Just read Mayor John Carter's column in which he talks about the recent trade and investment forum and the Chinese influence and its relevance to Northland (Opportunities in China, May 31).

Of particular interest were the comments about tourism. The Chinese are expected to overtake the Australians as our biggest market, and apparently are increasingly becoming independent travellers rather than being part of organised tours. Presumably this means driving themselves.

John, this is exactly what I was referring to in my recent letter about arrows on roads following the tragic deaths of two ladies on Houhora Heads Road, as a result of a tourist (allegedly) driving on the wrong side of the road. More tourists driving on our roads inevitably means the odds of more of them on the wrong side of the road. Statistics again.

While these deaths have become statistics, our community is still in grieving mode, and not in the mood to just move on without something meaningful being done to address the issue. It was commendable that the Mayor was reported as intending to instruct council staff to address the issue of road marking in response to the recent Waipapakauri incident.

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However, it seemed a somewhat lukewarm effort, mostly aimed at pacifying the outraged victims of that incident. I was left thinking, what about the rest of the FNDC area?

The fact that already there are arrows on the roads, albeit somewhat randomly spaced, plus the fact that the Mayor can apparently instruct council staff to address the issue, kind of gives the game away. It obviously is possible to do something. So why not make a proper job of it?

Just think of the kudos that would come north if all the roads in New Zealand had arrows for foglines. With hands on hearts, FNDC could proudly say, "One of our northern boys came up with that idea"!

Lastly, a question to Mayor John and the other councillors who write columns in the Age, mostly on themes about communities and communication etc. You have a first-hand understanding of our infrastructure limitations, and since the tourism boss is never likely to tell us, what is your idea of a realistic stocking rate of tourists in Northland?

N WAGENER
Pukenui