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I think that we would all agree that there is an excess of unremarkable, or repetitive letters in the "conversations" section of the Hauraki Herald.

But lo and behold - last Friday, we had some really sensible and timely letters, led by that of Denis Tegg drawing out attention to the utterly irresponsible manner in which our Council has failed to follow the "unpublished" draft Government Guidance on 1.9m sea-level rise that should be applied in considering any development proposal. 

Succumbing to the blandishments of developers, and ignoring the realities of sea-level rise has become par for the course  for this Council, as it was for its predecessor. The needs of wealthy developers are always put well ahead of 'silly guidelines,' and the risk to rate-payers arising from any resulting disaster - think Tsunami at Whitianga Waterways, and Whitianga Town Centre, and even miminal inundation at Richmond Village, and liklihood of consequential claims against the Council, and you will get the picture. 

Great letter Denis, well supported by perennial writer, Peter H Wood, and by an entertaining display of Gary Blakes wide knowledge of all things maritime - confusing at times, but on the whole, an excellent reminder of a great number of well known truths. I particularly liked his reference to mangroves when read in conjunction with the article by Teresa Ramsay on Professor Gordon Maxwell - a real expert on the subject, and whose lucid article directly contradicted the amateur mangrove removal experts touting for petition signatures at Saturday's Whangamata Market Day. Jack Wells would have been proud of them. 

The state of the Whangamata harbour would appear to precisely bear out Professor Maxwell's theories, and should be a warning to all those whose anti-mangrove prejudice is placing us all at risk. Public submissions on the bill  (promoted by Scott Simpson) close on 23 February. Be aware that the promoters are mounting a furious campaign to have the bill move through the House and thus give our Council the power to order mangrove removal (after formulating a 'plan' of course!) A majority of our councillors have indicated support for the bill, so if you oppose it, now is the time to submit an objection.    

This was followed by a reasoned reminder by Catherine Delahunty of the dangers of dredging in Coromandel Harbour to enable a marina to be built to accommodate the 'gin palaces' of Auckland's wealthy elite - a favourite holdover from the Leach/Hopper regime, and one that acquired substantial support from his unlamented Economic Development Committee.

Just look at Whangamata, and the other marinas on that coast to see what Coromandel would be in for, but that is a minor consideration when placed up against the dangers of contamination. Catherine's wonderful term "flirting" is well applied to this crazy proposal. When will our councillors ever learn that development is not the 'be-all and end-all' of running this District? Their job is to get the balance right - not fall over themselves to satisfy every developer who comes into sight. Diana Rutherford put her finger right on mark in that regard.

Would it not be wonderful if the HH were able to print letters of such quality on a regular basis? 




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