glad that the mining company gets to keep all of the gold, because they think it is theirs already.
Re “Irresponsible Direct Attack”
Response to Letter to Editor in last week's issue (1047) plus Statutory Article in 1046. They fail to acknowledge the fact that because of the ongoing “no comment” responses and phone calls not replied to, left The Informer no alternative other than to use The Official Information Act to get the truth behind the cash blow-out and the whisperings of statutory management that had surfaced as far back as October. MBAS is part of, and belongs to, our community. Honesty, integrity and transparency are key here and a local newspaper needs to follow those principles as well as MBAS. Because of that article, The Informer made available to the community, through The Official Information Act document, important information. This same information is available to all of us when we go to the Ministry of Education website. Why wasn’t this out in the open before this when it was taking place in 2022? If the Trustees refute the information received they need to direct their points back to both the source - The Official Information Act, and to those who, in not communicating with The Informer, created this situation. Resorting to inflammatory language - 'irresponsible direct attack', 'one-sided', 'damaging false information', 'blatant provocation towards division and anger' - towards an entity that is committed to, supports and stands by every Charitable Organisation, School, Sports, Local Business, Arts and Crafts, including MBAS - would have to be termed “misguided” at least. In 2022, The Informer sponsored the First XV rugby team of MBAS and in 2023, it’s the First XV girls rugby team of MBAS. I have read many articles from December 2022 last year including Plane Build, a Welcome to the new principal, a feature story on prizegiving and buddying which was written by The Informer staff, not provided by the school. However, there was much in their letter which was well worth reading. A community needs to know what is happening in their school. Let’s see what help can be given - perhaps more support for MBAS can come from this revelation. Perhaps the two past MBAS Board members can sit down with The Informer and create a more informative indepth article, in the interests of understanding and excellent community spirit. Thought for the Day - Honey will always get better results than vinegar.
State Highway 25A Challenge - open letter
Since the collapse of SH25A, like almost every Coromandel Peninsula resident, I have been patiently waiting for good news in regard to the geotechnical testing of the site for one of three proposed solutions... but then it struck me that since 15 January (when serious cracks appeared) we still don’t have a decision on what is going to be done and when it will be done... simply because Waka Kotahi has given itself the luxury of time on a final decision in May (estimated!) And in those months that have passed it’s very possible that the ideal weather is over and the imminent rains will scupper any chance of progress. In those same months, I realise the luxury of time for me is quickly slipping from what I had hoped was a stable place to keep my business operating; no more the luxury of driving a mere 40km to the nearest hospital; gone is the luxury of purchasing groceries as and when needed; distant is the luxury of regularly visiting my children outside of the Peninsula. So, I wondered if I really didn’t understand the enormity of the task (granted I have not visited the actual site since the collapse, and granted I am not a civil engineer). That’s when, in an effort to understand, I turned to the sources of information that have been conveniently provided to me by Waka Kotahi itself, as well as local and national media. I decided to research what the original contractors did - after all they built this road of which 99% is still functional almost 60 years down the line. According to the Waka Kotahi website, construction on the original Kopu/Hikuai SH25A commenced in 1958 and was opened to traffic in March 1967 - so it took roughly 9 years to build 29km (excluding tar seal which was completed in 1973). It included seven bridges and cost £1million. Using inflationtool.com, £1million in 1960 would equal $35million in today’s money (excluding tar seal). Fill Method Option: For the purposes of this comparison let’s assume the chosen solution to repair the slip is the fill method (which appears to have been the solution for this section of the road over 60 years ago). Let’s see how this compares with the estimated timeframe and cost to fix SH25A. Assuming the final repair comprises approximately 200 metres - this equates to $200million per km - (based on the LOWEST estimate of $40m) and assuming the repair takes the SHORTEST estimated time (9 months); if we applied the current cost and work-rate to the original project, it would have taken the original contractors 112 years to build and it would have cost $6billion (including tar seal)! It now seems incredible that 60 years ago, with much less sophisticated machinery and technology, the contractors of the day (with the assistance of locals, apparently) completed 29 kilometres of usable road - across the exact same terrain in only 9 years! Basically they were able to complete roughly 260 metres in 1 month! (calculation: 9 years for 29km). I wonder if processes have become overcomplicated... taking longer... costing more... fraught with excessive discussion, and less doing! What would the original contractors think about how we have approached this problem? Would they already be almost finished with the repair? Perhaps instead of Waka Kotahi telling us what THEY WANT to build for us, maybe we should tell them what WE NEED them to build for us. What we need is for the lives, businesses and connections we have built to be restored as soon as possible. Nine to twelve months is not ‘soon as possible’. What we need is not a pinnacle of modern civil engineering that will last for 100 years. What we need is something that will safely, but practically, restore our access to the rest of the North Island. What we need is not for $40 to $50 million to be spent on ONE stretch of ONE road...when in fact there are dozens of roads throughout the Peninsula that need the resources and budgets to be allocated at the same time. It is the entire Peninsula and all the towns bordering it that are already suffering from the result of this one slip (I feel I shouldn't need to mention this!). My simple logic says that 60 years ago, a team of kiwi can-do contractors used cut and fill to build this section, which lasted until an extreme weather event collapsed it. Why are we proposing to now make it the most robust part of the entire highway? Bridge Option: So, let's assume that I am proven to be the complete idiot I think I am... and an awe-inspiring bridge is built on the slip... and assuming it is actually completed 12 months after starting (say April 2024) the burning question on my mind is how many of us will still be here... living, working and trading on this fabulous Peninsula? How many of us will be here to cheer the re-opening of SH25A? I wonder if anyone will ask whether the $42m Kopu Bridge was a worthwhile gateway project especially as tourist/visitor numbers will have dwindled, and bach owners will have decided that 3-hours extra driving is just too difficult, which will leave many of the seasonally-occupied homes semi-permanently abandoned. Rest assured that the above rant is purely a result of my frustration that we seem less able to resolve issues now than our predecessors. As a permanent resident and business-owner, I believe I have earned the right to express my opinion and I intend no offence to any individual. I welcome anyone including the assigned team at Waka Kotahi to set me right and to convince me that - ‘it is going to take as long as it is going to take’. My intention is to spark up some fight for the Coromandel and to challenge the paradigm, and not to simply accept what seems to be the inevitability of a situation.
Response to Dennis Tegg’s Letter to Editor March 21 Seriously, rejected councillor Denis Tegg begins his argument for the government with the words "Researchers have confirmed . . . ". Who are Mr Tegg's researchers? Not one in his litter of fanciful figures is substantiated; they do not even have a source, let alone a credible source and yet Mr Tegg is basing his beliefs on what these "researchers" have told him. Has he been tuning in to social media?? I have to admit that I would put Mr Amundsen high on the list of credible researchers because he does his own investigations; he doesn't take all his ideas from a single source. How often have we heard that, ‘the science tells us’ and then we look at the science which turns out to be flimsy at best. All good.
Complete waste of our rates
I saw an interesting comment from a person on Whiti chit chat as below: On Fair Go last week it was stated that about 80% of our recycled waste goes to the landfill and the whole exercise of recycling is for our education to get us familiar with doing the right thing. Never mind the bin companies that have been put out of business and the huge amount of excess plastics in loads of towns having to scrap the old plastic bins. They told us they were going to be recycled but that wasn’t true. What a complete waste of our rates and now they are going to do the same thing here. All to educate us into recycling. Watch the programme, it made me mad. Money could be spent on cleaning drains and sea walls etc.
Democracy under attack
It seems that the democratic right of freedom of speech is no longer guaranteed here in New Zealand, demonstrated by our shameful behaviour of a large mob of supposedly transgender supporters at Auckland’s Albert Park last weekend. Where Kelly Jay Keen, aka Posie Parker was scheduled to speak. These people numbered in the thousands, a large proportion of them men, had gathered at the venue prior to Ms Keen's arrival and from that moment made so much noise that delivering a talk was impossible, which of course was the object. The mob, could be fairly described, proceeded to attack Ms Keen and her supporters, crowding onto the stage, verbally and physically assaulting several. Audio Visual Design, Supply and Installation Networked Audio Specialist Control 4 Smart Home Installer Professional Wi-Fi Networks email@example.com Logic AVLTD. 021 781 971 382 Ngati Maru Highway, ThamesPhone 07 - 868 7960 Open 7 days 8:30am to 5pm • Huge range of ceramic pots • Qualified, knowledgeable staff • Beautiful water features • 400m2 outdoor covered area • A great gift shop • Large range of plants • Bulk landscape supplies available • Free loan trailers available • Great range of fruit trees • Potting mixes and fertilizers Unfortunately, the police kept a low profile for most of the violence even though they had been warned that there could be trouble. I had believed that the right of free speech was an integral part of democracy, but it would seem that it is only true if you conform and don’t dare have a different view. The severity of this riot was partly due to the encouragement the rioters received from the biased reporting of the previous talks by Posie Parker in Australia by the main stream media, both there and here in NZ. She was portrayed by them as a neo-Nazi supporter and as an anti-transgender trouble causer, none of which I believe is true. She represents "Let woman Speak,” a British organization dedicated to the rights of woman and children, mainly to protect them from possibly predatory men who, because they proclaim themselves to be women, they gain access to the women’s toilets, refuge centres and other place and situations that are intended for women and children only. This could, if they were so inclined, give them opportunities to predate, and claiming to be female, could participate in women’s sporting events, possible giving them an unfair advantage. It is also disappointing that our Prime Minister and other members of Parliament failed to outright condemn the cowardly, bullying tactics of those hypocrites who, while claiming to be peaceful protestors, displayed just the opposite. The event had appeared on TV around the world and, judging from reactions I have seen, had damaged New Zealand’s reputation as a peaceful and fair society. Hopefully, the police will prosecute those law breakers who can be identified. I wish to make clear that I believe we all have the right to be ourselves, whatever our sexual orientation may be, but we do not have the right to use that orientation to cause harm to others.
Bins and Waste
A response to the article 'Do you have any idea how much you are going to pay?' in last week's issue (1047) The answer is: obviously not!
I would like to congratulate Sarah Armstrong on her clear arithmetic re: Rubbish PAYT. ‘Pay as you throw’ is clearly misleading. (The Informer page 6 issue 28 march, 2023)
$2 million to introduce more plastic bins? YOU MUST BE JOKING!
I suggest that all the people (due to water shortage two years ago) have a good look at their manicured gardens, get a free compost bin and find a solution for ONE simple solution. I also suggest to them to get educational advice on how to compost their food items. And now we come to the educational programme in schools – education on composting, recycling.
I can’t believe what we have done to our environment. Surely, to challenge the plastic industry and our local government processes, and reuse plastic is essential here.
In a household of two people, you need one blue bag a month and if you use more, perhaps then you need to start thinking about how much plastic stuff you actually buy. Are we ‘lost in translation’ over this? To buy more PLASTIC BINS is definitely not the answer. It’s about everyone of us who lets it all happen; and don’t forget, we will pay the bill in a forever rapid increase of our rates. So please have your say.