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Letters to the Editor

Speed limit needs conditions

It is pleasing to read in Focus news briefs that the speed limit will be lowered to 50 kph from the Mangawhai Village to the heads. This should have been considered long ago, but in view of the current existing and prospective development along this stretch of road it is even more opportune – for example, the museum, the new skate park with two entrances, proposed St John ambulance station, industrial park with hire centre incorporating trailerable items, cafe and new subdivision intersections.

This makes considerable sense, but there are some prerequisites, which are blatantly apparent immediately.
The current 50 kph limit is in effect from the museum intersection (Thelma Road) to the Mangawhai Heads beach roundabout and is completely ignored, typically up unitil the Mangawhai Club. The are a number of factors contributing to this aside from the arrogant attitude of drivers. I am completely sick and tired of being tailgated on this stretch in both directions. It is now customary for us, while keeping to the 50 kph limit, to constantly look expectantly in our rear vision mirror after passing the single remaining speed sign, to observe another fast-approaching vehicle become glued to our rear bumper on almost every occasion. 

There is now only one 50 kph sign outside the museum northbound and one outside Harvest cafe southbound, nothing in-between on either side of the road, these having been destroyed by previous car accidents and vandalism over 18 months ago and never replaced. The road is now a proverbial standing-quarter-mile challenge, seemingly for everyone concerned.

Once this 50 kph mandate from Village to Heads becomes effective, there are conditions that should be met, otherwise it will remain just another migraine.
Firstly, the signs need to be replaced – large, square and clear, in both directions.
Secondly, 50 kph markers must be painted on the road surface.
Thirdly, a mirror roundabout matching Wintle Street's (Heads) at the intersection of Molesworth, Estuary and Thelma outside the museum.
This would forcibly slow traffic to a sensible level and mark a clear delineation all the way from roundabout-to-roundabout.
Lastly, pay more attention to enforcment. There have already been two or three serious accidents outside the skate park, and the last thing anyone wants is to ultimately have a fatality. 

These are perfect examples of the sorts of ‘core services’ the councils should be concentrating on, and being pro-active with, instead of delving into other well-known fanciful pursuits that are beyond their capability. 


S Willliams



Open letter gets response

As one of the ratepayers whom Noel Paget thinks ought to be relieved of a lot of money, I take the opportunity, if I may, to respond.

Noel’s letter was open so I copied it and forwarded it to the Monty Python people as material for a whole new series. Millions of people world-wide have been aching for another series.

The people of Mangawhai, whom Noel seems to hate intensely because some of them have never milked cows, have already paid $8000 or thereabouts in capital charges for the Mickey Mouse sewage scheme they have received, and the commissioners are intending to charge everyone not a mere additional $8,000 (which according to the Madoff calculator that Noel uses would do the trick) but an additional $20,000 – their figures, not mine.

Mind you, given Noel’s view of things, he would probably stand back and applaud at that. Any community that stands up to incompetent and ridiculous proposals from its elected officials deserves what it gets. But let us be serious for just a moment. The idea is being spread around, not just by Noel, that we elected these turkeys so we are only getting what we deserve. From 2006 onwards nearly every decision involving so-called EcoCare was taken in secret and illegally. We, the ratepayers, cannot act on things we know nothing about. Some of the truth came out in 2010-11, but only some of it. It has been leaking out in dribs and drabs ever since. 

The commissioners are hell-bent on keeping all the rest of the illegality hidden from view until they can fit us up with a patch-over Local Bill. The so-called investigation by the organisation that is at the root of all the trouble – the audit office – has been delayed and delayed, and when (if) it ever comes out it will be a monument to slaked lime.

For Noel’s benefit, and for the benefit of anyone who read Noel’s open letter and thought some of it made sense, the following facts need to be made known: The EcoCare project was launched illegally – before they did even the very first public consultation they had already entered into contractual commitments with the Australian outfit (that later went bung). So, from the very outset they were acting behind closed doors and in bad faith. It is not just unfair to do that, it is illegal; and the consequences fall back on people like (Jack) McKerchar, the consultants and the elected officials who knowingly performed these illegal acts. 

Neither the Mangawhai nor the general Kaipara ratepayer has any obligation to carry the can for any of this illegal borrowing. Very soon that is going to become an official fact, which even the Commissioner-Legal will have to get down his gullet and swallow. Fortunately, his usual facial expression will not have to change much as he experiences the taste of this morsel. In the meantime, don’t pay any of the illegal rates; it is like setting fire to your money.

The views expressed in this rebuttal are my own and may or may not reflect the views of other members of the MRRA executive that it is widely known I chair. I did not seek their approval to write, because I have a right as an individual citizen to throw a hissy fit, just as much as any MP has such a right. Noel is not just seeking to confiscate my pocket knife – he would like to take my house and home from me (and you) too.

Bruce Rogan



More questions than answers

I guess it’s the 40 years of teaching but I just can’t help myself. I’m forever focussed on assessment. And I’ve got to say the commissioners and good old Steve didn’t come out too well on NCEA grading for Oral Language in the presentation to the Mangawhai Community on Monday February 18. 

Chairman John Robertson would scrape through with an ‘Achieved’ grade on his OHP presentation but would get ‘Not Achieved’ on interpersonal skills as he was unable to answer questions directly. His colleagues all gained ‘Not Achieved’ for the same reason, for although in his presentation Robertson emphasised that ‘transparency’ would be a keynote of their tenure, they ducked for cover whenever specific answers were required of them. Steve Ruru managed an ‘Achieved’ in the area of attempting to address the question, but his use of jargon in a quick-fire speaking mode made it difficult for the average listener to assimilate the material he was addressing, so I’m afraid I can’t award him a ‘Merit’ and of course an ‘Excellence’ is out of the question.

Actually, I went to the presentation to learn something and to get answers to some of my questions. I got no answers but now have a lot more questions. Heigh ho. Anyway, dare I say it; it was entertaining! I don’t get to the theatre as much as I would like to, and this was pure theatre of the most spontaneous type. I wouldn’t have missed it for the world!

Barbara Pengelly

Mangawhai Heads


Don’t shoot the messanger

I was at the public meeting on Monday morning and while sympathetic to the ratepayers obvious anger – especially for those ratepayers who are or will be in financial difficulty – it does us little credit to shout abuse at the commissioners and question their integrity. They didn’t create the financial mess and have been asked to get Kaipara District Council back onto a sound footing. It does no good to shoot the messenger because we don’t like the fact that we have to bear the financial cost of getting the debt down to a manageable sum. 

My concern is that there wasn’t any information going forward on Kaipara’s annual revenue, expenses and how much Managwhai ratepayers are expected to contribute.

R Burman

Mangawhai Heads.




Time for positive solutions

I really wrote this to clear my head of it all! I might add, I have only lived in the Kaipara since 2006, but I have always taken an interest in my environs, wherever they were.

Human nature at its far-from-best was evident this morning (commissioners meeting, Mangawhai, February 18) – incredibly bad manners. If the 70 percent who continually talked and shouted had put their hands over their mouths, then the quiet 30 percent may have been able to hear the speakers. 

The commissioners had invited all of us to their ‘house’ so the least we should do is behave as invited guests and listen to what they had to say. Several times I wished I had a roll of masking tape in my bag so I could have offered a suitable length to a few people. I had not before seen the ‘vocalists’ though familiar enough with their names via the press and thought it a shame that so much negative energy was being expended instead of going into some positive solutions. 

A lot of people have shouted, many have complained, some have stopped paying rates, some were shouting their own opinions, others asking unanswerable on-the-spot questions of the commissioners, many wanted their money back – but where were the carefully thought out suggestions from the ‘shouters’ for the ways forward? The only positive comment appeared to be from a ratepayer near the end of the meeting who commended what the commissioners have managed to achieve in their 5-plus months in office.

Given the negativity vocalised at the meeting, it’s surprising they’ve managed to achieve anything; and if the KDC situation has taken a minimum of four and maybe up to about twenty years to develop, it is unlikely to take five minutes to fix. The commissioners showed admirable patience and restraint with the shouting crowd. They are doing their best to sort out the mess and every ratepayer should be supporting them in their unenviable job in whatever way they can.  

While I had a smidgeon of sympathy with the rate strikers when this uproar started back last year or whenever it was, they’ve now made their point very clear, so should pay up, as the majority of us do. My own rates have gone up about 58-point-something percent, but I pay. However, this morning’s meeting has given me cause to think about some positives. 

So I walked out of the meeting with the ‘no use crying over spilt milk’ theme in my head. I asked the question of a man I didn’t know as we walked up the driveway afterwards. He blustered about the past we’d all just heard, so once again I said “It’s done, it’s gone, it’s history; now what are you going to do to improve it?” He harrumphed again a bit then said he didn’t know. I said I thought we all should take some responsibility for letting things slide as they did and we all should do more about investigating people who stand up for election and make sure we choose candidates who have the proven abilities to do the job.  


Jan Vaudrey


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