Smoke sig­nal or smoke screen?

Auckland City Harbour News - - OPINION -

Don’t be fooled.

The not-so-su­per Auck­land city plan which could force you to aban­don a cosy old friend, your open fire, wasn’t scrapped af­ter sparks flew over the sug­gested ban late last year.

Ai­dan Crab­tree wrote this let­ter:

‘‘The pro­posed by­law has been put on hold yet again. Is the hope that if it is put off enough times it may get to slip through un­no­ticed?

‘‘Why hasn’t this idea been scrapped all to­gether by now? Are they hop­ing the protest will die down?

‘‘Auck­land has the Pa­cific Ocean on one side, and very close by, on the other side, the Tas­man Sea.

‘‘I think we get enough wind to move any par­ti­cles that may be around dur­ing the windy win­ter months.

‘‘Dur­ing the sum­mer, on the other hand, we may not have the wind, so why not look at the other forms of pol­lu­tion that re­ally mat­ter? Too hard?’’

That drew this re­sponse from a very high place – Auck­land Coun­cil, level 21, 135 Al­bert St, the new mul­ti­mil­lion-dollar head­quar­ters. ‘‘Hi Ai­dan. ‘‘The pro­posed by­law that might re­quire an open fire and wood burner ban in ur­ban ar­eas of Auck­land at some time in the fu­ture has been put on hold for a few months while the coun­cil con- siders its ef­fects on the com­mu­nity. A com­mit­tee of the coun­cil may con­sider this mat­ter again in April this year and amend the pro­posed by­law.

‘‘If the coun­cil wants to pro­ceed with the by­law in what­ever form it takes, there will be an ex­ten­sive public con­sul­ta­tion process which you can par­tic­i­pate in.

‘‘This is likely at this stage to be in the mid­dle of the year. ‘‘Thanks, Colin.’’ He is Colin Craig, the coun­cil’s ‘‘Prin­ci­pal Pol­icy An­a­lyst/So­cial Pol­icy and By­laws/Com­mu­nity and So­cial Pol­icy’’.

Ques­tions: Is the coun­cil putting what in this con­text could be called ‘‘a smoke screen’’ to cover a back­down on its ear­lier sug­ges­tion of a wood­burner ban?

Or is it send­ing a smoke sig­nal of in­tent to press on re­gard­less against wood­burn­ers?

Also in the mail, a let­ter of sup­port, a cor­rec­tion – and a fur­ther er­ror:

‘‘I al­ways read your ar­ti­cles and to­tally agree with most of your com­ments and ob­ser­va­tions, par­tic­u­larly your ef­forts to try to make Welling­to­ni­ans see what a dis­as­ter the Auck­land su­per-city amal­ga­ma­tion has been.

‘‘As a grand­daugh­ter of Ge­orge Hutchi­son I must point out the er­ror in your col­umn ‘ Jolisa had the wood on them’ where you named my grand­fa­ther Mr G V Hutchinson when his name was Mr G W Hutchi­son.

‘‘See ar­ti­cle be­low which I am happy for you to pub­lish.

‘‘A search of the ar­chives of the Auck­land City Coun­cil meet­ing min­utes dur­ing his time as mayor makes in­ter­est­ing read­ing.

‘‘The mayor and coun­cil­lors of that time con­cen­trated on ba­sic core mat­ters for the bet­ter­ment of the city and its ratepay­ers, not grandiose schemes to en­hance their egos like hobby horses – trains.

‘‘It’s a pity and dis­ap­point­ment that since may­ors and coun­cil­lors have re­ceived pay­ment for their roles serv­ing ratepay­ers, their fo­cus has moved away from en­sur­ing the core busi­ness of coun­cils is han­dled ef­fi­ciently and cost ef­fec­tively.

‘‘In­stead they spend their time and ef­forts on de­vis­ing more and more ways to lump ratepay­ers with be­ing charged more rates to pay for ex­pen­sive, non-es­sen­tial schemes and en­ter­prises while re­duc­ing core ser­vices.

‘‘Keep writ­ing ar­ti­cles that raise aware­ness of is­sues of im­por­tance to Auck­lan­ders and oth­ers.’’ – C G Hutchi­son

At­tached to this let­ter was a bi­o­graph­i­cal ref­er­ence which ended with this: ‘‘Hutchinson was suc­ceeded as mayor by Sir Ernest Davis in 1935.’’

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