HELP OUT CAB

Hauraki Citizens Advice Bureau is now open at its new location of 24 Rosemont Rd, Waihi (next to 100% Electrical). However, like so many other community organisations, the bureau needs more volunteers to actually keep the door open.

Citizens Advice Bureau has been providing a valued service in Waihi for the past 30 years, with volunteers providing much appreciated time and skills.

Anyone who would like to volunteer just three hours a week, is welcome to come by the bureau on Monday, Wednesday or Friday between 10am and 1pm or phone us on 07 8637640.

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Rae Waterhouse
Chairperson CAB

PARK OVER NOT FREEDOM CAMPING

Re article Concerns over freedom camping, Coastal News Waihi Leader July 23.

Whangamata RSA has been a Park Over Property to allow members of the NZMCA to use their carpark for overnight camping since 2005.

Whangamata RSA also prides itself with working with NZMCA and TCDC to comply and implement policies and rules around this.

All visitors are required to sign into Whangamata RSA so they conform and comply with the rules and policies during their stay, this is the same for the many RSAs around the country who offer this accommodation as promoted by RNZRSA and NZMCA.

Whangamata RSA does not charge for the overnight stays, but we encourage users to utilise our RSA facilities and restaurant. Many choose to leave a donation to go towards the welfare and support of the Whangamata RSA members. RNZRSA is all about support, our motto being "People Helping People".

The comment quoted in the article about people needing to "stick to their own niche" is confusing as we have been offering this service for 15 years now. Also, the comment that freedom campers are sneaking on to their land to use their facilities is a first for us.

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We do not have that problem as the vehicles we allow to park here are all fully self-contained. The RSA is not a freedom camping site, we are an NZMCA Park Over Property which is totally different and strict rules apply.

I understand the difficulties that people are having post-Covid but we are not doing anything different to what we were before the pandemic.

We support our community in many ways, and we are thankful for the support that the community gives us. We pride ourselves on being a family friendly and welcoming RSA and we believe this is shown in our continued increase in membership.

As president I would like to invite anyone from our community to come and find out more about Whangamata RSA, we consider ourselves a long way from the attitude of us being an "old war hero's" club. Come along and try it for yourself, you are most welcome.

Geoff March
Whangamata RSA president

MINE WAIHI FIRST

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Lovely to see positive media coverage about the proposed extension to mining in Waihi in today's Waihi Leader.

After living in a Third World mineral rich country (PNG) I strongly support mining in Waihi where we meet best practice standards and gain the benefits of taxation and royalties paid into New Zealand's coffers.

At this stage of the development cycle there is very little chance that any mineral extraction in PNG will be providing any benefit to the ordinary people. So let's extract all the gold from this region first and give less developed countries time to get their regulations and controls sorted.

Also, good to see the issue of water being raised (Waihi Leader/Coastal News July 9). I may be joking here, but could the problem be solved by making it mandatory for all second or holiday homes to install a decent sized water tank and disconnect from town supply?

Then turn the water pressure down to permanently occupied dwellings and have all showers fitted with a timer. Drain the grey water from sinks and the washing machine into soakage pipes under the lawn and gardens. Piped potable water is a luxury and should be valued as such.

Dawn Sinclair
(abridged)

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REFERENDUM REMINDER

You are probably aware that at our next general election on September 19 we will all have the opportunity to also vote on two referendums. One is on the proposed Cannabis Legalisation and Control Bill, and the other is on the End of Life Choice Act.

The cannabis bill has yet to be discussed by Parliament. The End of Life Choice Act is finalised, and we will vote on whether it should come into force.

Factual information about both is available from two sources:
- the website www.referendums.govt.nz. It's referendums plural. This website is being promoted in the official television advertising. This is where people can find the information in languages other than English, including te reo Māori.
- the two leaflets which are inside the envelope received recently from the Electoral Commission.

This envelope has orange writing on the outside, with the words "open for important election and referendum information".

In former years the only thing in this envelope was a form enabling you to notify any of your details which may have changed, and many of us would simply throw it away. I've been asking around, and at least half say they have chucked it into the rubbish, haven't opened it yet, can't remember even getting it or haven't looked in their letterbox for month.

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If you've already thrown it out you can call 0800 36 76 56, and ask for referendum information to be posted to you.

Dianne Cooper
Waikenae

SPAT CONCERN

I am deeply concerned about the fact that the Waikato Regional Council has decided to grant resource consent for the proposed mussel spat farm off Whauwhau Beach in Mercury Bay.

My main concerns are around the pollution a new spat farm would cause due to the pieces of mussel rope that wash up on the beaches. I live in Te Puru on the Thames Coast and work at the school right on the beach there. Almost every day I walk the beach and see large numbers of rope cuttings washed up on the beach from the mussel farms further north.

My extended family has communal land in Mercury Bay which we have loved to visit my entire life, and I do not want to see this pollution happen here too.

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The volume of rubbish from the mussel farms washed up on the relatively sheltered coastline of the Firth of Thames beaches is staggering. It is almost impossible to take a step in any direction without seeing a bit of rope.

This gets even worse the further north one goes. Imagine how much worse it will be with over 500 kilometres of "hairy" plastic rope in an area that is directly exposed to the often volatile South Pacific Ocean. These mussel ropes break down into thousands of tiny pieces of plastic, which we know are so bad for the environment. They are ingested by marine life and ultimately us humans, when we eat our local kai moana.

In other parts of the world marine pollution has reached extreme levels. I do not want this for New Zealand. Over the years at Te Puru I have seen a steady increase of waste, especially from the mussel industry. There is a trajectory.

As a teacher and parent, I care deeply for the future well being of the children and our planet. We have an obligation to prevent further environmental burdens for future generations. That is why I consider it hugely important that we 'step up' and put the environment before short term economic profit. Ultimately a cleaner environment will be of more economic and social benefit than a polluted, degraded environment.

There are few untouched places of great natural beauty left in this world. Mercury Bay is one of them. The mussel farms on the Coromandel's west coast demonstrate very clearly that this commercial activity cannot be carried out without significant environmental and visual impacts.

The question is therefore why this activity should be permitted in an area which has so far not experienced any of the negative impacts associated with mussel farming.

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I urge people in and around Mercury Bay to learn more about the proposed spat farms as I am not sure that many people in the area know that this may go ahead.

Sarah Oxford
Te Puru, Thames