St Heliers proposal
We write in response to the letter to the editor from Shane Ellison, CEO of Auckland Transport,
about various recent community consultations held by AT around the "safety improvements" they propose for St Heliers village.
Mr Ellison was writing to correct a Herald editorial which gave the impression that AT had not met the various community organisations before releasing its proposals.
On the face of it, Mr Ellison's corrections are valid. However, apart from their meeting with the Orakei Local Board, these discussions took place at the request of the community, once forewarned by the local board. They were not pro-actively offered by AT.
Our main problem is that those discussions took place a long time after AT's proposals for St Heliers and other "problem" centres were finalised. AT took no account of negative community feedback at these initial meetings but proceeded with public release of unchanged proposals with the result that over 600 people turned up at a public meeting in St Heliers on 15 April to protest the proposals. Hundreds of residents have spent time writing submissions to AT.
It appears that AT had been working on these proposals for at least nine months, probably much longer, before giving them limited release to community organisations in February. AT had instructed the engineering consultancy AECOM to prepare the plans earlier in 2018 without any community input. AECOM's final report dated August 8, 2018 set out essentially the same proposals which were given limited release in February and public release at the end of March.
AT should have consulted in the planning stages. Much time and money has been wasted by many people, at AT and in the community, as a result of this failure by AT to consult early. The same applies at Mission Bay and other "problem" centres. Why does it have to be so difficult?
Mike Walsh, acting chair, St Heliers/Glendowie Residents Association Peter Jones, chair, St Heliers Village Association Kit Parkinson, chair, Orakei Local Board Desley Simpson, Councillor for Orakei Ward
Auckland City Council has lost control of Auckland Transport. These are huge business units, and don't even understand the basics of business in that you should always listen to what the customers wants and needs are.
So here we have AT, upsetting Ports of Auckland, Customhouse Quay to one lane, 30km/h etc. The poor small business owners in Albert St, not even given a rates relief, and then we come to ATs plans for St Heliers, where we live, that, if implemented, will destroy this little village.
We already have to suffer bus stops outside our top restaurants, which wouldn't be allowed anywhere in the world. We have so many buses, parking all over the place, coming through the narrow side streets, hitting many cars.
My wife says you're wasting time writing about this, nothing will be done to stop these plans from happening. We need a mayor that has overall control of these decisions. I get the feeling that if the Tamihere, and Fletcher team target this sort of behaviour, then they will bolt in when we vote later in the year. Bring it on.
Clint Hartley, St Heliers
AT's CEO, Shane Ellison, completely misses the point in his letter to the NZ Herald.
He can waffle on as much as he likes about AT presentations to this group, that group and any other group who care to listen.
It was because of these presentations — or dictatorials — that a public meeting of residents and business owners was called. At that meeting which he and his staff - in spite of being asked - chose not to attend, 99 per cent of over 600 people voted against AT's ridiculous safety plans.
His letter reinforces his arrogance — or is it ignorance? Come on Shane, listen to the people who pay your salary.
Dennis Ross, St Heliers
I drive from Taupo to Auckland weekly, sometimes twice, and that notorious stretch of road in the Atiamuri zone is bloody dangerous, heading south from the Gull Service Station right through until you exit the Kinleith Forest area at the other end.
The least the government could fast-track is put a medium barrier, even a cheese-cutter one, the whole way along that route. So that means no passing, no wavering, and no losing control into the opposite lane. And later, if warranted, some extending of the passing lanes.
Glenn Forsyth, Taupō
For as long as we can recall, we've had to contend with the drunks and idiots on our roads; we now look for other answers as to what on earth is happening with the road toll.
Maybe the ever increasing rate of depression and metal health issues is linked to this. Society has become so stressful that one's attention when behind the wheel is lacking more than ever. Many are strained beyond their limits as they strive for a better way of life but at what cost?
R L Bicker, Gulf Harbour
When Northwest Healthcare as Manager of Vital Healthcare Ltd complains to the Government that it is unfair and inequitable for ACC as a major unit holder in Vital Healthcare to agitate for changes, it is surely a case of the pot calling the kettle black.
Since obtaining the management contract, Northwest worked itself into a position of being able to increase the fees it charges Vital whenever it pleased, and also had the right to sack any "independent" director who disagreed.
As pointed out in Jason Wall's report
, fees in the six months to December were almost 75 per cent higher than in the same six months a year earlier.
This means that dividends to unit holders including ACC were that much less than they could have been. By getting income through larger fees rather than by larger dividends, Northwest as holder of 26 per cent of Vital units has a substantial advantage over the other 74 per cent. How unfair and inequitable was that? And is it usual that a manager can sack an elected director?
ACC had every right agitate for fairer dividends and other changes. Hopefully that will be an example to large shareholders in other companies not to sit passively on the sidelines when directors ask for a fee increase, or pay an exiting CEO an over-generous payout.
H.E.H. Perkins, Botany Downs
As everyone draws close to their televisions for the final season of Game of Thrones, I can't help but notice a parallel story happening in the real world.
All regular viewers will know the phrase "winter is coming", and also know that many of the characters vehemently denied this to be true, right up until winter was upon their doorstep. In the same manner, many people have shrugged off the words "climate change" since the 1990s.
Those people, much like Cersei Lannister, prefer not to change their way of life. They will let others deal with it.
Now that we are encountering extreme weather patterns, changing habitats and the extinction of animal species, the Jon Snows of this world are desperately trying to spread the word. As Jon Snow says, "we have to work together, or we'll die."
A person's identity and country make no difference, for just like the Night King's army, climate change won't discriminate.
Emily Hansen, Napier
Your correspondent Murray Higgs
says the top tax rate is "triggered at a inappropriately low level". I could not agree more. It should be triggered at a higher level. He, and others, also say that low incomes should not be taxed. This is exactly the case already when tax credits, working for families, and other support payments are counted.
K. H. Peter Kammler, Warkworth
Ports of Auckland
There are a couple of questions that puzzle me about the whole discussion regarding the port's future.
Firstly, if we have an extension to the wharf to allow much bigger cruise ships to berth, given the present and future ill-conceived work and changes to Quay Street, how on earth will we get the passengers away from and back to their ships after the excursions we hope they will make? With only one lane each way, there will be constant gridlock in the area, particularly morning and evening at arrival and departure times.
Secondly, in all the discussion about moving to Northport, have any of our "planners" thought about how to deal with the large, constantly shifting sandbars in the port area? Is this something that hasn't been thought about, or have they followed usual practice, and just never been on site?
Martin Cleland, Torbay
How pathetic, how totally abhorrent that the Super Fund held investments in gun companies
. Mr Whineray may (attempt to) shift blame to the fund's external service provider but, if it takes an incident like the Christchurch mosque attacks to prompt the Super Fund to exclude such investments, something is very wrong.
Trevor Stratton, Whanganui
Short & Sweet
On St Heliers
With regard to Shane Ellison's explanatory letter, all I can say is: "Fine words butter no parsnips!"
Robyn Speller, St Heliers
The image of Jacinda and Prince William performing a hongi demonstrates white privilege has no depths to which it will not gladly descend.
Philip Smith, Auckland Central
I wonder what the cost of the Corrections slushy machines (NZ Herald, April 28) per staff member is compared to the cost of MP's perks per their number?
Alan Johnson, Papatoetoe
If you've been wondering where the funds came from for cool drinks for the prisons, apparently Kelvin Davis said it came from the slush fund.
R L Bicker, Gulf Harbour
Bearing in mind the source of religious intolerance, dare one ask if God has changed his mind?
Gerald Payman, Mt Albert
Let's get Statistics NZ to store firearms and the NZ Police to produce the Census results. We couldn't be any worse off.
Marsden B Robinson, Silverdale
Here is a Biblical quote that idiot of the moment Israel Folau should be conversant with: "As ye sow, so shall ye reap".
Steve Hope, Mangere Bridge