Roads first

February 24's Bay of Plenty Times lead article carried a dire warning from a property developer that Tauranga will run out of land unless the council increases the speed of releasing land for development.
I would like to commend Mayor Brownless on his accurate response that "developers were profit-driven and the council had bigger considerations . . . How many people really want thousands more living here until we get the roads right?" Exactly correct.
I suspect a majority of the 10,000 residents of Welcome Bay agree and fully expect that not one single sod of additional land will be released in Welcome Bay for development until our suburb's morning and afternoon gridlock is solved.
I am sure this applies to many other areas of our city.
Whilst growth is generally a good thing, rampant, unfettered and unplanned growth is not.
M Pugh
Welcome Bay

Train solution

It was recently announced that steps were being considered for a park and ride station at Baypark. In part, this is a logical answer to the traffic congestion but only goes partway to a long-term solution.
Opposite Baypark there is vacant land and a railway line. A park and ride railway station could be built there. This line is used by goods trains but surely a solution could be found to allow commuter trains, with sidings to accommodate opposite traffic, until it is double tracked. Also, as an interim step, goods trains could be precluded at peak hours. The rail line is not only a much shorter route than the roads and goes right into the city centre. A similar rail network could be introduced for the western suburbs and the Mount. Buses are not the answer as they still encounter and add to the traffic congestion. Not an efficient and quick means of transport. In Wellington, with limited arterial routes similar to Tauranga, commuting by rail is predominant. Travel by rail is the only long-term solution for a rapidly growing city. It's time to think outside the square and invest in the only future commuting solution.
Graham Puckey

Wrong emphasis

Can anyone tell me why there is such an emphasis on persons who have a few drops of Maori blood running through their veins? This was brought to my attention, once again, in the Bay of Plenty Times (Nation, February 28) stating the new [National] leader is three-sixteenths Maori and [Paula] Bennett's grandmother was half Maori and neither have used their Maori heritage to rise through the ranks.
I am half Welsh but the few times I have done anything of note I have not been written up as fifty percent Welsh.
I grew up in a community where there was about equal Maori and Pakeha. We all got on well. We schooled together, worked together and inter-married and they were days when we were rightly known as one people.
Gwyneth Jones

Not separatism

The comments by Mike Lally (Letters, March 1) about Maori electoral wards are unconvincing. The claim that Maori wards could funnel from the public pie into one tribe or circle has no credible support. The claim that fair-minded Kiwis have no use for race-based privileges or separatism does not apply to Maori wards. Voters on the Maori electoral roll vote in a Maori ward and those on the general roll vote in a general ward. Neither roll is more privileged. Separatism would be Maori wanting their own council with their own funding, which nobody wants. So Maori wards are not privileged or separatism. The claim that Maori wards are divisive does not make sense. The present electoral system is biased in favour of Pakeha candidates, so that we have no Maori councillors. Having Maori councillors would be inclusive, not divisive. Fair-minded Kiwis surely accept that the Maori community deserves a fair go and that opponents of Maori wards have still not produced anything credible to support their objections.
Peter Dey
Welcome Bay