Time for a Kaimai road tunnel

We need the tunnelling machine from Auckland and a small amount of Auckland highway expenditure to make two separate one-way tunnels through the hill to the Waikato.

Anything else is just throwing money away.

P. Cherry
Pāpāmoa

KiwiCamp may exacerbate problems

In a recent media release, the Western Bay of Plenty District Council stated it had accepted a $200,000 grant from central government to trial a KiwiCamp facility in Waihī Beach this summer to help manage freedom camping.

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It will be set up in the carpark of the Waihī Beach Community Centre.

Mayor Garry Webber says: "It is a great opportunity for council to trial a KiwiCamp model - at very little cost to the ratepayer - to manage the increasing demand from freedom campers."

But council staff estimate it could cost ratepayers up to $115,000 to provide a platform and services for a KiwiCamp facility.

Why is the council using ratepayer money to subsidise a facility that will compete with established camping grounds and laundromats which pay rates and/or rents to the council?

The facility would only be at Waihī Beach for a couple of months over summer. If it was here for 100 days the cost to Western Bay ratepayers for providing these facilities to so-called freedom campers would be up to $1150 per night.

The council's Reserves and Facilities manager, Peter Watson, said that the preferred site, a parking area near Bowentown, was chosen because it has utilities, is away from residential properties, and was close to the beach and the cycleway network.

The only problem was that tangata whenua objected. So the council decided to move it to the Waihī Beach Community Centre carpark which has none of those preferred attributes.

I understand they did this without consulting the community board or residents of the nearby houses.

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The council intends to move the facility to Te Puke early next year, which will probably involve another $115,000 set-up cost. So the $200,000 gift from central government could actually cost ratepayers $230,000.

And because this is the first standalone KiwiCamp to be set up in New Zealand there is no guarantee it will alleviate the problem of freedom campers. In my opinion, it is more likely to exacerbate the problem.

Keith Hay
Waihī Beach

Treaty of Waitangi

The Treaty of Waitangi has a Preamble and three Articles.

In my opinion, Margaret Murray-Benge (Letters September 26) should not accuse other people of twisting the Treaty when she herself selects only Articles I and III and ignores the rest. The Treaty does more than make us all equal. Our Parliament and courts agree that the Treaty is a legal partnership granting Māori special rights.

The Treaty Preamble promises Māori "protection of their just rights", such as fair representation in government. People may call this preferential treatment, but The Treaty of Waitangi Act is now law and not being renegotiated. The claim by Margaret that one of the elected Western Bay councillors is on the Māori electoral roll seems untrue.

All appear on the General Roll. Equality before the law does not exclude special Treaty rights. Many people have special legal rights that others do not have. Equality before the law just means that all lawbreakers get treated the same. We need equality before the law and respect for Treaty rights.

Peter Dey
Welcome Bay

Order speed cameras now

My husband and I were just saying we need cameras all along State Highway 2 to slow the speedsters and keep them alert.

All fines should be put toward road signage highlighting the danger rating of the northern link - simple, low cost, revenue-producing, common sense but we need someone prepared to make the order today.

Annemarie Andrews
Ōmokoroa