I must applaud the private emergency crews that saved many lives at White Island on Monday.
But I must comment on the lead emergency agency which is designated by the government to lead the survival and recovery of citizens and employees in a major emergency such as White Island.
This is the police who were not reported as having boots on the ground on White Island during the evacuation emergency or any mention of any police helicopters assisting in the air or rescuing victims on the ground.
Are they not trained to react quickly in a real emergency? In an emergency of this nature, the control must be with an experienced official at the coal face with support from head office, not control from an underground bunker under the Beehive which creates long delays and assumed situations.
Should the lead emergency agency be changed to the Army's SAS who are used to making decisions on the spot quickly?
The idea of local commuter trains serving our community and reducing traffic on our roads has been mooted several times.
Port of Tauranga and NZR have said not possible as rail is at capacity with freight. But, I now see when the idea of moving part of the Port of Auckland operations to Tauranga, Mr Cairns is quoted as saying: "We still have plenty of capacity on the rail connection between Tauranga and Auckland, with the ability to double the current number of trains per day."
So now we can really start looking at commuter trains morning and night into Tauranga?
Cap the rates
This week the Tauranga City Council voted to increase rates by 3.9 per cent after requests and submissions by the public to cap the rates at last year's level. I was particularly interested in the reported comment from Deputy Mayor Baldock which is as follows:
"Deputy mayor Larry Baldock voted against the cap, saying the increased revenue was needed and many property owners in Tauranga had enjoyed a 40 per cent net value increase on their homes in the last few years.
"They need to work out how to use that wealth to meet their obligations."
I own my own home, and the only way I can get this perceived increase in wealth is to sell my house. Which I do not want to do.
Please, Cr Baldock, cap the rates and remove the waste in council expenditure. (Abridged)
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