Letters to the Editor
August 14, 2018
Yesterday my husband and I travelled from Whangarei to see the whales on Ripiro Beach. After a longer than anticipated walk from the Baylys beach entrance, my elderly husband felt lightheaded and collapsed. The people who were gathered around to see and help the whales responded immediately and gave him wonderful caring assistance.
Thank you so much from us both — to the medical people who took over, to the people who offered drinks, sweets, even hot soup, shelter from the rain shower that passed over us at the time, blankets, etc.
Thank you too, to the young woman who stood by me and gently comforted me by rubbing my back. I did not thank you as I would have liked to when we left in the ambulance so hope this reaches at least some of the wonderful people of your area.
My husband has recovered totally this morning, apart from stiffness in his legs after the long walk, so thank you all so much for your kindnesses.
Briar and Des MacDonald
August 7, 2018
Fourth Estate vs Fifth Estate
The price of liberty is eternal vigilance.
Since the petition on the New Zealand Parliament website asking that Wikileaks' founder, Julian Assange, be granted political asylum in New Zealand was launched on July 5 2018, our media ‘the fourth estate', have remained suspiciously reluctant to give any oxygen to the story of their colleague in the fifth estate's plight.
The United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention concluded that Julian Assange has been subject to arbitrary detention since December 7 2010. True democracy is predicated on the freedom of journalists to investigate without fear of reprisal. In the absence of that, we are doomed to descend into an ever-darkening future.
The case of Julian Assange and the future of Wikileaks is pivotal. That you are reading this at all shows that there may be a glimmer of hope. The petition is open until August 7 2018.
Alan William Preston
June 19, 2018
To the editor,
At this stage we have a progressive government, offering a generous regional development fund. Also, Kiwirail has new management and just reopened the line to Gisborne.
This is a golden opportunity for us to get a railway line from Dargaville to Marsden Point. This could carry freight and save heaps on road maintenance. Also, it would open up the possibility of a regular tourist train from Auckland to Dargaville. Tourists could stay a few days here and make day trips to local sights and also to Paihia, Matapouri Bay, Hundertwasser etc by minibus.
Dargaville could then become the gateway to the north. Maybe tourists could go back by boat via Helensville, then train to Auckland. This idea would appeal more as the roads out of Auckland become more dangerous and congested.
May 22, 2018
In the wake of Kaipara District Council organising insipid ‘smart' street lighting in the district — not having the decency to even ask for our opinion. Picture in your mind a Nubian miner down an unlit coal mine at midnight — then take a stroll around the Pahi Beach camping ground, public carpark, hall and foreshore after dark.
Beware of banging your shins on the BBQ tables hiding in the Stygian darkness. Apart from the obvious problem for camp visitors — many international tourists — personal security in what is a popular public area has gone out the window. It will be a brave local walking out here after dark. The public lighting at Whakapirau wharf has also virtually vanished.
From time to time, we ratepayers are told KDC is ready to listen to any complaints.
I suggest council then prepares for an avalanche of protests.
The Pahi Reserve Society has installed an expensive CCTV camera as a security measure. The lack of lighting no doubt will prevent the success of the venture.
Please let this not happen. Just give us our lights back before the cost of candles skyrockets!
Smart lights? Not a smart idea in a public reserve! Edison will be turning in his grave!
Ralph Williams — Pahi
Council is replacing its street lights with LED luminaires. This project receives an 85% subsidy from the NZ Transport Agency, and will result in significant operational savings due to reduced power consumption, and also less maintenance costs as the LED luminaires last much longer than the lights being replaced.
This also results in health and safety benefits as maintenance crews don't have to work at heights as often.
The LED luminaires have less light pollution, i.e. the light is more focussed, and as a result, there is less light spillage. This is usually well received by the adjacent homeowners in residential areas. In this instance, however, it appears that the light from the streetlight also ‘spilled' to provide some residual lighting to the adjacent reserve areas.
A council officer has spoken with Mr Williams and confirmed that we will ask our lighting consultant to investigate options to provide a luminaire that will provide a greater coverage area at this location. I'm hopeful that this will address Mr Williams' concerns.
Curt Martin, general manager Infrastructure
April 17, 2018
I have just read your article in the Lifestyler (February 27) ‘Reminder to Dog Owners.'
How many irresponsible dog owners will read it? I don't feel Kaipara District Council is carrying out the legal requirements of the Dog Control Act 1996. Dargaville has far too many wandering and barking dogs who do not have a collar or lead.
Many cat owners, including myself and my neighbour, have had their loved pet killed by wandering dogs. We have no hope of knowing which dog did this as it happens at night time.
I have been ringing Armourguard about the three barking dogs next door for over three years and they are still at it (barking frequently). One night I waited two hours and two phone calls for an officer to arrive. He agreed the barking was excessive. Mostly, I don't know if an officer has come or not, as they don't get back to me.
How would the mayor and councillors like to be kept awake for three hours by dogs barking close to the boundary of their property.
It's time the KDC had a real blitz, and picked up wandering dogs and came down hard on irresponsible owners; instead of creating more positions in their all ready excessive office staff.
April 3, 2018
Te Kopuru ratepayers would like a meeting, with the time put in the Lifestyler, asap to explain why our targeted wastewater rates have continued to rise as well as council costs, after it was found to be revenue gathering, and the return of $80,000 to our waste water scheme taken over two years. Since then the rate has continued to rise and cost also, yet the service has deteriorated. Our waste water system is not a revenue source for Council.
Council has, a number of times previously, met with interested members of the Te Kopuru community to discuss the scheme's accounts, history and issues in detail. The service has not deteriorated. In an effort to be open and transparent the Te Kopuru Wastewater Scheme's accounts are available to anyone on request. Council has recently held a Long Term Plan open day session in Te Kopuru. Council is taking feedback on its proposed plan until April 5, 2018 at 4.30pm, and there are number of avenues people can offer that feedback, including signaling they would like to talk to council at a public hearing in support of a submission to the Long Term Plan.
Peter Tynan, Kaipara District Council chief executive
April 3, 2018
We are constantly informed by the media of the pollution worldwide by plastic bags and containers.
It is agreed by most this is a very damaging pollutant, but the biggest criminal of all is the manufacturer of this material. Why can this material not be redesigned to compost and break down into a more acceptable form with today's knowledge and technology? This must be possible, there has to be a sensible answer.
J C Boyle
February 7, 2018
As the Kaipara mayoral by-election is underway, a number of letters to the Editor have been received in support of individual candidates.
Our editorial policy is to only allow personal candidate publicity and we are unable to publish individual voter endorsements.
November 7, 2017
In response to the ‘Dangerous Trees' letter to the editor.
After receiving communications about the Norfolk Pines of Pahi, council staff contracted ArborLab to assess two Norfolk Pines and a Moreton Bay Fig.
ArborLab is a qualified organisation that offers a wide range of arboreal services and produced a report on safety and continued maintenance of the trees.
The report found:
1. The Easternmost Norfolk Pine is listed within the New Zealand Notable Tree Register and has the seventh largest girth of all Norfolk Island Pines listed in the register. As an aside, New Zealand is home to some of the largest Norfolk Island Pines in the world, so there is a possibility this tree could be or become a part of an international register.
2. Over the last number of tree health assessments, the overall health of the Norfolk Pine trees has continued to climb, and, at time of the report, the tree was considered to be of average to fair health.
Council will be undertaking at 24 month rotation on further health and risk assessments to ensure the ongoing well-being of the trees at Pahi.
The Norfolk Pines are young and will continue to grow to add to the amenity of the Pahi Reserve.
Darlene Lang Gent
Community and Parks Manager
October 24, 2017
At the Pahi camping ground are two very tall Norfolk Island pine trees towering over a children's play area and caravan sites.
Heavy branches have broken off at irregular intervals, sometimes falling, sometimes caught up in the top portion of the tree.
Someone has persuaded those in authority to declare them as ‘Trees of Note'.
It appears that the KDC is hiding behind this edict in order to avoid the cost of removing them.
Let's be realistic about this. They are dying. They are past their use by date.
Dead branches can be seen hanging like the Sword of Damocles waiting the arrival of an unsuspecting child to play underneath.
Last time it took over a month after a dead branch was reported for an arborist to arrive.
We were invited recently to attend a meeting at the Pahi Hall so the mayor could listen to suggestions.
He seemed to be a nice sort of fellow but I could not see him interested in our problem when he has such little time left in office as KDC is once more playing musical chairs.
Trees of Note?
I shudder to think what could happen.
October 17, 2017
To the mayor
There is clearly something very much amiss in the State of Kaipara.
We cannot hold a CEO for more than a few months and now we cannot hold on to a duly elected Mayor for little more than a year.
Presumably Mr Gent has good reasons for his resignation although he won't disclose them.
At the very least he should be offering his humble apologies to ratepayers, but I haven't noted that yet. But we seem to be doing very well in some areas.
Highest paying local authority with 20 per cent of staff paid in excess of $100k per annum, goodness knows why, this is hardly Fonterra; largest debt burden per ratepayer; some of the highest rates in all of New Zealand. And not a great deal to show for it.
I sincerely hope that some capable, determined, community minded people put their names forward for the February mayoral election. The Kaipara District is overdue for competent leadership and a commitment to change for the better.
Eric Smitton (Ratepayer)
October 17, 2017
The race for the logs starts after midnight. The idea is to go as fast as possible, and to use the engine brakes as much as possible. The more people woken up, the better. Especially in Jervois Street. The winner of the ‘loudest exhaust' is the truck with the limish (lime) green, flat front cab. Second is the red and gold flat front Kenworth.
September 5, 2017
The Cancer Society Northland would like to thank the Kaipara Community for their support of Daffodil Day. The money raised will be used to fund research into better ways to detect, treat and reduce all types of cancers.
They will also fund a range of support services, information booklets and health promotion activities, as well as free accommodation for patients at Domain Lodge in Auckland. We would like to take this opportunity to recognise this year's volunteer coordinators Judy Dysart of Dargaville and Thelma Bagnell from the ANZ Dargaville who did a fantastic job with a raffle as well as the street appeal. And in Paparoa and Maungaturoto, Alistair Banks and the Lions. It takes a team of people to make this happen and we say thank you to all those involved.
Cancer Society Northland
June 27, 2017
It is with regret that we have to respond to a letter to the editor that was published by the Lifestyler on June 21, in regards to recycling in the Kaipara District.
We would just like to clarify and reassure ratepayers, that statements made in that letter, that Kaipara Refuse does not recycle anything but two items and the rest goes to landfill is totally incorrect.
Anybody that has been to our Ruawai Depot to see the process that occurs once the 14 different categories of recycling have been sorted will know this is incorrect.
The recycling gets sorted, baled and transported to Auckland to our various markets. The recycling market is very volatile and the $2 per car fee introduced at the Awakino Road Transfer Station is to help with the costs involved for the above process. We at Kaipara Refuse take pride and work very hard to provide a great recycling service for the Kaipara District ratepayers, and invite them to come and look at the recycling process at our Ruawai Depot, check out our webpage kaipararefuse.co.nz, or give us a call on 09 439 2146.
The Kaipara Refuse Team
June 27, 2017
The run walk held in Dargaville recently was a wonderful success. The Dargaville vets as the major sponsor of this Sport Northland event wanted to change the route so the Dargaville township could benefit from the many visitors into our town. With 600 competitors and probable 200 supporters it was a great opportunity for our town. The food businesses that opened did a roaring trade. Unfortunately most of the other businesses decided to remain closed. This was a huge opportunity missed by our main street businesses. I believe strongly that it is important to support our local businesses but they must earn our support. Unfortunately they did not take the opportunity to open to a large audience of mostly outsiders. I hope next year they will.
In closing I wish to say that this is my personal view not necessarily that of Sport Northland
Regards, Chris Biddles
June 20, 2017
I note with great cynicism, that Kaipara Refuse has finally gotten its way and is to charge ratepayers $2 for their recycling. This fee was to be started in January, but because some local and not so local residents who take their recycling to the Dargaville Transfer Station were upset, this move was put on hold.
I sent an email to the mayor Mr Greg Gent at the time requesting clarification of the ability of the contractor to arbitrarily place a fee on recycling. I received an answer to say that ‘the council was reviewing its options'.
Just wondering how many ratepayers realise that the only items of recyclable plastics that are actually recycled are clear milk bottles and ice cream containers. All other recyclable plastics dealt with by Kaipara Refuse, go directly to landfill. So much for environmental sustainability.
Concerned local (Name and address supplied)
May 9, 2017
The Northern Wairoa Memorial RSA wish to thank wholeheartedly the people of Dargaville and outlying area for their most generous donations to our Poppy Day collection. This money will go exclusively to the welfare fund for the benefit of our Returned Services people in need of assistance. The total amount collected was $6,114. Well done!
May 2, 2017
Mr Gent told your paper that he and Peter Wethey only stood on the basis of an undertaking from the minister that the government would look after the litigation.
Other candidates in that same election received no such comforting words from the government. Many of your readers won't care about that, but alarm bells might ring about government interference in what are supposed to be independent elections. Mr Gent says that he wants no part of the litigation, but he thinks it's OK for the ratepayers to pay for it.
Do we need another election, on a level playing field? The government can't 'help' Mr Gent. It was precisely because it set up Winder's engagement illegally that he had to be terminated. Putting in another Crown Manager won't fix that.
In fact, Mr Gent did not tell the Lifestyler of any ‘undertaking from the minister that government would look after litigation'. Mr Winder was appointed as Crown Manager three months before the local body elections. Thus all candidates would have been aware of the appointment and its purpose.