Protesters blockade logging trucks

By Kristin Edge, Mike Dinsdale

8 comments
Puti Tipene, of Pipiwai, at a roadblock on the intersection of Pipiwai and Omauri Rds aimed at halting logging trucks. Photo / Michael Cunningham
Puti Tipene, of Pipiwai, at a roadblock on the intersection of Pipiwai and Omauri Rds aimed at halting logging trucks. Photo / Michael Cunningham

Rural Whangarei residents were out stopping logging trucks again in a bid to send yet another message to councils to tarseal sections of dusty roads.

The Pipiwai Titoki Roads Action Group staged protests yesterday - one on the boundary of Whangarei and Far North districts and a second near Matawaia. The protests stopped several logging trucks at the intersection of Pipiwai and Omauri Rds.

Pipiwai resident Puti Tipene was one of about 30 who started their protest at 8am. Numbers dwindled through the day but the message was the same throughout, with the protest ending about 3pm.

"We just want some action to have these roads sealed and we have to make a stand for the health of our people. We have to sort it our for our grandchildren," Ms Tipene said.

The group would continue to hold the protests if nothing was done, she said.

Ms Tipene said trucking companies had been warned about yesterday's roadblocks earlier in the week. However, about five trucks - three fully laden - had had to turn around.

Police iwi liaison officers had spoken to both groups of protesters during the day and a spokesman said as they were standing on private land - the section of road is built across private land after an earlier washout - and the protest was peaceful, there were no issues from a police perspective.

Last week the Whangarei District Council allocated $30,000 in its 2014/15 annual plan to continue 100-metre dust suppression applications on affected sites in the Pipiwai area over the 2014-15 summer.

But Ms Tipene said that amount was "a joke" and nowhere near enough to address the community's concerns.

"We feel that's a spit in the face to us, especially as they are spending $600,000 sealing McKinley Rd [in Kokopu]. Council told us that was because McKinley Rd residents were prepared to pay $2500 each towards the cost of the sealing. They offered us the same but we say it's the council's responsibility to seal roads, not the residents'," she said. "We pay our rates for that. The forestry and logging industries are the meat in the sandwich of this.

"They all pay their rates and road taxes and diesel taxes, but the roads being used for their work aren't being sealed."

- Northern Advocate

Have your say

We aim to have healthy debate. But we won't publish comments that abuse others. View commenting guidelines.

1200 characters left

Sort by
  • Oldest

© Copyright 2014, APN New Zealand Limited

Assembled by: (static) on production apcf01 at 30 Dec 2014 05:17:18 Processing Time: 284ms