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Letters to the Editor



Sewage alarm bells
The Council is asking for feedback to their Draft Mangawhai Community Plan. Definitely a town plan has been overdue for many years.

Council’s draft shows very few interesting ideas and the feedback form is suggestive. The main investment (about 70 percent) is proposed for upgrading the wastewater treatment plant. It is not explained how to finance the $17.76m that shall be spent in the next 10 years to upgrade the Mangawhai sewage plant and it seemed to be taken granted that all ratepayers in the District will carry the whole risk. This should ring all alarm bells.

We should not stick to the past, but we should learn from the past. Only some years ago the building of the wastewater treatment plant for Mangawhai lead the whole District to a $60m debt. Still each ratepayer in the whole district pays annually $174 with his general rates for this debt, but the intended improvement of the harbour water quality failed.

We need to ask: Why? For me the reason is that the nutrient circle is poorly understood. Farming with heavy use of artificial fertiliser and pesticides results not only in nutrient-deficient food and degrading of the soil, but often more than 60 percent of the chemical input is washed off into our streams. On the other hand, we treat our human urine as waste, mix it with feaces and grey water to purify it costly, but inefficient. We can provide alternatives to this ecological nonsense. We can open step by step a new chapter of eco-sanitation. But those alternatives can’t develop with mandatory connection to the outmoded inefficient costly existing system that block modern solutions.

In any case the investment for upgrading and extending the existing system - needed for the new subdivisions - should be paid 100 % by the new property owners, plus $ 10,000 to join the existing system. In the feedback Form question no 4 the Council ask us how much we are willing to pay extra rates to manage the growth of our town and we are free to choose between $150 and $500 per annum. But I think we, the current population, should pay not one penny also when this would minimize a little bit the profit for the developer. What we need is a more innovative Town Plan showing good viable solutions for the future.

Christian Simon


War on poverty
It is about time Government looked at its core values. Instead of a “war on people” via the criminalisation of cannabis, it should be looking at a more beneficial and appropriate ‘war on poverty’.

It shows Government’s lack of concern with people’s wellbeing when it perpetuates the prison industry, setting police against the people with its inhumane ‘war on the people’. We all know that the prisons are filled with those in the lower socioeconomic group, many of whom have been in possession of cannabis, when those in the upper socioeconomic group can beat up a

policewoman such that she is permanently harmed, or a footballer permanently harms another whilst in a drunken condition, stay free, and without conviction.

We challenge Government to declare a ‘war on poverty’. It would go a long way to achieving that by re-legalising cannabis – a plant that is acknowledged by leading University studies and many Governments, including the US, which holds a patent on cannabis, as having many health benefits.

Treasury conservatively estimated that this ‘war on the people – cannabis’ would free up $550m a year. Over the nine years that social inequity, including homelessness, has ballooned out, such that the OECD has placed NZ shamefully at the top in homelessness. This equates to $4.5b. We would argue that this would have provided all 45,000 homeless New Zealanders with a $100,000 deposit towards a safe, affordable home, reducing our shameful OECD statistics in homelessness, and greatly reduced poverty, and physical and mental health issues middle and low income workers have been subjected to.

To free up these funds, cannabis needs to be immediately re-legalised.

Beverley Aldridge/Kathleen Pattinson
Otamatea Grey Power

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