ACT wants to subdivide the Waitakere Ranges (or at least the foothills)

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There was a great deal of attention on the policy announcements of the major parties this weekend.  One announcement was forward looking and a firm statement that business as usual was not working.  The other was somewhat ho hum and involved an extension to Auckland’s electrified rail network that Labour started as well as the third rail line in South Auckland.  This was the project that only a few years ago the Government wanted to bury the report for.  This should have been approved and started this year.  Hiding the report and then supporting the project shows some weird set of priorities.

The electrification of rail to Pukekohe is a good idea.  But Auckland Council recently decided to purchase hybrid trains that could service the area.  I hope there is another use for these trains.  Perhaps they could be added to the western line so that Huapai and Kumeu can be serviced properly.

And over on the edge of New Zealand politics a small nondescript party tried to attract attention by promising a gazillion new houses for Auckland.  Well maybe not a gazillion but the extraordinary figure of 600,000.

This would involve more than doubling the current number of houses in Auckland.  In 2013 there were 473,451 occupied dwellings.  So this figure would more than double the number of houses currently existing in Auckland.

There is a problem.  Under the term of this government which ACT and David Seymour are members of housing construction in Auckland is tanking, despite burgeoning need.  But this does not stop Seymour from trying to put the blame elsewhere.

From Stuff:

… Seymour promised to scrap the Rural Urban Boundary, paving the way for at least 600,000 homes to be built in Waitakere, Karaka and Clevedon.

He said he would also push the Government to abolish the Resource Management Act and replace it with laws that required councils to free up land as populations increased.

“These areas are not treasured natural landscapes. They are grassy fields with the occasional barn or horse.

“Allowing housing in these areas should be a bare minimum for any Government.”

The party would fund the infrastructure to service the new homes by sharing the GST on construction with councils, he said.

ACT’s plan does not have the support of the Waitakere Ranges Protection Society.

“He’s dreaming,” said president John Edgar of the policy.

Edgar said the foothills are a buffer zone between suburban sprawl and the Waitakere Ranges.”Sub-divisions would impact the ecology of the ranges.”

Edgar said there would have to be a very good reason to change the boundary. “Our fear would be if the boundary changed for one property it would open the flood gate and the boundary would get smaller and smaller,” he said.

Here is the ACT’s map.  The blue is the current urban form and the yellow is where it wants to allow subdivision to occur.

And here is the unitary plan map for the area.  Essentially Seymour is proposing that the land zoned Waitakere Foothills zone is subdivided.  All of it.

And here is the googlemap of the area. Note that significant parts of it are covered in bush and native forest, not the grassy field with the occasional barn that Seymour talked about.

To be frank the proposal is bonkers. There are major impediments to any proposal to change current zoning for the foothills. Roads are narrow and unsuited for large numbers. There is no reticulated sewerage through vast parts of the foothills. Much of the area is steep and prone to slips.

And good old mother nature and the Ranges perform some pretty important jobs for us humans.

  • They provide us with rural beauty, with artistic inspiration, and with a sense of serenity.
  • They control and manage rainfall and without the forest urban flooding would be much more problematic.
  • They provide us with fresh drinking water.
  • They provide a buffer to help preserve the health of the ranges.

The method that Seymour is using, the removal of the rural urban boundary will also have unintended consequences.  If there is no boundary for Auckland’s growh then why shouldn’t there be increased subdivision at Piha and Karekare and Bethells Te Henga …

I have not seen the details.  You have to spend good money on doing this and I have an aversion to funding anti environmental proposals.

Most advanced nations realise that urban sprawl has a very bad downside, with increased reliance on cars, a plethora of motorways and environmental destruction being inevitable consequences.  ACT’s proposal will only lock Auckland into the type of growth it has been spending many years trying to avoid.

Submit, submit …

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The Waitakere Ranges Local Board is currently seeking local input on our draft three year plan.

The plan’s purpose is to reflect the priorities and preferences of our communities with regards to the level and nature of local activities to be provided by Auckland Council over the next three years.

To help us complete the plan we need to hear from local people about their interests and preferences and what they want us to do.

The document will have a major effect on what we do and will affect Council’s long term plan.

Our draft plan suggests that we want to achieve these things for our area:

  • We want to make sure the Waitākere Ranges Heritage Area and our unique natural habitats are protected and enhanced.
  • We want local communities feel good about where they live and to celebrate their distinct identities and live, work and play together.
  • We want residents to experience local arts and culture.
  • We intend that our urban centres are enjoyable places to be.  In particular we want to continue to work to upgrade Glen Eden.
  • And we want our community spaces and recreation facilities to meet local needs and be attractive places for people to come together.

If you share these ideals please let us know.  If you think there are other areas we should be concentrating on please let us know. In particular if there are pressing local issues you wish to bring attention to please drop us a line.

The Draft Plan can be read here. Submissions can be made online here.

If you have any questions then email me.

Please note submissions close Friday June 30 at 4 pm.

Nuclear Free peacemaking policy over 35 years

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I was asked to speak last week at the West Auckland Peace Group’s meeting to celebrate 30 years of our nuclear free legislation organised by the legendary Laurie Ross.  The event started with the quality music of Heartstrings and then Laurie and I both spoke to a small but very informed crowd.

It gave me the chance to reflect on something that had been really important to me over much of my life.  And because of close family ties with David Lange I felt that I was able to

I was born in 1961 during the heights of the cold war and a year before the Cuban Missile crisis in 1962.  And I can recall my father telling me at that time how he had left work and gone home to be with my mother my sister and me such with the fear that nuclear war was about to start.

And for most of my life the threat of nuclear war has been this big threat hanging over me.

I am in a reasonably unique position to comment on the nuclear legislation.  David Lange was a family friend for many years.

My family have been long time Labour supporters.  My father has two gold badges, one from the Engineers Union and one from the Labour Party for services to the movement.  He has been a long time activist in Mangere.

My father has a somewhat pivotal position in New Zealand politics.  He was one of six selectors of the next Labour candidate for Mangere in 1977 after Colin Moyle resigned following an attack by Robert Muldoon on him which questioned his heterosexuality.  It was an issue in those days …

The head office preference was for Mike Moore to be selected.  There were 11 candidates however and the selection meeting went well into the night.

The last speaker was a youngish very overweight lawyer called David Lange.  And he delivered a speech which blew away the crowd.

The committee was split between Lange supporters and Moore supporters.  My father decided to change his support to Lange and the selection was completed.

Given the way that New Zealand history went his decision that night clearly had a significant effect.

Labour’s view on nuclear policies

Labour always had a deep interest in nuclear policies.

It was at the forefront of efforts to create the United Nations so that disputes between states could be handled peaceably.

In the 1970s the third Labour Government sent two frigates, one with Cabinet Minister Fraser Coleman on it, to the test area where the French were conducting atmospheric tests of nuclear bombs.  The French subsequently decided to conduct underground tests before finally stopping tests in 1996.

Labour proposed the nuclear free policy in 1984.

In fact Richard Prebble introduced a Nuclear Free bill in June 1984 and National MP Marilyn Waring supported it.  This was possibly the last good thing that Prebble did during his time as a politician but good on him for doing this.

This actually appears to have been the trigger for Muldoon going to the polls early.  He only had a majority of 1 MP and could not face the disaster that a lost vote would cause.
The policy was popular.  In an opinion poll conducted just before the 1984 election 30 per cent of New Zealanders supported visits by US nuclear warships with a clear majority of 58 per cent opposed, and over 66 per cent of the population lived in locally declared nuclear free zones.

Labour won that election.

The US standoff

Then the stand off with the US started as did a big world wide debate on the nuclear arms race.
The US was fearful that a nuclear weapons ban could spread throughout the world and they were right in that was the intent no matter what Labour MPs were saying publicly at the time.

Lange relished the debate.

Who can forget the Oxford Union debate when he said that he could smell uranium on the breath of an over eager conservative.

And Lange had a fearful intellect and an ability with the English language that was second to none.

One phrase that still sticks with me that perfectly describes the insanity of the arms race is his comment about refining an existing capacity to make the rubble bounce and bounce.

I understand that behind the scene pressure on Labour not to proceed with the policy after it was elected was intense.  There was an early show down where the US ship the Buchanan was proposed for a visit.

After a certain amount of wavering Lange said no.

The right in Labour’s caucus wanted the visit.

The rumour is that his then girlfriend Margaret Pope steeled him up and he said no.

After that relations with the US cooled off considerably.

But the problem for the US was that the policy was that goddamed popular.

A 1986 opinion poll confirmed that 92 per cent now opposed nuclear weapons in New Zealand and 69 per cent opposed warship visits; 92 per cent wanted New Zealand to promote nuclear disarmament through the UN, while 88 per cent supported the promotion of nuclear free zones.

The Nuclear free legislation

Then the nuclear free legislation was introduced and passed in on June 8, 1987.
It prohibited the acquisition by, or the testing or siting of nuclear weapons in New Zealand.

It prohibited the use of biological weapons.

It also prevented ships using nuclear propulsion from visiting.

And to address the US’s neither confirm nor deny policy it allowed the Prime Minister to make a call on whether or not he believed there to be weapons on board.  Only if he was satisfied that a foreign warship had no weapons on it was he authorised to allow it to visit.

The US responded by suspending ANZUS.  Ordinary kiwis were totally indifferent to its actions.

My impression of David Lange at the time is that he was relishing the debate and he was proud to stand up lead an independent foreign policy.

Meanwhile Rogernomics was playing out and to be frank the fourth Labour Government shredded its moral mandate to lead.

But I believe that Lange still remained popular because at least he was doing something progressive.

National then gained power in 1990.  Despite being in power for 18 of the last 27 years it has not touched the legislation despite what must be an overwhelming temptation to do so.

In 2004 Don Brash was reported as telling American officials that the legislation would be “gone by lunchtime” if National won power next year.

And during the 2005 campaign he did not rule out the repeal of the legislation.

This probably contributed to Labour’s win that year because the legislation is still incredibly popular.

Then John Key said that changing the legislation was not an option and so it has remained.

There was one attempt to weaken the legislation.

In 2005 ACT MP Ken Shirley introduced a private member’s bill seeking to allow nuclear propelled ships to again visit New Zealand.  The bill was voted down 9 to 107 with even National voting against it.


To conclude in my view the Act has had an important role in forming and moulding public opinion on the issue.

Being nuclear free is something that pretty well all of us agree with and cherish.
The policy is utterly rational.

How irrational is it to have a weapons system with a capacity to make the rubble bounce and bounce.

And arguably the Act had an international influence and caused more and more nations to question the insanity of the nuclear arms race.

The prospects of a global nuclear war appear to be limited although Donald Trump’s election has set the doomsday clock hands moving.

And I regret that I would not be surprised if for instance America and North Korea engage in a limited exchange of nuclear weapons.

So the disarmament movement has to continue.

There is a safe number of nuclear weapons to be stationed on our planet.

That number is zero.

Chair’s report – Woodlands Park responds to Watercare, a world record and the Cistine Chapel of Glen Eden

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Following is my chair’s report for June 2017.


The Watercare board has decided that the site of the new water treatment plant will be in Woodlands Park and Oratia has been excluded from further consideration.

I attended the board meeting where the decision was made.  Watercare’s chair person Margaret Devlin added three riders to the draft resolutions considered by the Board.  Watercare is to seek to minimise environmental damage, it is to lodge the application for a resource consent through Council so that the opportunity for local people to have a say is maximised and there is to be enhanced consultation with the local community.

These concessions in my view are helpful and an improvement on the original resolutions.  If the plant does proceed then the minimisation of environmental impacts and the involvement of local views is vital.

The local Woodlands Park community is very energised about the proposal and I would not expect anything less.  A recent meeting that I spoke at where there were 250 people present is a testimony to this.

Like the Oratia community they are passionate about the place they live in and they want to protect it.  The thought of a large industrial complex being built in their neighbourhood is an anathema to them.  And they are worried not only for the environment but how Titirangi’s fragile streets are going to handle large trucks and construction crews.

The way I see it there are two possible outcomes:

  1. Construction of the new site in the designated location with efforts put into minimising adverse effects.
  2. Watercare going back to the drawing board and starting the process again.

To be honest I do not think that option 2 is likely although the design work currently being conducted could show that the site is much more problematic than originally envisaged.  If there is a potential cost blow out then rebuilding the original plant may be financially feasible.

Much as I would like Watercare to find some smart solutions that will result in no bush clearance happening I do not think this will happen.  Clearly Auckland’s population growth and the ageing nature of the plant mean that a replacement plant is almost inevitable and needed soon.  Watercare will want to go ahead with the current proposal.  The optimal result for the local community may be to attempt to affect the design to minimise environmental damage and disruption.

The local community will need to make a call on if this is what it wants to achieve and if so what is the optimal approach.

And what of the proposal?  Preliminary designs suggest that the plant could occupy much of the new site and two planned reservoirs will require bush near to Exhibition Drive to be cleared.

There is cleared area and bush of low quality that I have no difficulty with being built on.  But the good quality bush which forms part of Clark’s bush walk and provides a buffer to neighbouring houses should in my mind be avoided at all costs as should the forest near Exhibition Drive where one of the reservoir tanks is currently planned to be.

This can be achieved by smart design.  As much of the existing site should be recycled.  For instance the settlement ponds could be retained and replaced on the existing site if this sort of technology is going to be continued with.  Staged development will allow the existing plant to continue to function, the new plant built, then replacement of existing settlement ponds by new ponds constructed in the spare land that will become available on the existing site.

What do I think personally about the proposal?  My starting point is that the Waitakere Ranges Heritage area is a special place and should be protected at all costs.  I live near Woodlands Park and I walk on Exhibition Drive regularly.  The high quality native bush and trees make the area a special place to live in.  Any clearance should be avoided at all costs.

Besides environmental considerations there are very practical reasons for the bush to be preserved.  Most of Titirangi is stability sensitive.  We cut trees and clear bush at our peril.  And the roads are fragile.

My view of the role of the local board is that we need to advocate and express the views of our communities to Auckland Council and the Council controlled organisations.  This means that we need to make clear to Watercare the views of the Woodlands Park community.

I have acted as something of a go between between local residents and Watercare.  My preference is that the dialogue continues.  The campaign run by the Oratia community shows how a smart well targeted campaign can achieve good things.


I recently met with Ted Manson who is behind the organisation that is constructing the two tower apartment blocks in Glen Eden.

Ted is a rarity in these times.  He is clearly a successful businessman.  But he wants to achieve good and I am convinced that he is motivated by the best of intentions in seeking to build these apartment houses.  His description of the project shows there is a great deal of charity involved in the proposal.

We do need every dwelling we can get.  The housing crisis is a scourge on Auckland.  Having kids whose families have jobs with no choice but to live in cars is not the sort of New Zealand I want us to have.  And the effect of the crisis is wide.  Families living in crowded sub standard conditions blights the future potential of our young ones.  Paying exorbitant amounts in rent means that many basics which should be guaranteed are not happening.  And having a society where teachers struggle to pay the rent but can never dream of owning their own property is just wrong.

So Ted’s project is important.  We do however have to make sure that these developments have a positive effect on the surrounding area.  A compact urban form is a good thing as long as it is a good quality urban form.

And there is a virtue in building around our transport nodes.  Developments such as these mean that we can avoid the pressure to build into the foothills of the Waitakeres.  And they make our city more carbon neutral in that they lessen the need to drive private cars.

The details of the project are that it will comprise 169 units about 60% of which will be community housing.  There will be a building manager and Compass has been engaged to provide social services for those in the buildings that need them.  The building will also use modern security techniques.

The practical details of the construction are that it will start in about a month’s time and should be finished in April 2019.  Demolition of the existing buildings is already occurring.  There will be a peak workforce of 150 people.  I urged Ted to make sure that there was parking provided so that the effects on the surrounding area were minimised and he said that he would do this.

The local board also met recently with Housing Corp who is planning a six story building on Wilson Road.  The plan is that the building will house older adults.

These buildings will mean a great deal of change will happen to Glen Eden.  The Board will work to make sure that Glen Eden is ready for this change.

Consultation – Waitakere Ranges Local Board Plan

The board has released for consultation its draft Local Board Plan.  The intent of the finalised plan is to set out publicly what we hope to achieve over the next three years.

Six areas are set out in the draft.  We wish to actively protect the Waitakere Ranges Heritage area, to protect and enhance our unique natural habitats, we want our communities to celebrate their distinct identities, we want local people to experience local arts and culture and recognise our heritage, and we intend that our urban centres are enjoyable places to be and that community spaces and recreational facilities meet local needs and are easy to get to.

Local feedback is really important to us.  We want to see if residents agree with the priorities and to identify anything that we may have missed.

Feedback can be provided via the Shape Auckland website (

Waitakere Ranges Heritage Area 5 yearly report

The preparation of a monitoring report of the Waitakere Ranges Heritage Area every 5 years is a statutory requirement under the Waitakere Ranges Heritage Area Act 2008.

Under section 34 Council is required to monitor the state of the environment in the heritage area, the progress made towards achieving the objectives, and the funding impact arising from activities to be taken to give effect to the Act.

It is a chance for us all to take a breather and to work out if there is something we need to do for our beloved Waitakere Ranges to make sure their health remains viable.

I believe the Act has has a profound effect on the people living out west.  Locals are very proud to live in the heritage area.

The second monitoring report is now in the process of being prepared.  It is a very significant report.  The first report 5 years ago presented a snapshot of the state of the Ranges.  This report will show if things are improving or getting worse.

An initial community meeting for feedback has been held.  The report is expected to be completed by April next year which will also mark the 10th anniversary of the passing of the Act.

World Record!

One of the more fun duties I have had recently was to be the official witness of an attempt by local primary schools to create a new Guinness World record for the most people forming the shape of a bicycle.  I am glad to say that the attempt succeeded and the previous record was smashed with the new record now standing at 1,799.

Here is an aerial photograph to give you an idea of the size of the feat:

And here is Kathryn King, the Auckland Transport Manager responsible for walking and cycling who sponsored and organised the event, and some of the very happy world record holders.

Matariki Festival

Matariki is developing into an important local festival.  It is the date accepted as the Maori new year.  This is the time when the constellation known as Matariki or the Pleadies appears.  For Maori it is a time to reflect on what has happened during the previous year and to also make plans for the year ahead.

Out west we had a very successful Matariki celebration at Arataki recently.  A number of activities were coordinated.  One of them was a photography contest where residents were invited to submit photographs of the Forest, Sky or Sea.

The contest was very successful with over 700 entries being submitted.

I judged the entries in the The Forest – Te Ngahere category. It was a difficult job.  A total of six photographs had to be selected out of a total of 193 entries and there were many superb shots.  I managed to create a shortlist of 20 and then had to brutally rule out some exceedingly good photographs to reach the required number.

The winner of Te Ngahere was Piha resident Heidi Padain for this beautiful photograph of a Tui.

The other categories were the Water – Te Wai and the Sky – Te Rangi.

Overall winner was Martin Sercombe with this outstanding shot of a could formation over Whatipu.

Clearly the Waitakere Ranges provides artistic inspiration to local photographers.  Hopefully this competition will become an annual event.  And congratulations to Glenn Browne and the team at Arataki for the wonderful festival which will I am sure become a permanent part of the local events calendar.

Waitakere Ethnic Board

Steve Tollestrup, Denise Yates and I attended their recent AGM.  WEB has been in existence for a number of years and performs many important roles in relation to ethnic matters particularly in relation to new settlers.  The executive members introduced themselves to the meeting and they present a tremendous range of skills and backgrounds.  I wish them well for their work ahead and look forward to meeting with them to see how the board can assist them with their efforts.

Glen Eden’s Sistine Chapel

The Glen Eden Business Improvement District, with the assistance of a grant from the Mayoral fund, commissioned local artist Heathermeg Sampson to part a mural on the side of Paul Borich’s pharmacy in Glen Eden.  The work is outstanding and a tribute to Heathermeg’s talent.  She managed to use intricacies and features of the building and environment to beautify what was otherwise a rather dull area.  Congratulations to Heathermeg and I recommend everyone should check it out.  It is immediately adjacent to 258 West Coast Road if you want to see it.

Watercare opts for Manuka Road site over Oratia

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I attended the Watercare Board meeting today where the preferred site for the new Water Treatment Plant was going to be decided.

The event was very sombre.  Groups from both the Waima and Oratia communities were present.  It was akin to turning up to a funeral and not knowing which person was going to die.

And the decision has been made.  Watercare has decided that a new plant on the Manuka Road site is its preferred option.  The Oratia sites have been excluded.

I am very pleased for the people of Oratia that the threat of the loss of their homes and devastation of their neighbourhood will now not occur.  They have run a really effective, noisy and passionate campaign.  It is great to see people power working.

I am worried however at the threat that is now being posed to the Waima area.  Watercare needs to consult fully with locals on the proposal and any environmental damage and disruption must be minimised.  Watercare owes it to the people of Waitakere to conduct itself in such a way that the aims and objectives of the Waitakere Ranges Heritage Area are adhered to and that damage to the environment and local disruption are minimised as much as possible.

The presentation before the decision was brief but highlighted the thinking that has occurred since the announcement of the short list.

It was identified that the Significant Ecological Area overlay placed on the Manuka Road site by the Unitary Plan meant that a resource consent would be required for vegetation clearance.

This triggered an obligation to consider alternatives and this is why the options were considered.

The legal advice was that under section 36 of the the Resource Management Act there was no obligation to consult.  While technically correct this statement ignores the fact that Watercare is a Council controlled Organisation and as such has a duty to “exhibit a sense of social and environmental responsibility by having regard to the interests of the community in which it operates and by endeavouring to accommodate or encourage these when able to do so”.

The presentation pointed out that costs of both leading proposals were very similar, within 1% of each other but that the costs of a third option, to reuse the existing site, would cost $141 million more to retrofit the existing site because of the need to shut the site down and advance work associated with the increase of supply of water from the Waikato River.

The officer analysis was that both sites were similar but that building on the Parker Road North site adverse effect on community cohesion and way of life, while building on Manuka Road would have an adverse environmental effect.  This is where the effect of Oratia’s campaign was probably decisive.  Their campaign of highlighting the human effects of building in Oratia clearly altered Watercare’s thinking.

The recommendation from Watercare’s officers was that the Manuka Road site be selected as Watercare’s preferred site with reservoirs constructed on Woodlands Park Road.

This recommendation was accepted by the Board but with three important riders.  The first was to add the phrase “avoiding wherever possible significant trees and adverse environmental effects” to the resolution.  The second was to confirm that the application will be made to Auckland Council for resource consent, presumably on a notified basis.  The third was that a community liaison group or similar was to be set up.

I have been impressed by the response of the Woodlands Park residents who have recently organised themselves and are mounting a campaign which will test Watercare’s decision every step of the way.  The issue is still far away from being resolved.

The battle for Oratia is now over.  But I am sure that the battle of Manuka Road is just starting.

Chair’s report May 2017 – what Watercare should do, Anzac Day and a celebration for Piha

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One of the most satisfying parts of my job is the writing of the Chair’s report each month.

This makes me focus on what we want to achieve this term and on what has happened so far.

This month, like all of the other months, has been full of events and matters of interest and interaction with people wanting to have a say about how our area can be made better.

Submission on Auckland Council’s annual budget

The local board recently made a submission to the Auckland Council on the draft annual budget.

The Mayor is committed to capping the rates increase for the coming year to no more than 2.5%. The local board discussed this and reached the view that we should advocate for the rates increase to be that anticipated in Council’s long term plan which is 3.5%. The basic reason for this is that the city is growing extraordinarily quickly. In the year to June 2015 it grew by 2.9% and in the year to June 2016 it grew by 2.8%. A 2.5% increase means that per head of population Council’s spend is going backward. I accept that some things can be done more efficiently but the infrastructure cost of growth is huge and this makes the head of population spend even worse.

This has an effect on all areas of council activities. An example is libraries where our local libraries have had a reduction in staff resources of 10% following a restructure despite early indications to the contrary. Another example is in the environmental area where already stretched budgets are being further stretched. Rampant weed and pest problems are a consequence.

In other parts of our submission we supported the maintenance of the current split between residential and business ratepayers, did not support a targeted rate on accommodation providers in the local area for tourism promotion, supported a living wage being paid to council staff and contractors, and supported greater contribution to the cost of new infrastructure by developers.


This issue continues to dominate our time and our email inboxes. Over the past few weeks I have received many, many emails from people concerned at the proposal that Watercare will build a new water treatment plant either in Oratia or in Woodlands Park. The number is in the thousands. I have spent a lot of time reading emails and replying to them.

There have been some especially memorable examples. Like this email from a young woman who is 12 years old and lives in the red zone. I have removed identifying details:

My name is ** I am 12 years old and I live ** in the red zone.

I am writing this by myself to give a child’s perspective on things and attempt to explain the magic of Oritia community.

Me and my family moved to Oritia on March 2015. I remember the first day of living in Oritia, the day we moved. Driving down the twisting road called Parker Road I knew that this was right, that this was my home.

The way down the road we were greeted with waves and smiles that to this day make me smile.

I am lucky enough to live down a shared driveway with neighbors who have turned into our family.

We have formed many relationships with our community and we are not willing to be separated.

I said we have made friends who have turned into family but really the whole of Oritia is one big family who look out for each other and ALWAYS have each others back.

I first heard about WTP in Oritia about a month ago while on my way to school. I carpool with my friends who live down my driveway as we go to the same school when I was told that a water treatment plant may be built in Oritia.

Through the next few days I learnt a bit more on what was going on but then a few days later I woke up to see my dad very stressed and worried as he scrolled through his phone.

He told me that our house and many others may be destroyed for this giant water plant.

We were in shock as were many other families in Parker Road.

Since then Oritia has been fighting and fighting for our homes.

I cant even begin to imagine living anywhere else but here. It would take away our community family.

One of the best things about Oritia is the feeling of freedom away from everything outside our little corner of the world.

Around the driveway there is a lot of bush where me and my friends can run and play in the bush whenever we want, thats what will be taken away.

I can walk over to any of my neighbours houses and be welcome, thats what will be taken away.

I intend to live in Oritia as long as I possibly can, that will be taken away.

The soul and heritage of Oritia is the heart of our community, that will be taken away. Our community has grown strong this past month and it makes me so proud to say, I live in Oritia and we are not going anywhere and we will never stop fighting!

I hope this has helped you understand Oritia a bit better and show you what will be taken away and that lives will be ruined. My family’s life’s will be ruined.

Or this example from another young Oratia resident:

dear watercare

please dont bild on my house
this is where my hut is where my frend *** and me play

and my pets live here


There is also this video created by Oratia children. I challenge you to watch it and not be affected.

The Oratia resistance started early and has been very well organised. I have been involved in a number of citizen based protest movements over the years and the Oratia effort is one of the best I have witnessed.

The residents of Woodlands Park have also become active however. Like Oratia they fear the devastation of their environment and the disruption that the construction of a large industrial plant would cause their area.

They are worried not only about the destruction of high quality bush and the felling of significant trees but also about the chaos that the construction of a large plant will cause to their neighbourhood.

The number of emails from the Woodlands Park community is in numeric terms lower than the number received from Oratia but in terms of passion and content are just as impressive.

There has been a huge expectation that local democratic power should have significant control over what is happening. The basic problem is there is a deficit of democratic control. When a Council controlled organisation is making a decision that will have a significant effect on a local community the consultation should be spectacular. Watercare’s consultation is, in my personal view, only what is required to meet RMA requirements and for democratic representative purposes it should be better.

I believe that Watercare should go back to the drawing board and engage in a real consultation with local communities. Rather than one huge plant we should have a discussion about two or more smaller plants. We should have a discussion about a plant situated in an industrial area and what the energy implications are. We should also talk about options like modern technology filter plants at the dam sites and what that would mean. We should also see if the existing plant can be retrofitted to give it further life or if parts of it such as the settlement tanks can be retained for ongoing use.

But the problem is that we are being asked to agree to huge industrial water filter plant options, one in Oratia that will displace many families from their land and one in Woodlands Park that will result in the clearance of pristine bush. There has to be a better option that will avoid both of these consequences.


Recent events at Piha have caused a lot of consternation. A number of fires have occurred, most involving bush but the iconic cafe Adey’s Place also suffered from fire. The fires are suspected to be because of arson and an arrest has occurred. There should be no further comment about this aspect of what has happened until the justice system has finalised its treatment of the allegations.

But the incident brought home to me what an outstanding job our volunteer fire brigades and the services perform for us all. To acknowledge them the local board intends to hold a civil event in Piha where their contribution and their commitment will be formally recognised.

Anzac Day

Anzac Day is one of the busiest yet most enjoyable of the calendar of a Local Board member. In the Waitakere Ranges Local Board area there are no less than eight ceremonies. They are all quite unique and have their own particular favour. Local Board members fan out to different events to make sure that we cover them all.

It was my privilege to attend three of them this year, the dawn ceremony at Waikumete, the morning ceremony at Titirangi and the afternoon ceremony at Piha.

The dawn ceremony is a very solemn event, the cold and the dark adding to sense of ceremony. The numbers attending this year were huge and the event went flawlessly. The staff, some of who were up at 3 in the morning preparing the area, deserve a large vote of thanks.

The event is especially memorable as dawn breaks during a very important part of the ceremony.

I then attended the Titirangi ceremony.

The Titirangi RSA under the guidance of Dave Lawrence is a very gentle happy yet solemn reminder of the importance of the day. Dave has guided the ceremony for many years and has perfected the art of doing so.

The schools have a major part to play with a number of young Primary School students singing the Anzac song. This year was especially noticeable because of a group of young women from Green Bay High School singing John Lennon’s “Imagine”. A more suited yet more radical song for an Anzac day ceremony I could not imagine.

The final ceremony was that at Piha. This is something everyone should experience. Locals walk behind a Highland Band from the RSA to Lion Rock where that most beautiful of areas is used as a backdrop. People then get to contribute to the ceremony each in their own way.

After that there is a trip back to the local RSA. To cap off a very memorial day bagpipe players compete with each other to play well known tunes that do not normally get the bagpipe treatment.

Until next month …

The possible privatisation of Ports of Auckland

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The future of Auckland’s port has become the subject of some media attention recently. Is it going to be privatised?

The conjecture started with this article by Bernard Orsman in the Herald.  It said this:

High level discussions are under way over the future of Ports of Auckland as Auckland Mayor Phil Goff wrestles with how to fund the city’s ballooning infrastructure costs.

But Goff is refusing to be drawn on whether he plans to sell the council’s ownership stake, saying only he wants to address the port’s long-term future this term.

The Herald understands an IPO, or initial public offering, of the port is being discussed in merchant banking circles. Either a sale of the operating company or a part sale of the entire entity is understood to be under discussion.

Goff would only say he has had wide-ranging discussions on Auckland’s port but no specific proposal on ownership has been presented to him.

During the last election campaign Goff talked about the future of the port.  It is a feature of developing city ports that as time goes by and the city grows the relationship of the port to the city changes.  Initially they are an important piece of infrastructure as a transport node but as time goes by and the city develops the port function becomes less and less important and the value and future use of the occupied land becomes somewhat critical.  It is an important issue for a growing city.  Maybe we should think of a future where there is no inner city port.  As an example Sydney and Melbourne ports have gone through similar changes.

Ports of Auckland is essentially owned by Auckland Council.  The port has already been a source of major frustration for progressives because of POAL’s attempt to deunionise the site.  The amount of money spent on this particular fight was obscene and unjustifiable unless the activity was necessary to facilitate its privatisation.

There is clearly a lot of central government support for the proposal.  It appears that the Government has offered $1 billion dollars worth of transport projects to Auckland Council if it proceeds with the privatisation.  From Richard Harman in Politik:

There are an extra billion dollars on the table in Wellington for Auckland transport if the city agrees to sell its port company.

The city’s Mayor, Phil Goff, has confirmed that he has received a briefing from the Ports Company proposing a privatisation.

POLITIK has learned that the Government may be willing to stump up an extra one billion dollars for transport projects if the port – or other assets – were to be sold.

Given that the company is worth approximately $1.1 billion the Government appears to be proposing a dollar for dollar subsidy.

And what is at stake …

A senior Government source last night told POLITIK that one billion dollars could be available and  projects that might be able to be brought forward could include:

  • Mills Road motorway extension.
  • The Panmure- Botany busway and other roadworks
  • The busway to the Airport
  • A busway and other work on the North Western motorway.

The offer reeks of bad faith politics.  The North Western busway is to give the Government cover because the decision not to build the north western busway over the past few years while the north western motorway has been rebuilt is stupidity of the most extreme level.  The busway to the Airport is clearly to try and dull the effect of Labour’s light rail to the airport policy.

The problem for Auckland Council and for Goff is that current Council debt levels are close to the maximum comfort level.  Debt is currently $7.6 billion and just below 270% debt to revenue ratio.  Although the Council has an urgent need of funds for the construction of new infrastructure its ability to borrow further is limited.

And the Government has turned down every request by Auckland for alternative funding streams.  A request for reinstatement of the ability to put a regional fuel tax in place has been turned down.  And Goff is having to use a targeted rate to create a tourist bed tax.

So Goff is caught in this difficult position where Auckland urgently needs further funds but the Government is refusing to allow it the new revenue streams it desperately needs.  And Goff’s analysis is that anything above a  2.5% rates rise is politically risky.  The problem is that an increase of this size would mean that the per head of population spend would decrease at a time when it needs to increase.

Labour has come out in opposition to the proposal.  Phil Twyford has said this:

Labour would strongly oppose the sell-off of the Ports of Auckland to fix a short term cash crisis caused by the Government blocking the city’s requests for new ways to fund infrastructure, says Labour’s Auckland Issues spokesperson Phil Twyford.

“National has blocked every request Auckland Council has made for new sources of revenue to invest in desperately needed infrastructure, including road pricing and a regional fuel tax. And now the usual cheerleaders for privatisation are telling the Council to flog off the port company to fund the infrastructure deficit.

“Of course the merchant bankers and the international investors will be salivating at the chance to sink their teeth into the port but let’s stop for a second and think about what’s good for New Zealand.

“The country needs the future of the upper North Island ports to be resolved on the basis of what’s good for the long term prosperity of New Zealand. Privatising the port now could jeopardise that process.

There are councillors such as Mike Lee and Cathy Casey who would vehemently oppose any privatisation.  This issue could present Phil Goff with his biggest headache as mayor.

Chair’s Report April 2017 – Water water everywhere …

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Text of my April 2017 Chairperson’s report to the Waitakere Ranges Local Board

The environment, particularly water, is again dominating local news.

A couple of recent storm events indicate to me very clearly that climate change is occurring and it is likely that these events will become more and more frequent. The first storm a few weeks ago caused significant flooding on Atkinson Road, Brandon Road, Glendale Road and on Great North Road in Kelston where an apartment house flooded for the second time in five years.

The flooding also caused the under mining of a couple of buildings on Great North Road in New Lynn. The damage caused to the road has thrown the local road system into chaos. I have never seen congestion in the area this bad.

Meanwhile the train system is working superbly. It recently passed another milestone when the 19th million passenger in a calendar year boarded. The annual rate of growth is 19.4% and recently an extra million passengers has been added in every four months.

The problem is that at current rates of growth the system’s capacity at is going to be fully utilized in the next few years. We may regret not having started the City Rail Link years before.

To exemplify the performance of rail I recently caught a weekday 5:30 pm train from Britomart. At about 6:10 pm I reached Glen Eden. The trip was not only a great deal quicker, it was more relaxing and I had much appreciated time to catch up on emails.

Now is a very good time to put more train services on the western line if they are available. And I am sure that once people have tried the train system they will not look back.

The second storm wobbled at the end and bypassed Auckland. But the destruction it caused to other parts of the North Island suggest that we have no reason to be complacent.

The worrying aspect is that our infrastructure is predicated on really large storms occurring rarely. With an increasing frequency of large storm events caused in rising temperatures and water sodden atmosphere we may find that existing infrastructure is inadequate.

The Watercare Treatment Plant

This issue continues to be high on the Local Board’s radar. Residents and supporters in Oratia are maintaining a well organized and in my view highly effective campaign to persuade Watercare not to site the proposed replacement water treatment plant on Parker Road.

They recently held a further well attended, well organized and passionate meeting and invited mayor Phil Goff, local councillors and the local board along. The Mayor requested that Raveen Jaduram, Watercare’s chief executive, also attend which he did.

He was treated very politely and his presence assisted greatly in my view in having a proper dialogue about the issues surrounding the proposal. Previously Watercare had declined to take part in these meetings. Raveen’s presence and the dialogue that occurred suggest strongly to me that this decision was the wrong one. One aspect that Raveen was able to clarify was that Watercare would not seek to have any Resource Consent application handled by a Board of Inquiry.

The meeting exemplified to me that ongoing dialogue is vital. And while the process is a conventional one in terms of Resource Consent Applications there is a deep disquiet that a Council Controlled Organisation should not be more accountable to the views of citizens. I am convinced that locals would prefer a more organic discussion where instead of being presented essentially with two options (Oratia or Woodlands Park) there was a discussion about options, whether smaller treatment plants could achieve the necessary goal and what sorts of smart engineering choices could be made to minimise disruption.

Residents of Woodlands Park have also started to express concerns at the possibility of a plant on the Manuka Road site. Their concerns and values are similar to those of the Oratia residents, they both cherish and are very protective of the environment they live in and they do not want to see their local environment destroyed.

Following is an indicative plan that I have received from Watercare that sets out the potential layout of a future site. If constructed in this area it would wipe out part of the Clarks Bush Track as well as the ecological corridor that extends from Laingholm into TItirangi.

If this is Watercare’s preferred site I will be advocating for a reduction in the footprint so that the high quality vegetation and the track are preserved. I do not understand why more of the existing plant area cannot be used as already it is proposed that the holding pool be retained.

The experience has shown clearly to me the need for reform of the council controlled organizations. There is a virtue in removing day to day management decisions from political influence and financial discipline is important but we currently have the situation where with little notice local communities face potential devastation because of the adoption of a large engineering solution to the city’s need for water. There have to be smarter and more environmentally sensitive ways of dealing with the city’s growth needs and the need to replace ageing infrastructure.

The trouble with the Council Controlled Organisation corporate model is that big engineering cheapest price options tend to dominate. In the Waitakere Ranges Heritage Area local people deserve and expect better.

Water quality

The trifecta of news involving water is that of water quality, particularly of the West Coast lagoons.

Ecomatters Trust has completed an analysis of local septic systems. The result was that 45% of the sampled properties had systems that were either not up to scratch or failing. If this figure was extrapolated across the West Coast it means that 450 systems need improvement or replacement.

The local board had a fund of $50,000 available to locals to assist with the replacement of existing systems. Presuming the fund is applied efficiently it means that it would take 45 years to fix up existing systems. The board intends to continue to have the resources available to address the problem but we will be assessing if this is the most efficient spend of the money.

And the inner Harbour beaches are also in poor shape. Titirangi Beach and Wood Bay have had preliminary assessments completed which suggest that the sources of pollution are avarian, dog and human foecal matter. Investigations to the other beaches are ongoing. I will be urging Watercare to review its infrastructure to see if it is contributing to the problem.

I believe that we should set a goal for the water quality standards of our lagoons and inner Harbour beaches. They should be swimmable. And this should not mean that on occasions there is a one in 20 chance of contracting an illness from doing so.

Local Events

Finally a couple of photos from recent events to celebrate the strength of community out west. The first is from the recent Holi Festival put on by the Waitakere Indian Association. I have never seen such a happy completely sober group of people in my life!

And finally from the Board’s Kauri Karnival also held recently and which was very successful.

The water treatment plant, Watercare, Parker Road and Exhibition Drive

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The past month has been dominated by news that Watercare is considering two sites for a new water treatment plant and that Exhibition Drive in Titirangi may be under threat.  The old plant in Woodlands Park is reaching the end of its natural life and will need replacement fairly soon.  And this has caused Watercare to review its land holdings in the area.

Auckland’s water supply is not as secure as it could be.  Rampant population growth is putting huge pressure on existing infrastructure.  And as I type this Aucklanders are being asked to preserve water because the Ardmore Station is struggling to handle heavily silted water caused by some rather extreme weather events over the past week.

Doing nothing is clearly not an option.  And taking the current plant off line and then rebuilding does not appear to be feasible.  Auckland would be another severe weather event away from water rationing unless more Waikato water can be accessed.  And I am not sure this can occur.

But the options that have been provided by Watercare pose all sorts of problems.

There are essentially two sites, one in Parker Road, Oratia and the second in and around the existing treatment plant site.  I do not believe that rebuilding completely on the current site will work although it should be used as much as possible.


Choosing the Oratia site would cause huge damage not only to a very pleasant and beautiful valley but also to a local community with a very proud history deeply associated with the land.  I have received a number of emails from local residents which talk about this history, their family’s links to the area and the social devastation that would be caused if they were uprooted from their land.  Their nervousness and potential sense of loss is palpable.  And you only have to drive round Oratia or have attended one of the very well attended and managed local meetings to recognise the local passionate opposition that has resulted from the announcement of the possibility of the plant.

A large water treatment plant would be totally out place if built in the proposed area.  The disruption that would be caused by its construction and operation is barely fathomable.  There has to be a better alternative.

Woodlands Park

The other option is to build on the site immediately adjacent to the current site.  The site is bush clad although much of the bush is regenerating.  There is some significant bush in the area however including that around Clark’s Bush Walk.  There is a magnificent Kauri which may be 1,000 years old although from what I have been able to ascertain it is thankfully well away from the Watercare land.

There is some local opposition to the idea of clearing the bush but I believe that as long as the plant is sited sensitively and high quality vegetation and trees are avoided then this site can be made to work.  There will need to be a full ecological assessment completed however so that the site can be properly understood.

There is also the Nihutopu Filter Station at the start of Exhibition Drive which could be renovated and used as well as large parts of the existing site and plant.  Watercare’s engineers are clever people.  I am confident that they can design a new plant that will be sympathetic to significant trees and the local ecology and based on my current understanding this would be the best result.

Map showing quality of vegetation on the Woodlands Park site – Green very low – blue low – orange medium – purple high

A third alternative is for Watercare to back the truck up a bit and to consult with local communities and the local board about the issue and explore all options.  I am not a fan of large scale engineering solutions.  Often small solutions can provide superior results.  Being presented with the plant has to be this big and we will not talk about anything else is deeply annoying to local people.

Exhibition Drive

A closely related issue is the future of Exhibition Drive.

This is a very well used and cherished walkway in Titirangi that is frequented by locals.  It connects Titirangi with the Arataki Visitor’s centre and can be said to be the real start of the Hillary Trail.

Watercare considers the land to be surplus to requirements and suitable for divestment.  It is currently negotiating with Auckland Council for the sale of the land to Council to then be held as a reserve.

The land was as far as I can tell acquired under the Public Works Act.  This means that if land is considered to be no longer required it is offered to other government or council departments, then generally to the previous owner or their successors, and then there is the possibility of sale on the open market.

Of course Watercare does not have to go through with this and can decide to keep the land if discussions with Council do not work out.  But this is the problem.  Watercare is required by law to keep the price of water as low as possible and it is not able to pay a dividend to its owner, which is Auckland Council.  If it starts the formal divestment process then it may have to follow it through to completion.  Holding onto land it no longer needs would appear to be in breach of its requirement to act in an economically prudent manner.  And in my experience Watercare is overly fixated on its commercial responsibilities.

On Auckland Council’s side the strained budgets that everyone operates under and the fact that this is not an area of high growth causes me concern.  The money may not be available.  It is also frankly bizarre that land that was transferred to Watercare at no cost cannot be transferred back to Council at the same price.

And the land has huge social value but limited economic value as pretty well all of it is zoned conservation.

There is a requirement that Watercare and other Council Controlled Organisations “exhibit a sense of social and environmental responsibility by having regard to the interests of the community in which it operates and by endeavouring to accommodate or encourage these when able to do so”.  Preserving Exhibition Drive should be regarded by Watercare as being part of its duty as a good corporate citizen.

Watercare has assured the local Councillors and myself that the land will not be privatised.  I believe that it is important that this issue is resolved for once and for all so that a future sale is not a possibility.

Chair’s report – February 2017 – Kauri dieback, the polluted Manukau and Waitangi day

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The text of my Chair’s report for February 2017.

Happy belated new year to everyone.

The year has started off to a somewhat hectic pace.

The first matter that arose just before Christmas was the completion of latest monitoring report concerning the presence of Kauri dieback. The news is not good.

Kauri dieback is a scourge of the Waitakere Ranges. The disease is widespread throughout the west, particularly in Titirangi.

The heritage area now has the unfortunate characteristic of being the most infected area in the country. By comparison, on Great Barrier Island, where the disease has been present for decades, the spread appears to be more limited. This may be due to a lower population and a drier climate.

The rate of infection in discrete areas has increased from 7.9% 5 years ago to 19%. And the highest risk vector has been identified as soil disturbance associated with human activity.

The report also noted that the use of trigene cleaning stations is declining even though knowledge of the importance of cleaning is high. I am not surprised that the increase of infected areas has occurred at the same time that trigene use has reduced. 83% of people trekking through the Waitakeres are ignoring the hygiene requirements.

Kauri protection zones are not working as intended. Track counts show that even tracks that have been closed are experiencing foot traffic despite their status.

The Waitakere Ranges Local Board has declared protection of Kauri as one of our major priorities this term. It was also one last term and we went as far as employing a Kauri dieback coordinator to raise awareness of the disease and what people have to do to try and prevent its spread.

Sandra Coney and I urgently met with the Mayor and Councillors Penny Hulse and Linda Cooper and others just before the release of the findings from the report. I am pleased that everyone accepts the importance of dealing with Kauri dieback and more resources are being put into education and prevention as an urgent priority.

The news is not all bad. The experiment with Phosphite treatment has shown good results and recently an enhanced trial, Kauri Rescue was announced. The proposal is to engage with local land owners to treat diseased trees with Phosphite and to monitor the result.

From the website (

“This exciting new project Kauri RescueTM otherwise known as Community Control of Kauri Dieback: Tiaki Kauri seeks to engage the public in refining a new citizen science tool for the treatment of Kauri Dieback Disease, which is decimating kauri forests in northern New Zealand.

The project team comprises of scientists, social scientists, iwi and community groups and is funded for two-years from the Government’s Biological Heritage National Science Challenge.

The team will recruit private landowners to work alongside scientists to treat their own trees with a chemical called Phosphite which has shown great promise in Kauri Dieback Programme-funded scientific trials, by enabling kauri to fight back against the Phytophthora agathidicida pathogen that causes the disease. The initial pilot study will involve a small number of private landowners to test and refine the methodology before expanding this to a larger group in the second stage of the project.

The project will also encourage landowners to test other treatment techniques, encouraging both western science and mātauranga Māori methods, rigorously monitoring results and collecting data on all treatments so that their efficacy can be determined.”

If you live in Titirangi and have diseased trees on your property you may wish to consider taking part in the trial.

The developments and Ian Horner’s research are very promising but it must be remembered that the treatment is not a cure. It just keeps the trees standing in the meantime. The sanitary requirements will continue to be very important.

Why is this so important? Because the disease is a species threatening one. No cure has been discovered, nor have any Kauri immune to the disease been identified. These trees are the kings of the forest. Without them not only will the forest lose some of its majesty but the forest’s backbone will disappear. It would be more susceptible to wind damage and weeds will flourish.

The Waitakere Ranges are a special place. Without Kauri they would be that much less special. This is why we need to do all that we can to ensure that this disease is arrested and Kauri are preserved.

The second major topical issue is the state of the Manukau Harbour and the West Coast lagoons. A recent article ( in the Herald highlighted how bad the water quality throughout Auckland is.

Things are that bad that swimming at Laingholm and Wood Bay is now banned. And levels of contamination at nearby Green Bay are off the chart with faecal bacteria count measured on November 16, 2016 being an amazing 173 times the maximum safe level.

This is wrong. Our beaches should be swimmable.

Work is required to identify the exact cause of the pollution but ancient infrastructure as well as dog waste is implicated. And I was astounded to read that the Mangere treatment plant is also implicated with it being reported that Watercare data showed that the plant reached capacity and some wastewater and stormwater had to “bypass” full treatment after heavy rain on average 20 to 22 times a year since the plant was upgraded.

The upgrade occurred only 15 years ago. If it is already not up to scratch this is really concerning.

The West Coast lagoons present their own distinct issues. The Piha and Bethells Lagoons suffer from local septic systems that are not up to scratch.

The local board set up a fund of $50,000 which allowed individual grants of $5,000 to applicants who are upgrading their antiquated septic systems. The idea is to incentivise the replacement of the old systems. The fund has now been fully subscribed. The Retrofit Your Home scheme has also been altered so that residents can borrow from Council up to $35,000 to upgrade their septic systems.

Hopefully once the new systems are in place water quality will improve dramatically. If not then other regulatory approaches will need to be considered.


The third event I wish to refer to is the very successful Waitangi Day celebration recently held at Hoani Waititi Marae.

The event was a mix of the traditional and the modern with the day started with a traditional Powhiri.

Henderson Massey Board member Will Flavell did a great job for us in providing a respectful reply during the speeches and unlike last year Board members were spared the sound of my singing solo!

The organisers did a superb job organising the event. Turnout was huge and on a hot fine day everyone enjoyed the music and food that was on display. My personal favourite was the Mussell fritters.

Waitangi day has been, at least according to the media, a day of dispute and contention. This certainly is not the case on Hoani Waititi Marae on any Waitangi day that I have attended.

The day should be a celebration of our status as a country as well as a day for us to reflect on the injustices meted out to Maori and the forgiveness they have shown for these injustices and the trustees of the Hoani Waititi marae perform this role tremendously.

The event also highlighted what I hope is a strengthening relationship between the board and the trustees of the Marae. The members of the Marae achieve great things and a partnership based on respect and shared values I believe will be very helpful for our community.