Squeaky wheel

Regarding State Highway 2, they say it's the squeaky wheel that gets heard and receives the most attention. Unless everyone is a squeaky wheel. What happens then?

Does the high pitched squeak turn into a constant background drone? Interrupted occasionally by a particularly strong enraged outburst?

It sounds familiar to me. Too much like the constant hum of traffic on the highway nearby. It's become a background drone which is interrupted more and more often by the sound of sirens.

Every day, this community talks and grieves about the dangers on our deadly highway.


We're all just squeaking away here in the background hoping that by some miracle someone with enough oil will arrive soon.
Coryl Baggenstos

Museum referendum questions

After spending hundreds of thousands of dollars of ratepayer money, it is interesting and very challenging to read the questions "released" for the pending referendum. it is unfortunate these were not first circulated to ratepayers.

Most ratepayers welcome the opportunity to have their say (if their opinions are to be actioned) on this highly costly proposal. It seems devious to me, and perhaps not noticed by many ratepayers, that the real question is not included.

Answering the questions asked means ratepayers are endorsing the council's decision to build, establish and maintain over coming years, a museum at additional ratepayers' considerable expense.

The real question so many want to answer is:
• Do you want a museum, and
• Do you want to pay both initial AND significant ongoing annual costs? (That will invariably be higher than published estimates).

Once again the council is telling ratepayers of council decisions, not seeking prior feedback.
Paul Garratt

Simple solutions

We aren't going to be able to make our roads safe overnight, but there are a couple of simple things that could be done that won't cost a lot.

The Blue Mountain City Council had one of the highest accident rates in New South Wales once. They lowered the speed limit to 80 for most of the main highway and made ''lights on dip'' compulsory during daylight hours.

They claimed a 20% drop in accidents over the next year.

It amazes me, in wet or bad viability, how many cars drive around unlit.
Don Wallis

Maori settlement perceptions

Peter Dey (Letters, February 2) mentions that local Maori have made a great sacrifice in settling for $50 million - a claim he believes is worth $500 million.

I am quite sure that had I been one of the Crown negotiators I could have validly calculated that the claim was worth something like $25 million. This is because the parties are endeavouring to work out compensation for an injustice perpetrated by the NZ Government more than 120 years ago.

The land in dollar terms was then worth very little (notwithstanding its intrinsic value to Maori) and the increase in value since then has largely been brought about by Pakeha endeavour coupled with immigration which continues. The difference in views will always be as wide.

It is today's taxpayers who are bearing the redress. Further, the $50m local settlement presumably has influenced the top-ups of $370m to Ngai Tahu and Waikato. To me the top-ups are excessive.

I know they relate to formulae agreed many years ago.

However, no point in my worrying about it…. Probably a result of shrewd negotiating by those tribes at that time. Similarly, people need to accept that the $50m is what they have agreed to and get on with their lives.
Bill Capamagian

Glass recycling

Regarding glass recycling, Waste Management has stopped collecting glass partly because of health and safety risks.

We now have the council saying it is considering 45-litre glass bins to be collected fortnightly. These will be sorted at the truck. So it's not safe to sort at the sorting factory but will be safe to sort at the truck. Come on, really?

The council says the collection will be contracted out and will mean a rate increase to us ratepayers again. (Abridged)
Gary Horan

Housing shortage

I certainly hope Bryan Gould had a better understanding of finance as a university administrator than he has displayed on the resolution of New Zealand's housing shortage.

The circumstances facing Michael Joseph Savage, 80 years ago, are the complete opposite of what now exists.

We do not have a shortage of State money for housing; we have a shortage of resources: land, materials and tradespeople. Our unemployment rate is under 5%.

Shane Jones is going to ensure more forestry development, the private sector already does half of his goal, and the tree seedlings and land are not available to meet his ambitious targets.

Increasing rail usage is also unrealistic for this area or Auckland. Capacity on our rail network in the "Golden Triangle" is already at its limits.

Passenger rail in Auckland leaves no spare capacity for redirecting trade by rail to Northport, from Auckland.

Why is our population increasing in recent years - it is because of our successful economy, and the annual haemorrhage of 40,000 New Zealanders to overseas opportunities ceasing.

Printing money in the US and the UK was the cause of low-interest rates worldwide, which caused people to redirect their savings into lower-cost housing for rental. This has made it more difficult for first-home buyers to afford a home. Increased demand leads to increased prices, in real estate.

I remain unconvinced that $3 billion will be spent wisely in the regional areas of New Zealand by this administration.
Ann Owen


Congratulations to Hubbard on his excellent cartoon, (Opinion, March 6). How very apt that in the same edition there is a report that 19 contestants are grappling for the vacant spot in the city council trough.