More to be done

In response to the Local Focus report on Mahi Tahi and reformed Mongrel Mob ex-convict Tihema Galvin, (News, October 4).

Good on him and the Mahi Tahi programme. It's still the ambulance at the bottom of the cliff. He's a different man because he is in his mid-40s and a lot of these guys realise they have been pretty messed up as they get older and want to change.

He says the challenge is the younger ones, well Tihema - good luck! You're not the first. About $50 million was spent building a Youth Justice Centre on State Highway 30 near Rotorua that holds up to 40 youth. It's my opinion many of these youth who end up in such facilities do not change.

Seems to me this guy has good intentions, is getting some good results. These positive stories are ones the Government is grabbing too. Yet he said himself that a little lag in prison is fun, a chance to get fit, a break from drugs and alcohol and to meet new gangster mates.

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There must also be a focus to stop the gangs that make up 40 per cent of our prison population. For public safety, we need to stop them before they cause the social harm that puts them in jail by cracking down hard on gangs.

Outlaw their patches, insignia, allegiance and involvement that these impressionable youth are so drawn to. There are now a lot of Māori gang prospects and members that have been conditioned into a gang culture; that don't work and are violent in their homes too.

A culture of gangs and welfare from birth has sadly become the identity of some. Others are drawn to the brotherhood of drugs and violent behaviour. I commend and support what Tihema and many good people are doing to help others turn their lives around yet there has to be a balanced approach.

Prevention and rehabilitation are different things, and so the consequence must match the choice and seriousness of the crime committed. Prison is a consequence of serious crime is it not? Let's do both yet not confuse the two.

Rendall Jack
Rotorua

On the council's radar

In response to a letter in your paper of (Letters, October 12) titled 'Pleas fall on deaf ears' Council would like to take this opportunity to reassure the community that lakes infrastructure is very much on council's radar.

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Council has dedicated more than $2 million in the 2018-2028 Long-term Plan to enhancing lakes infrastructure including ramps and jetties. A study is also under way to assess the feasibility of floating jetties in Rotorua's lakes, as reported in August.

The work is being carried out by Shearwater Consulting Limited at Merge Lodge (Rotomā) which exhibits some of the largest water level fluctuations in Rotorua's lakes. This feasibility work will assess the functionality of floating jetties but also must take into consideration the aesthetics of infrastructure when levels are low.

On top of the funding allocated in the Long-term Plan, council was recently awarded $453,250 from the Government's Tourism Infrastructure Fund to go towards improvements at Lake Okareka which includes upgrading facilities at Boyes Beach and Acacia Road lakefront reserve.

Work in these areas is likely to begin early next year. Council has been working alongside the Rotorua Lakes Community Board, Te Arawa Lakes Trust, iwi and affected communities to ensure that any work taking place aligns with their aspirations.

Henry Weston
Operations Group Manager Rotorua Lakes Council