I’m guessing that by the time many of you read this, the latest lockdown drama will have died right down. At least that’s what I hope. But it’s been another sobering reminder that our safety and freedom can be whisked away at a moment’s notice.
While our last community Covid scare by a Bream Bay resident was dealt with quickly, calmy, sensibly – mostly due to their use of the tracer app – this latest episode had an extra dimension to it. For the first time we were dealing with a UK strain of the virus. For everyone, especially the slightly paranoid, that means trouble – an enemy we haven’t dealt with before in hosts that used little or no contact tracing as they went about their daily lives. Oops.
But nothing about the government response surprised me. The change of Covid status for the country was swift, and protocols that we are all familiar with by now clicked into gear. What’s important to remember is that a change in our alert levels affects individuals and businesses differently, and no system will ever be able to satisfy everyone and every situation. So what’s my approach? Behind the facade of life at any alert level are complex laws, politics and machinations that I could never hope to fully understand, and I never expect the system to work without issues all the time, so in that way I’m more able to forgive foibles, shortcomings, mistakes. There are many people out there who I wish would take the same approach.
Bottom line is, I’m growing fonder of the staid, practical approach by Michael Baker, who says it’s simply a better idea to stop the virus from coming in, rather than having to deal with it once it gets into the community. That’s it in a nutshell.
There’s no doubt checkpoint placement around Kaipara borders were a cock-up this time, leaving Mangawhai businesses and residents confused over what alert level they actually were. But I applaud the efforts of rain-soaked Kaipara mayor Jason Smith for dealing with the issue at the coal face, and his success at having checkpoints put back to those previously used.
There is little that can resist change – a maxim that without doubt applies to Mangawhai. Like the fabled King Canute, locals raise their arms and command the encroaching tide of commerce and development to stop, yet it just continues to creep ever slowly forward.
Make no mistake, Mangawhai is under attack by big business, on land, and from the sea, and the motive is big money. Add, subtract, multiply and divide, but no matter the equation, the common denominator is always money.
Long stretches of sandy coastline are the jewel in the crown of Northland and Auckland’s eastern seaboard, but now, thanks to off-shore sand mining we could be heading towards our next big ecological disaster.
Sand mining has been a bone of contention for local campaigner Ken Rayward for some time. He, along with many other local groups and individuals, has brought the contentious practice out of the shade and directly into the bright sunlight. A little research shows, alarmingly, that sand is such a vital commodity worldwide it’s now the most widely used natural resource on the planet after fresh water. It’s becoming scarce, which means it’s valuable. Our coastline has lots of it. And others want it. Thing is, once it’s gone, it’s gone. And the consequences are the erosion of beaches, coastline, habitats right on our doorstep.
Anti-sand mining groups are right now fighting the application of mining consents along the coast. I urge you to draw your own line in the sand, and say ‘No’ to sand mining.