Lane sweeping

It would make it a lot clearer to those drivers who think it's okay to change lanes while turning on to the City Bridge, if the centre line between the turning lane at each end of the bridge was a well-marked solid line.

They are faded dotted lines. I also wonder why more drivers don't use the outside right-turn lane at the bridge and then safely change lanes on the bridge.

This would almost double the number of vehicles getting through the green light phase.


Durie Hill

Democracy lost

"A healthy democracy requires active participation of citizens in public life and debate, without this participation democracy becomes the preserve of a small, select elite." (Dr Anne Salmond)

And that is what seems to be happening to Aotearoa NZ. Those who organised and ran the submissions procedures around the Trans-Tasman Resources seabed mining application ignored the democratic rights of a huge number wishing to be heard and registered as opposing the application.

The Environment Protection Authority's (EPA) website seemed unable to cope with the numbers wishing to register submissions, resulting in many being lost.

And the EPA refused to accept 13,733 submissions made through organisations such as Forest and Bird, Kiwis Against Seabed Mining and Greenpeace, counting them as one for each organisation. So they stated they received 262 submissions which in no way reflects the thousands they discarded.

The hearings were limited to two venues - Wellington and New Plymouth - with no opportunity allowed for Whanganui or Patea, the two most affected communities. This process exists for the essential democratic voice of the people to be heard.

The EPA should be expected to live up to their title, but they didn't because the chairman used his extra vote to push through the decision to allow TTR's application, flouting the EPA's own policy.

I applauded one splendid submission only to be severely reprimanded by the chair, who threatened to have me removed from the room if I clapped again.

At the New Plymouth hearing, a press release from the Ministry of Primary Industries appeared in the papers proclaiming full support for the TTR application, thereby putting pressure on the committee to agree with it.

What happened to Maori rights? Maori appear to have been totally ignored by the EPA throughout this process.

The whole matter appears more of a farce than an exercise in democracy at work.


Editor's note: The EPA was unable to respond to these complaints on the TTR application as the matter is subject to appeal. It referred people to comprehensive information about the hearing process and its outcome on the EPA website.

21st century sins

Mandy Donne-Lee (letters, September 28) declares from her pulpit that I don't care about rising crime and "family breakdown". She's dead wrong.

But apparently they are among the sins of 21st century living that she randomly plucks from her kete of false equivalence whenever she feels the need to share her slippery slope nonsense on everything from too many US fast food joints to our right to make our own choices about our bodies and our lives.

Nowhere does the not-fit-for-purpose 1970s abortion law or any proposed assisted dying legislation delegate any responsibility to religious types like Mandy and their mythological beings in the sky. But to sate her curiosity:

1. Why do I support abortion law fit for the 21st century (in four words)? Women's right to choose;

2. Where do I get my beliefs (also in four words)? Intelligence, science, reason, logic.