Ryan Gray (Letters, 4 April) accused the RDRR of feigning concern and childish opposition-for-opposition's sake to the Special Housing Areas (SHAs) in Ngongotaha. He did this by taking a dozen words out of context from our Alternative Spatial Plan that suggested a policy flip-flop.

Our Alterative Spatial Plan dated 29 May 2017 is available at our website. It acknowledges the housing crisis, the need for more high-density housing, and that Ngongotaha was among other areas suggested for residential expansion and greater densification.

Acknowledging problems is one thing. Evaluating the two SHA proposals being boosted by council 10 months later is another. Hardly a flip-flop.

Indeed, RDRR can't take a position on the SHAs because many key documents are secret. Examples? Is there enough infill capacity to meet housing needs? What is the infrastructure plan?


The key point is that council used the 'no notification in any circumstances' clause in the Special Housing Areas Act (2013) to avoid having to provide such information and to consult all affected parties. A foolish political decision in a democracy, in my view.

So, we called a public meeting to inform the community about the proposed SHAs, and to collect and provide feedback to the mayor and councillors from the community.

My tip is that, just as the Special Housing Act will expire in 18 months, so will the term of current mayor and council, permanently in the case of those who don't listen to the community.


Bilingual city
Reading Harry Brasser's letter, published Easter Monday, was a surprise that wasn't a surprise. It is likely Mr Brasser is of a generation who grew up monolingual in Aotearoa, or elsewhere.

While English is widely spoken, in most parts of the world it is not the sole language of users. The benefits of being multilingual go far beyond practical communication.

For many or even most younger New Zealanders, bilingual signage and/or the use of Te Reo Maori is normalised, welcoming and encouraging. For others it is intriguing and enriching, even when not part of their lived experience growing up in Aotearoa/New Zealand.

Positive attitudes towards our indigenous (and official) language are not confined to younger New Zealanders, although much more common among them.


Personally, I welcome the use of Te Reo Maori in our homes and communities and feel proud that we are now a bilingual city. Other cities will follow. Fortunately, the negativity towards Te Reo Maori expressed by Mr Brasser, is passing into history.