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Letters to the Editor



More of the same
Mayor Gent's response to the High Court judgment on August 19 was nauseating. Do all these people in such positions all go to the same CIO, CFO, MP, Chief Executive training school? Is the second chapter in their course handbook entitled ‘Handy hints in director-speak and effective social propaganda’?

How on earth can an individual whose much-advertised experience states 20 years of governance skills – including chairman of Northland Dairy and Kiwi Dairy companies, deputy chairman of Fonterra, and chair of Southern Cross Health Group and FMG – come out with an outlandish statement “We're not even sure at this point actually what that means because it's non-specific, so there’s a bit to work through around this one.” And even more dumbfounding “It's all very technical, it's going to cost Northland ratepayers a lot of money, and I'm not sure for what.”

Seriously? Are we all assumed to be complete idiots by listening to this drivel? I don't have a degree in political science or commercial law, but even I can understand the basic elucidation of the ruling, and furthermore, who is directly responsible for any protracted waste of money.

His final statement “I'm not sure for what” borders upon the insulting. Mr Gent, have a read of the events over the many difficult and exasperating years and then possibly you might understand "for what". Failing that, take the time and effort to educate yourself.

Gent's comments are transparently an effort to portray the usual political "I know nothing" (Colonel Klink's voice springs to mind), while assuming everyone is going to buy in to it all. Gent knows exactly what all of this means, and what the repercussions may be as a result of long-standing collective arrogance and ignorance. As they say, you can't kid a kidder.

Mr Gent, you can fool some of the people some of the time, with such contrived statements – I am sure you can complete the sentence.

Anthony Roberts


Traffic planning
Traffic is the key problem that Mangawhai must face in the future. Traditionally cars and trucks are considered traffic, and everything else is either ignored or rejected. But advanced countries that do forward planning have found the solution to traffic congestion in public transport: walking and cycling.

We see more and more people, families and kids in Mangawhai, using their own legs by walking and cycling to move themselves to and from school and sport

and shopping. They do it even though the footpaths in our little town are very uncomfortable, even dangerous, and even though cycling on them is forbidden by law with a fine up to $250.

For decades now the District Plan has called for and mandated a walking and cycling network. But those guidelines have been shamefully ignored, possible linkages are blocked by new subdivisions. New footpaths are only 1.5m or less wide, which means that you can’t walk side-by-side, and people travelling in opposite directions cannot get past each other without stepping off the path.

In the Mangawhai Community Plan the Council proposed to ‘include a number of cycling and walkway priorities to improve connectivity in the area’. Is this in reality a step forwards or backwards?

The first thing we have to learn from the past is that guidelines need to be mandatory so that they can’t be ignored. Secondly it can’t be done with some cycleway priorities and a walkway esplanade. Only complete walk-and-cycle networks are able to avoid future traffic congestion.

Town planning is a function that must look decades ahead and it cannot be driven by or subjected to day-to-day funding limitations. Network plans don’t cost a lot of money. Only one qualified, skilled and experienced town or development planner with the right brief is required. But once network plans are done, and cemented into the District Plan, every developer is forced to integrate them into their subdivisions. This is the first but essential step and does not need one cent of public money spend. Funding is only needed to retrofit the plan to all the past developments that were done without the pedestrian and cycling needs.

Until now discussion about how to manage the growth of our town has been the preserve of mostly elderly people. The young families are all too busy with their daily life, and making ends meet financially. But it is their future that will be affected, and the decisions are being made now. I would like to see the under-40’s in the community find the time and the energy to stand up and articulate their vision for the future.

Christian Simon

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