Roading issues

How on earth are the people of Western Bay supposed to cope while waiting for decisions on roading to be made?

Decisions which are being fudged by this new Government. Congestion on SH2 and SH29 are in serious trouble and the Northern Link which was to have gone to tender in February is now being re-evaluated to fit in with the new Government's policy. I hope that includes actually building the roads.

Road safety is one of their priorities and yet it doesn't seem to matter that people are being killed on either SH2 or SH29.

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What everyone knows is when we have roads on our arterials that have lane separation, people don't die.

It is called road safety. The frustration in the community is boiling over and sooner or later people will react even more than they are at the moment.

Where is the vision from the new Government for keeping our people safe on our roads?

I hope everyone is writing to the ministers to push them to actually work in our interests, and make decisions on the Northern Link, and SH2, and even SH29 pronto.

Margaret Murray-Benge
Bethlehem

No need for Māori wards

The weekend polls on Māori wards have undoubtedly included Māori voters who realise wards as a limited access to all candidates and have voted accordingly.

Certainly so in Whakatāne where the proportion of Māori citizens is said to be 43 per cent.

It is not democracy to force Māori on the national Māori electoral roll to vote in a Māori ward locally. Every voter deserves the ability to vote in any candidate of choice who is going to represent them for the next four years in local body matters.

Others would argue that Māori wards are discriminatory by providing a political right not accorded to all voters/ratepayers and residents.

In my view former New Plymouth mayor Andrew Judd and your correspondent Peter Dey and others do not realise how their arguments for Māori wards actually restrict Māori participation in local politics.

A Māori ward effectively appoints Māori to serve on the council. It is not a vote and that representative will not be a voice for all constituents.

There is already provision for compulsory representation on councils under the Local Government Act, the Resource Management Act and representatives of local iwi and Treaty groups. No other ethnic group receives such preferential treatment and local body recognition – all this without a now publicly recognised unnecessary Māori ward.

R Stephens
Papamoa

No surprise
Ngai Te Rangi's representative is 'disappointed but not surprised' at the result of the referenda to create Māori wards. Everyone who pays rates should understand that the RMA directs local government to consult with Māori and they have over Māori wards.

What they have not done is to consult with the wider community.

The result in the five districts that ran referenda was a resounding 'no'. This is a clear message to Local Government New Zealand, who, without consulting their wider constituency have written to Parliament to delete the ability for citizens to hold referenda on the creation of Māori wards.

Western Bay councillors did not wait for the results of their referenda, they have sent a confirmation to Local Government New Zealand that WBOPDC supports the letter.

Every elected local government person swears an 'allegiance' to the district at large. Not a ward, and not a specific culture.

Maureen J Anderson
Pyes Pa

Abortion views
People all over New Zealand have responded to the invitation from the Law Commission to submit their views for consideration on a review of the New Zealand Abortion Law. Now, as Bob McCoskrie, national director of Family First NZ points out a statement, the instruction given to the Law Commission is for it to provide – not a review, but a specific outcome – "to align with a health outcome".

To me, this is much the same as saying, " I'm not interested in other factors - like God, the unborn's right to life, the moment of conception, even public opinion - just give me a legal 'health reason' to justify decriminalisation to the general public.

I'm praying that Winston will enter the scene and demand a binding referendum before our country is led down a path with very serious implications both socially and morally for our future.

Don Brebner
Omokoroa

Get over it
Vaughan Chetwynd (Letters, May 24), finds it necessary to remind Prime Minister Jacinda Adern she was not elected as prime minister but rather appointed by Winston Peters.

How much longer do we need to endure the tears about National losing the election to a far better team. We won, get over it, move on, harden up. Appointed or elected, Jacinda has achieved more in the short time she's been there than Vaughan's gang achieved in nine years.

Gary Horan
Mount Maunganui

Māori wards patronising
Peter Dey (Letters, May 23) disagrees with my contention that the ability of large numbers of Māori to get elected to Parliament makes a nonsense of the argument that Māori wards are needed to enable Māori to be elected to local government.

He notes, rightly, that "parliamentary elections … have a Māori roll and Māori electorates" and he deduces from that Māori wards are needed to ensure adequate Māori representation in local councils.

But he ignores the fact that of the 29 Māori now in Parliament only six needed Māori electorates to get there – the others got there by winning general electorates or being placed high up on party lists.

The leader of the National Party is Māori, and he got to Parliament by winning Tauranga on his merits. The deputy leader of the National Party is Māori, and she got there by winning the electorate of Upper Harbour on her merits. It is likely that the Northcote byelection will be won by Dan Bidois, another Māori who will win on his merits.

We simply do not need racially divisive wards to see Māori elected to local government, and to suggest otherwise is patronising to Māori.

Don Brash
Auckland