Rodney Times - - FRONT PAGE -

Af­ter wit­ness­ing two sad mo­ments I just had to write a letter in the hope that what I saw can be stopped.

We were at a birth­day func­tion marred by what can only be de­scribed as ‘‘ad­dicts’ tragedy’’.

In a nearby pokie room or ‘‘gam­ing lounge’’ was a girl of seven or eight sitting by her­self at the cen­tre. She was hang­ing on to a small clock.

I re­alised that her mother was in the pokie room gam­bling away the fam­ily money and this poor child watched the clock and went up to her mother at the door and asked to go home about ev­ery 15 min­utes. The mother made her sit down so she could keep play­ing. At one stage, she was kind enough to of­fer her a $2 coin so the girl could play one of the chil­dren’s amuse­ments. This was given be­grudg­ingly and only af­ter the girl went up to her mother at least five times. I asked at the counter if that be­hav­iour was al­lowed, and staff said it hap­pened all the time. I said they should say some­thing, but they said they weren’t al­lowed to.

Even­tu­ally the mother and girl left, but her sad lit­tle face was etched on my mind.

Then about 45 min­utes later, an­other mother ar­rived, this time with a boy about 10, and she did ex­actly the same thing – gam­bled in the pokie room while her son sat by him­self. He got so bored he started look­ing for food or money un­der the seat­ing. When we packed up and left at 5.45pm, she was still there and that boy was still wait­ing for his mother to stop gam­bling.

Both these women were in their 30s or early 40s – one Euro­pean, one Maori.

Pok­ies are a blight on our so­ci­ety and now kids are be­ing ne­glected, left unloved, sad and hun­gry.

Could you please get this out in the pub­lic do­main so it might put a stop to it? Trudi Nel­son

Red Beach

In typ­i­cal fash­ion for re­or­gan­i­sa­tions such as has been foisted upon us, the cen­tral bu­reau­cracy has be­come more om­nipo­tent – and prob­a­bly grown – while the ru­ral limbs have been weak­ened.

As I re­call, in the orig­i­nal pro­pos­als for the Auck­land Coun­cil there were no boards. They were added as a sop to those who sug­gested that the sys­tem lacked re­gional rep­re­sen­ta­tion. It did. How­ever, the out­come is ac­tu­ally worse than the orig­i­nal pro­pos­als. We are now pay­ing boards a lot of money to achieve very lit­tle. Not only must that be very ir­ri­tat­ing and de­mor­al­is­ing to board mem­bers – it is money we can­not af­ford.

I see we need to ‘‘Get ready for a rates rise’’. I rest my case. John Cle­ments

Orewa an­other im­por­tant log­ging is­sue as yet not ap­par­ently thought sig­nif­i­cant enough to cre­ate dis­cus­sion. It re­lates to the enor­mous costs cre­ated from roads dam­aged by heavy trucks in­volved in log­ging op­er­a­tions over met­alled roads in wet weather on hilly ter­rain.

Con­tin­u­ous use by the log­gers of Kripp­ner and other Rod­ney ru­ral roads im­pose huge costs that are very sig­nif­i­cantly be­yond their re­cov­ery from nor­mal lev­els of rates.

In fact, stud­ies prove that around 30 times stan­dard road main­te­nance costs are cre­ated from log­ging truck op­er­a­tions. Nor­mal lev­els of coun­cil rates paid on for­est lands will not cover any of these ad­di­tional road main­te­nance costs.

Many other New Zealand coun­cils cover such costs by im­ple­ment­ing ad­di­tional tar­geted forestry rates. The South­land District Coun­cil led the way on this in 2004. Many oth­ers have fol­lowed suit. Ad­di­tional sig­nif­i­cant sums of fi­nan­cial bonds are re­quired from log­gers.

I won­der if our coun­cil has these mat­ters cov­ered? Per­haps we might ex­pect a full and un­am­bigu­ous re­sponse on the is­sues raised? Larry Mitchell


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