Skip to main content

Letters to the Editor

Landslides, not slips – the best solution, not a quick fix

I don’t call it a slip …makes it sound small or a drop out makes it sound like someone who has given up University before the end of their course.

The Landslide that has taken away SH25A.Yes you could say it’s a lifeline that has been severed.

Or: It’s just only another 45 minute of beautiful scenic driving around the Peninsula or over the 309 ….. but you need the right vehicle.

Slow down take your time enjoy. Certainly not suitable for anything long heavy or articulated. Ambulance or Fire truck in a hurry – not good.

Other Options: I don’t hear any talk of freight by boat or plane.

Both possible but how economic? That’s up to the residents and business people of Whiti.

The DC3 that flies to Whitianga from Ardmore could fly freight rather than tourists and private parties. Ardmore is a bit out of the way but if hooked up with a low cost hire car company or Uber once or twice a week – good for freight and mixed with passenger alternative ?

Fixing the SH25A: The worst thing I believe to have happen would be the cheapest or the quickest solution. Was anyone shocked to see that the SH25A seemed to be built on sand and how thin the tar seal was? It’s lasted well but I’m kind of relieved no one was killed. Let’s hope a more robust replacement is found.

Suggestion: I would strongly suggest that the people tasked with investigating and deciding on the “Fix” take a look at the Mont Blanc and Frejus Tunnels they go through the Mountains.

Also, much more recently the Conway Estuary Tunnel in North Wales, a four lane, two-way tunnel in a concrete tube sunk into the seabed from one side of a large tidal estuary to the other.

Guess what? All of the interested parties – farmers, sailors, bird watchers, fishermen, environmentalists, historians, transport agencies, emergency services and politicians all worked together to agree on a solution and not just criticize and think selfishly. Public consultation meetings were held on a regular basis at all stages to keep people informed.

A Visitors Centre was also built so the plans and models of the construction could be visited by school kids and university students from all over the world. They told people how and who had solved all the problems.

Closer to home is the tunnel that the train got through during the Kaikoura Earthquake and the tunnel through the Kaimais. A tunnel would take longer to plan and logistically to build, but it could be the best long-term solution. If multi millions of New Zealand tax dollars are going to be spent, let’s have them spent wisely.

Michelle Rhodes,

Whitianga

 

I hope I’m wrong

Greetings. I have read The Informer since it first started. I look forward to being informed about what’s happening in our community and district. I enjoy reading about different personalities, different ideas.

But – Are we going to be subjected, each week, to the blatant biased ranting of your Guest Editor, Trevor Ammundsen?

I found his Editorial this week offensive. It was neither informative nor amusing.

I am seriously beginning to doubt the political neutrality of The Informer.

I hope I’m wrong.

Kia Ora

Trish Ganley

Whitianga

 

Noise Restrictions – small planes

Hey, I’m interested to know what noise restrictions are applied to local, or any airplanes that fly over town every day. I don’t hear the Barrier airline taking off or landing and I believe that is a decent size plane. However, there seems to be some local planes that every time they take off , basically are way too loud. This isn’t a one off gripe, it’s been going on for ages. When there’s a couple of older war planes every now and then, we can handle it. It’s just the incessant racket the small ones make that made me wonder if there are any noise restrictions.

Regards,

Mark Noble

Whitianga

 

Cruelty

It is with great sadness that I see the present generation of enviro-minders are spreading a poison called “double-tap”.

This cocktail of poisons is inhumane. When a kill trap for rats or possums is assessed for how cruel it is, death must occur after no more than ten minutes. If a kill trap takes longer than ten minutes for the victim to die the trap is not permitted to be used in the wild. ‘Double tap’ takes much longer to kill its victim than ten minutes and must therefore be categorised as inhumane or cruel. How come NZ allows such cruelty to be spread through our environment?

The advertising tells us double tap is “faster acting and more humane”. Then it tells us that the ‘average time to death for possums is 6 days and for rats 5 days’. They slowly bleed to death. The same fate awaits all the creatures, birds, animals, and insects which eat the poisoned rats and possums.

It takes extreme cruelty to knowingly spread an inhumane poison like Double Tap. Are these people unaware of what they are doing or has extreme cruelty now become a standard requirement for members of the growing number of enviro-groups on our Coromandel Peninsula?

John Veysey

Whitianga

 

Controlled development – thank you Hoppers

It was rather fortuitous when visiting Pauanui some two years ago , my wife and I called in at their Information Centre. They had a book for sale called Pauanui – a Vision Achieved.” We purchased the book and I have just finished reading it. I regret not doing so earlier. Without question it is an outstanding publication about the Hopper family, a development company who came from Auckland and, with innovative vision and hard work, became the best development company in New Zealand.

We are so lucky in Mercury Bay that Hoppers came to Whitianga in 2000 with their Waterways concept that was built essentially on a flood plain. I will not go on to elaborate on the book’s contents except to say that the Pauanui vision had all the ingredients of challenges faced in developing an isolated region. Cyclone Gabrielle has shown us the vulnerability of living and working in an isolated region, but Hoppers have shown that with controlled development, what can be achieved.

I will end this letter with a paragraph that shows that climate changes are not new on the peninsula.

More Storms: In September 1976, another major storm caused a large portion of the Kopu-Hikuai Road just over the divide on the Thames side to slip completely away. It took many weeks for the Ministry of Works to fill the gully and rebuild the road. It wasn’t just Pauanui that was affected but all of the east coast, from Whangamata to Whitianga.

We are fortunate to live on the Coromandel Peninsula and especially in Mercury Bay and with a positive attitude, can look forward to the future.

Noel S Hewlett

Whitianga

 

Targeting the environment – Waterways

In response to 14 January Letter to the Editor

I have lived on the Coromandel since I was 15 months old, and have witnessed first-hand, the changes to our local environment. Two issues in particular, the Forestry Industry and the Waterways development, have had an enormous impact on Mercury Bay, the estuary, and surrounding coastal districts, as these commercial ventures do, wherever they are.

The writer of the letter Do Environmentalists benefit the Environment? (Page 23, dated 17 January, 2023) is confused. An “environmentalist” is a person who advocates for, or who is concerned about, protecting the environment; not a council, a business, or any kind of entity that has the power to make political decisions, as the writer implies.

An ‘environmentalist’ wouldn’t agree to the waterways development in its current form. The USA and Australia have stopped many of these developments because they have had too much of a negative impact on the environment. They are happening here too – in and out of the ocean. We have delicate marine ecosystems. Dredging, excess rain water run-off, and the changing estuarine (and ocean) saline levels are only a few examples of what affects the ecosystems of air and sea creatures in and around the bay. But the waterways can’t be called an ecosystem. The canals are barren, concrete-walled canyons, with mowed grass embankments only fit to display the tide-mark of storm surges, full moons and ‘Spring’ tides. If there was life under that water, we would see life above and around it, but we don’t! And, although the development has been going on for decades, there is still nothing to encourage nature or wildlife at all.

Planting needs to be done along all the new kerb- and canal-sides of the Waterways. It also needs to be diverse. Otherwise, it’s like asking the Tuis to eat only weetbix for the rest of their days. They won’t. We had a wide range of birds here once, but now it’s hard to even see a tui, let alone a kereru. Both used to be common. If farmers are to fence and commit to riparian planting, then why can’t Environment Waikato ensure that all those responsible for estuarine areas have a minimum three metre deep corridor for native wildlife to prosper (the ‘Queen’s Chain’) around the water catchment area.

Environmentalists would not agree to further narrowing the second fastest moving waterway in New Zealand either. This is the Whitianga estuary mouth. Five (local) major rivers feed into the estuary: Te Kauanga (Lake Hamilton), Kopawai, Waiwawa (Coroglen), Ounuora (Mill Creek), Whangamaroro (Kaimarama/309) Rivers and their tributaries. With climate change, these rivers will be required to carry even greater volumes of water out to sea (via the reef that has built up in the Bay thanks to the Waterways development). But the expansion of Whitianga Marina was agreed to and the channel has narrowed, making the water speed through the gap even faster. Then it whips round the bay, eating away at the Boating Club and other residential properties. Everything in life is cause and effect. What will the effects of this be?

The Waterways and Forestry are contributing more Co2 when the planet needs less!

Greta Thunberg said we need to take action NOW! TCDC needs to take action NOW!

The following site was very helpful, and well worth looking up… Pros and cons of Canal Estates (aka waterways developments):

https://www.environmentguide.org.nz/issues/coastal/im:3037/im:3042

Kaitiaki of our whenua,

Neera Giri

Whitianga

 

Teachers’ Strike

So the teachers are striking. What a deterioration of a trade union that was once the strongest. A victim of Rogernomics where management is in the same group/ union as the workers. That is, the NZEI, and management has its own organisation as well.

Who gains an advantage in a teachers strike besides pupils? Is someone pulling the strings of the workers? Do teachers know the details of negotiations in their name with the government? Does this have anything to do with the teacher shortage?

The NZEI could be called racist as it has separate rules for Maori. Its strength is that membership is voluntary and the majority of teachers have joined although their involvement is generally wanting.

I hope the result of the strike clear to all as it involves many others besides the teachers. Such a strong trade union should have better negotiators.

Peter H Wood

Whitianga

 

Time for Ocean Highway

The closure of SH25A and other roads to all vehicles is clearly an added cost for all those connected to, and living in, the Coromandel. Many other roads were also damaged and require ongoing repairs. This is imposing a huge cost which will affect us all for the foreseeable future.

However, there is another more resilient and less costly way of connecting which has far less risk and is generally reliable.

This is to utilize the “Ocean Highway” which is right on our doorstep!

It was significantly utilized in the past throughout the country by our forefathers.

For example, when my father decided to build on the sections he purchased at Ferry Landing in 1950, all building material was delivered by boat; namely the ‘Lady Jocelyn’, a relatively small ocean going vessel built for purpose. My father was able to order material from Auckland warehouse one day, and the warehouse would deliver it to the Auckland wharf. The “Jocelyn” would load and transport it to Mercury Bay overnight and offload it at Ferry Landing wharf the next morning! A service that should be replicated.

There are many other places around the coast lines where the ocean highway was utilised in preference tothe roads.

The ‘Lady Jocelyn’ delivered butter made at the Mercury Bay Factory to Auckland during season and made delivery calls to many other places, eg Tairua (when the tide was high), and various islands in the Hauraki Gulf.

Given that our country consists of two long, relatively thin islands, it surely makes sense to utilise the “ocean highway” more for transporting heavy goods. This would save billions of dollars as roads will last longer and cost less.

Bob Nicholls

Ferry Landing

 

Costs of the whale

The Tale of the Whale is not finished yet. Who paid for the whole exercise?

This question has been put to both Joe Davis on behalf of Ngati Hei and Nick Kelly our DOC Coromandel Operations Manager on more than one occasion. We expect an answer. There were only two parties involved in this exercise and one, or both of them, had to pay the significant costs incurred. There are deep concerns that these costs may have been paid by residents and ratepayers. This concern is creating disharmony and needs to be laid to rest, if it can be. The boat chartered to tow the whale to the Marae end of Simpsons Beach, 3 diggers on the beach in a vain attempt to drag it out of the sea and further up the beach, and then a second time to rebury it, all adds up to thousands of dollars. We would like a straight answer. Transparency and the truth here would be of great value ongoing relationships. Nick Kelly (DOC) advised that he had to apply to the Official Information Act to get an answer to this question. I find this hard to understand. As one of the main drivers behind the exercise, one would expect DOC to have pretty precise knowledge of the costs involved and DOC is not a private company. Another thing DOC stated in the article in The Informer was that they were conducting research as to why the whale had died. When was the research conducted and what conclusions were reached?

I am asking the Informer Editor to please pick up on this request and get an answer for the people of Wharekaho/Whitianga. If there is nothing untoward, there should be no problem in receiving an answer.

Note: Residents of Simpsons Beach offer grateful thanks to the Ngati Hei people who turned out on the morning of Thursday 16 Feb, to clean up the beach after a larger part of the decomposing whale was removed to Marae land – a sad and unpleasant outcome for them and for all of us. The whale had not been buried in a deep hole as stated and never had two metres of sand covering it.

Ady Cole-Ewen Simpsons Beach. Wharekaho

Caption: History Repeat: Has anyone been to museum and checked old photos of past storms? This one of Esk valley is an example. I’ve seen good ones of Whitianga on a bad day.
Dawn Nelmes, Whitianga.
 |  The Informer  | 

Landslides, not slips – the best solution, not a quick fix

I don’t call it a slip …makes it sound small or a drop out makes it sound like someone who has given up University before the end of their course.

The Landslide that has taken away SH25A.Yes you could say it’s a lifeline that has been severed.

Or: It’s just only another 45 minute of beautiful scenic driving around the Peninsula or over the 309 ….. but you need the right vehicle.

Slow down take your time enjoy. Certainly not suitable for anything long heavy or articulated. Ambulance or Fire truck in a hurry – not good.

Other Options: I don’t hear any talk of freight by boat or plane.

Both possible but how economic? That’s up to the residents and business people of Whiti.

The DC3 that flies to Whitianga from Ardmore could fly freight rather than tourists and private parties. Ardmore is a bit out of the way but if hooked up with a low cost hire car company or Uber once or twice a week – good for freight and mixed with passenger alternative ?

Fixing the SH25A: The worst thing I believe to have happen would be the cheapest or the quickest solution. Was anyone shocked to see that the SH25A seemed to be built on sand and how thin the tar seal was? It’s lasted well but I’m kind of relieved no one was killed. Let’s hope a more robust replacement is found.

Suggestion: I would strongly suggest that the people tasked with investigating and deciding on the “Fix” take a look at the Mont Blanc and Frejus Tunnels they go through the Mountains.

Also, much more recently the Conway Estuary Tunnel in North Wales, a four lane, two-way tunnel in a concrete tube sunk into the seabed from one side of a large tidal estuary to the other.

Guess what? All of the interested parties – farmers, sailors, bird watchers, fishermen, environmentalists, historians, transport agencies, emergency services and politicians all worked together to agree on a solution and not just criticize and think selfishly. Public consultation meetings were held on a regular basis at all stages to keep people informed.

A Visitors Centre was also built so the plans and models of the construction could be visited by school kids and university students from all over the world. They told people how and who had solved all the problems.

Closer to home is the tunnel that the train got through during the Kaikoura Earthquake and the tunnel through the Kaimais. A tunnel would take longer to plan and logistically to build, but it could be the best long-term solution. If multi millions of New Zealand tax dollars are going to be spent, let’s have them spent wisely.

Michelle Rhodes,

Whitianga

 

I hope I’m wrong

Greetings. I have read The Informer since it first started. I look forward to being informed about what’s happening in our community and district. I enjoy reading about different personalities, different ideas.

But – Are we going to be subjected, each week, to the blatant biased ranting of your Guest Editor, Trevor Ammundsen?

I found his Editorial this week offensive. It was neither informative nor amusing.

I am seriously beginning to doubt the political neutrality of The Informer.

I hope I’m wrong.

Kia Ora

Trish Ganley

Whitianga

 

Noise Restrictions – small planes

Hey, I’m interested to know what noise restrictions are applied to local, or any airplanes that fly over town every day. I don’t hear the Barrier airline taking off or landing and I believe that is a decent size plane. However, there seems to be some local planes that every time they take off , basically are way too loud. This isn’t a one off gripe, it’s been going on for ages. When there’s a couple of older war planes every now and then, we can handle it. It’s just the incessant racket the small ones make that made me wonder if there are any noise restrictions.

Regards,

Mark Noble

Whitianga

 

Cruelty

It is with great sadness that I see the present generation of enviro-minders are spreading a poison called “double-tap”.

This cocktail of poisons is inhumane. When a kill trap for rats or possums is assessed for how cruel it is, death must occur after no more than ten minutes. If a kill trap takes longer than ten minutes for the victim to die the trap is not permitted to be used in the wild. ‘Double tap’ takes much longer to kill its victim than ten minutes and must therefore be categorised as inhumane or cruel. How come NZ allows such cruelty to be spread through our environment?

The advertising tells us double tap is “faster acting and more humane”. Then it tells us that the ‘average time to death for possums is 6 days and for rats 5 days’. They slowly bleed to death. The same fate awaits all the creatures, birds, animals, and insects which eat the poisoned rats and possums.

It takes extreme cruelty to knowingly spread an inhumane poison like Double Tap. Are these people unaware of what they are doing or has extreme cruelty now become a standard requirement for members of the growing number of enviro-groups on our Coromandel Peninsula?

John Veysey

Whitianga

 

Controlled development – thank you Hoppers

It was rather fortuitous when visiting Pauanui some two years ago , my wife and I called in at their Information Centre. They had a book for sale called Pauanui – a Vision Achieved.” We purchased the book and I have just finished reading it. I regret not doing so earlier. Without question it is an outstanding publication about the Hopper family, a development company who came from Auckland and, with innovative vision and hard work, became the best development company in New Zealand.

We are so lucky in Mercury Bay that Hoppers came to Whitianga in 2000 with their Waterways concept that was built essentially on a flood plain. I will not go on to elaborate on the book’s contents except to say that the Pauanui vision had all the ingredients of challenges faced in developing an isolated region. Cyclone Gabrielle has shown us the vulnerability of living and working in an isolated region, but Hoppers have shown that with controlled development, what can be achieved.

I will end this letter with a paragraph that shows that climate changes are not new on the peninsula.

More Storms: In September 1976, another major storm caused a large portion of the Kopu-Hikuai Road just over the divide on the Thames side to slip completely away. It took many weeks for the Ministry of Works to fill the gully and rebuild the road. It wasn’t just Pauanui that was affected but all of the east coast, from Whangamata to Whitianga.

We are fortunate to live on the Coromandel Peninsula and especially in Mercury Bay and with a positive attitude, can look forward to the future.

Noel S Hewlett

Whitianga

 

Targeting the environment – Waterways

In response to 14 January Letter to the Editor

I have lived on the Coromandel since I was 15 months old, and have witnessed first-hand, the changes to our local environment. Two issues in particular, the Forestry Industry and the Waterways development, have had an enormous impact on Mercury Bay, the estuary, and surrounding coastal districts, as these commercial ventures do, wherever they are.

The writer of the letter Do Environmentalists benefit the Environment? (Page 23, dated 17 January, 2023) is confused. An “environmentalist” is a person who advocates for, or who is concerned about, protecting the environment; not a council, a business, or any kind of entity that has the power to make political decisions, as the writer implies.

An ‘environmentalist’ wouldn’t agree to the waterways development in its current form. The USA and Australia have stopped many of these developments because they have had too much of a negative impact on the environment. They are happening here too – in and out of the ocean. We have delicate marine ecosystems. Dredging, excess rain water run-off, and the changing estuarine (and ocean) saline levels are only a few examples of what affects the ecosystems of air and sea creatures in and around the bay. But the waterways can’t be called an ecosystem. The canals are barren, concrete-walled canyons, with mowed grass embankments only fit to display the tide-mark of storm surges, full moons and ‘Spring’ tides. If there was life under that water, we would see life above and around it, but we don’t! And, although the development has been going on for decades, there is still nothing to encourage nature or wildlife at all.

Planting needs to be done along all the new kerb- and canal-sides of the Waterways. It also needs to be diverse. Otherwise, it’s like asking the Tuis to eat only weetbix for the rest of their days. They won’t. We had a wide range of birds here once, but now it’s hard to even see a tui, let alone a kereru. Both used to be common. If farmers are to fence and commit to riparian planting, then why can’t Environment Waikato ensure that all those responsible for estuarine areas have a minimum three metre deep corridor for native wildlife to prosper (the ‘Queen’s Chain’) around the water catchment area.

Environmentalists would not agree to further narrowing the second fastest moving waterway in New Zealand either. This is the Whitianga estuary mouth. Five (local) major rivers feed into the estuary: Te Kauanga (Lake Hamilton), Kopawai, Waiwawa (Coroglen), Ounuora (Mill Creek), Whangamaroro (Kaimarama/309) Rivers and their tributaries. With climate change, these rivers will be required to carry even greater volumes of water out to sea (via the reef that has built up in the Bay thanks to the Waterways development). But the expansion of Whitianga Marina was agreed to and the channel has narrowed, making the water speed through the gap even faster. Then it whips round the bay, eating away at the Boating Club and other residential properties. Everything in life is cause and effect. What will the effects of this be?

The Waterways and Forestry are contributing more Co2 when the planet needs less!

Greta Thunberg said we need to take action NOW! TCDC needs to take action NOW!

The following site was very helpful, and well worth looking up… Pros and cons of Canal Estates (aka waterways developments):

https://www.environmentguide.org.nz/issues/coastal/im:3037/im:3042

Kaitiaki of our whenua,

Neera Giri

Whitianga

 

Teachers’ Strike

So the teachers are striking. What a deterioration of a trade union that was once the strongest. A victim of Rogernomics where management is in the same group/ union as the workers. That is, the NZEI, and management has its own organisation as well.

Who gains an advantage in a teachers strike besides pupils? Is someone pulling the strings of the workers? Do teachers know the details of negotiations in their name with the government? Does this have anything to do with the teacher shortage?

The NZEI could be called racist as it has separate rules for Maori. Its strength is that membership is voluntary and the majority of teachers have joined although their involvement is generally wanting.

I hope the result of the strike clear to all as it involves many others besides the teachers. Such a strong trade union should have better negotiators.

Peter H Wood

Whitianga

 

Time for Ocean Highway

The closure of SH25A and other roads to all vehicles is clearly an added cost for all those connected to, and living in, the Coromandel. Many other roads were also damaged and require ongoing repairs. This is imposing a huge cost which will affect us all for the foreseeable future.

However, there is another more resilient and less costly way of connecting which has far less risk and is generally reliable.

This is to utilize the “Ocean Highway” which is right on our doorstep!

It was significantly utilized in the past throughout the country by our forefathers.

For example, when my father decided to build on the sections he purchased at Ferry Landing in 1950, all building material was delivered by boat; namely the ‘Lady Jocelyn’, a relatively small ocean going vessel built for purpose. My father was able to order material from Auckland warehouse one day, and the warehouse would deliver it to the Auckland wharf. The “Jocelyn” would load and transport it to Mercury Bay overnight and offload it at Ferry Landing wharf the next morning! A service that should be replicated.

There are many other places around the coast lines where the ocean highway was utilised in preference tothe roads.

The ‘Lady Jocelyn’ delivered butter made at the Mercury Bay Factory to Auckland during season and made delivery calls to many other places, eg Tairua (when the tide was high), and various islands in the Hauraki Gulf.

Given that our country consists of two long, relatively thin islands, it surely makes sense to utilise the “ocean highway” more for transporting heavy goods. This would save billions of dollars as roads will last longer and cost less.

Bob Nicholls

Ferry Landing

 

Costs of the whale

The Tale of the Whale is not finished yet. Who paid for the whole exercise?

This question has been put to both Joe Davis on behalf of Ngati Hei and Nick Kelly our DOC Coromandel Operations Manager on more than one occasion. We expect an answer. There were only two parties involved in this exercise and one, or both of them, had to pay the significant costs incurred. There are deep concerns that these costs may have been paid by residents and ratepayers. This concern is creating disharmony and needs to be laid to rest, if it can be. The boat chartered to tow the whale to the Marae end of Simpsons Beach, 3 diggers on the beach in a vain attempt to drag it out of the sea and further up the beach, and then a second time to rebury it, all adds up to thousands of dollars. We would like a straight answer. Transparency and the truth here would be of great value ongoing relationships. Nick Kelly (DOC) advised that he had to apply to the Official Information Act to get an answer to this question. I find this hard to understand. As one of the main drivers behind the exercise, one would expect DOC to have pretty precise knowledge of the costs involved and DOC is not a private company. Another thing DOC stated in the article in The Informer was that they were conducting research as to why the whale had died. When was the research conducted and what conclusions were reached?

I am asking the Informer Editor to please pick up on this request and get an answer for the people of Wharekaho/Whitianga. If there is nothing untoward, there should be no problem in receiving an answer.

Note: Residents of Simpsons Beach offer grateful thanks to the Ngati Hei people who turned out on the morning of Thursday 16 Feb, to clean up the beach after a larger part of the decomposing whale was removed to Marae land – a sad and unpleasant outcome for them and for all of us. The whale had not been buried in a deep hole as stated and never had two metres of sand covering it.

Ady Cole-Ewen Simpsons Beach. Wharekaho

Caption: History Repeat: Has anyone been to museum and checked old photos of past storms? This one of Esk valley is an example. I’ve seen good ones of Whitianga on a bad day.
Dawn Nelmes, Whitianga.