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Letters to the Editor


Dangerous driving
There are many corners on the Wayby Road, all are sign-posted with recommended speeds for each corner. However time after time we see drivers trying to corner at a speed well above that signposted. This of course sets up the possibility of a head-on collision, narrowly avoided several days ago.

The maximum speed allowable should be set in line with the Dome valley – 80kph – and strongly enforced, as I believe its only a matter of time before a major tragedy will occur.

John Barber

Who’s the hypocrite?

A response to Dr Ian Greenwood’s letter to the editor (MRRA hypocrisy, Mangawhai Focus, Oct 19.)

Let us bring small-minded discussion about people back to great-minded discussion about ideas. In your letter you brought some very good ideas to the table. Everyone should be personally responsible and accountable for any damage they do. Illegal rate strikers are charged with a penalty fee. I think this is right. When you as the leading member of the Mangawhai Waste Water Scheme Extension Advisory Panel consciously ignore environmental and more cost effective options you should be accountable for the senseless spending of money. This would cause decisions to be taken more thoughtfully. (Don’t miss the event on January 9, 6pm in the Mangawhai Library Hall with international experts on modern alternative Eco-sanitation.)

“Targeted rates on those who benefit from the service where they can be identified” is another great suggestion from you. This would lead us to the principle Prof Worzel has described in his column: “If you can’t afford it, don’t buy it.”

If the Mangawhai waste water treatment plant had to be paid only from the people that benefit from the service this type of plant would never have been built. I find it a little contradictory to your principles that you propose the extension of the plant should be paid by the whole district. Today each Kaipara ratepayer contributes $247 annually to the Mangawhai Waste Water Scheme. Logically your suggestion should be that all are not connected, all from Dargaville, Ruawai, Pouto should not pay this.

I don’t understand why you accuse Bruce Rogan of hypocrisy. For decades he has pointed out that the Kaipara District Council is organisationally not able to manage all those consultant agencies and corporations. His action led us to think how to reclaim our democracies from corrosive corporate influence and searching for alternatives. This may be obstinate but it is not hypocrite.

I find it hypocritical when someone demands mandatory connections to the treatment plant to save the estuary but the reticulation should stop on the gate of their own property located directly at the estuary. What would you call it when the same people live in a closed community that includes farm land where bovine waste flows directly into the estuary?

Let us talk controversial with good sense about solutions and not about people’s personal defects.

Christian Simon

Make a stand

I find I am unable to sit on the sidelines without comment in relation to the recent article by Dr Ian Greenwood about the legal claims from the MRRA.

If Dr Greenwood had done something about the illegal activities by the council we would not be in this mess. Along with most other Mangawhai residents he blindly followed the ‘mantra’ that ‘all rates must be paid regardless of legal compliance’ and blindly paid any sum the council or commissioners dreamed up.

Perhaps the penalty being claimed against the council could be regarded as a fine to everybody who sat by and did nothing whilst our community was robbed blind.

The MRRA is not exempt from any fine paid by the council as the (so called) increased charges would be applied to everybody in the district. So yes, the fine will also be paid by MRRA members and the ruling would be used to cover the huge costs involved which have already been paid by members for the benefit of all KDC and other ratepayers.

The $2m being paid in interest on the illegal loan (yes court declared it illegal) and the smug comments from Mr Robertson on his half million dollar salary plus expenses doesn’t seem to show up in any articles published.

Many people who have had the guts to stand against this corrupt organisation are now being harassed and labelled as bludgers, but the fundamentals are that the council acted illegally and misled its citizens, and is still doing so. The farce of a legal system which has taken over four months to date to issue a ruling with no end in sight, and the appellate court with three judges and no decision after two months smells of something more underhanded taking place.

I would suggest Dr Greenwood develop a spine and support the people who are fighting for his and others rights before the next ‘rate bomb’ hits. The MRRA is fighting for the rights and future of all Kaipara residents. Make a stand.

D McGillivray

Doctor who?

It is my experience of many years that persons who sign themselves ‘doctor’ are given to pretentiousness, and are inclined to rely on their title to give credibility to their utterances. When engaged in their professional capacity, of course, they have every right to use their title, and should. They have usually studied very hard in their field and have excelled in it.

Sadly, it is also usually the case that persons who specialise to the extent we must suppose Dr Greenwood did, are very seldom qualified to express opinions about anything else, because about everything else they are glaringly ignorant.

Most highly specialised people are keenly aware of this narrowness and keep their mouths firmly shut in areas they know nothing about. Not so Dr Greenwood, who has contributed blurtings on all manner of topics to this paper, spraying his ill-informed views around like a gunslinger in the High Street at noon.

Let us put him to rest on one point that he clearly failed to grasp. When we approached the High Court for a ruling on the legality of certain actions by Kaipara District Council, the Government, in the person of the attorney general, sought leave to intervene in the proceedings, and leave was granted. This intervention is not entirely risk free from the Government’s perspective, because while it was their intention to kill off any investigation by the High Court into the civil rights implications of the council’s and the Government’s actions, by joining itself to the fray it stands to be caught by any declaration on the Bill of Rights violations that occurred. (They did occur, the High Court said so.)

In arriving at a determination of any claim for public law damages the court will certainly give consideration to who was damaged, and who did the damaging. We made it very clear to both Parliament and to the Courts that KDC was only one of the culprits in this sorry and disgraceful business.

I have heard Dr Greenwood opine that the Government ought to pay something towards the cost of the Mangawhai debacle. I took little notice at the time because he was, as usual, speaking with his mouth fully engaged while his mind was elsewhere, but when we are discussing something as vile as hypocrisy, it seems to me that he should have left the glass house long before he started throwing stones.

Why should the New Zealand taxpayer be required to bail out the KDC? They didn’t play any part in the catastrophe that developed here. Perhaps we should listen to the homespun wisdom of the Noel Paget’s and the Richard and Peter Bull’s and the Joanna Roberts’ of this world: “You people voted these idiots into office, and voted them in repeatedly, so take whatever lumps come your way.”

I’ll be standing down from the MRRA in the foreseeable future. Dr Greenwood might like to consider putting himself and his rather strident integrity up for election, and steer the fortunes of the MRRA on a course that is more compatible with the aspirations of his friend John Robertson. Now that the MRRA membership are aware of the hypocrisy of its current leadership, I’m sure they will get behind the first self-righteous prig who comes along.

Bruce Rogan
MRRA Chair


My first reaction when I read Commissioner Robertson’s column in The Focus (Oct 19) was puzzlement. Zero waste, public toilets and town planning – these were the subjects raised but no naming and blaming of the MRRA. What have we here I asked myself? Surely not a total turnaround, an acknowledgement that the MRRA was right all along.

Then I turned the page and saw the letter by his shoe-shine boy, Ian Greenwood, (a doctor no less!) and I was reminded that in dirty politics the smiling assassin doesn’t need to be seen to be getting his hands dirty – that’s where the skivvies come in. There is always someone waiting in the wings, aspiring to greatness or recognition of some sort – a seat on a board or a commission – willing to spew out the required venom against one’s opponents. It has the effect of generalising the opposition much more and thereby making it look more authentic.

I would be interested to know if Dr Greenwood resides within the boundaries of the EcoCare district of Mangawhai or has he taken the more prudent approach and placed himself beyond the reach of the punishing rates meted out to those caught up in a targeted rating nightmare.

Is it possible that he shares the exclusive environment of Tern Point, with the acting CEO and the Chair of the so-called EcoCare panel of Mr Robertson – Darcy Quinn – who lives in Tern Point as a neighbour of Jill MacPherson and who doesn’t have to pay EcoCare charges? Far be it for me to raise the question of hypocrisy. Just asking.

Barbara Pengelly
Hon. Secretary, MRRA

Contagious conflict

Recently three-year-old William and I were tucked up on a wet winter evening reading We’re Going On A Bear Hunt by Michael Rosen and Helen Oxenbury. For each mountain or river barrier to the family adventure we chanted, “We can’t go over it, we can’t go under it, oh no we’ve got to go through it.” William whispered, “They are brave aye Grannie!”

Courage is already an important quality for this wee man who is fascinated by heroes such as Welsh puppet Fireman Sam who ‘saves the day’. William and friends make sense of adventure, problems, disaster, rescue and recovery through story and play. They call their disaster and rescue missions ‘work’. There is often competition and conflict, but forgiving and forgetting usually trumps begrudging.

Somehow three-year-olds understand conflict as a natural process to be resolved quickly so they can move on to re-connecting, ‘working’ and playing with others.

In the 21st century adult world of ‘work’ we are hounded by the disruptive triplets: complexity, change and conflict. Unlike the family in the Bear Hunt we may not be brave about going through it. We may try to dance around problems by looking to attribute blame elsewhere. Sometimes we go underground passing problems to higher institutions such as tribunals or courts. Other times we

breeze over issues as if they do not matter, sweeping difficult matters under the carpet, avoiding, hoping problems will magically go away.

However, unresolved conflict potentially festers and/or escalates, negatively impacting on relationships, health and well-being, connection, satisfaction, happiness, engagement and productivity.

Conflict is not essentially a problem, but the way we manage conflict matters because the process affects relationships, self-esteem, identity, ethics, reputations and many other complex elements of daily life for individuals, families, team members, organisations and communities.

Conflict in the Mangawhai fire brigade has spilt over into the community. The conflict is contagious and begs questions such as: What is our community culture? Are we driven by community contribution and collaboration or competition and power struggle?

I have witnessed transformation from anger and confusion to mutual commitment for change from acknowledgement of each party’s contribution to conflict events, but this has not happened at the brigade. I ask this community: How can we move forward, beyond a culture of contested power? Do we have the courage to ‘save the day’ and work through the issues alongside our local heroes?

Gaye Greenwood

A sad sight

On October 28 I observed the Spirit of Mangawhai dredging from the estuary beside the pontoon. It was low tide, calm and an orange slick formed around the sandy edge for as far as I could see. A NZ fairy tern was flying overhead trying to feed from this orange mess, trying to see small fish, as they do in ankle deep water. It fluttered here and there for ages, flying low over the pumping dredge several times.

What a sad sight! The Fairy Tern, more endangered than the kiwi or the kakapo, unable to feed because of the decisions made by just a few individuals in our community. I believe this has happened on many occasions recently, when the dredge has been operating.

Fairy Tern are breeding on the sandspit right now, nests with eggs and more to follow. They feed frantically at this time of the year as one parent is finding food both for himself and his mate back on the nest.

As a ratepayer, I must contribute (in my rates) to the running of this dredge. But, I do NOT support selfish actions such as this. Any dredging that takes place could so easily be done outside of the breeding season, avoiding a clash with our most precious bird. Thankfully, dredging now seems to have stopped.

Christine Silvester

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