Now it’s our prob­lem

The Northland Age - - Opinion -

We were in­ter­ested in the ar­ti­cle by Im­ran Ali in the North­ern Ad­vo­cate (Novem­ber 3) re­gard­ing the cur­rent Gov­ern­ment buy­ing a park in Whanga¯ rei, with the goal of build­ing houses. It seemed that Dr Shane Reti, who sup­plied in­for­ma­tion un­der the OIA, did so in sup­port of the nearby res­i­dents who will be af­fected by the pro­posed hous­ing com­plex, say­ing that the peo­ple of the dis­trict, and not HNZ, should de­ter­mine the fu­ture shape of the city.

In our opin­ion, that state­ment is shal­low. Over the nine years that Na­tional was in gov­ern­ment, Na­tional al­lowed mas­sive im­mi­gra­tion of 70,000-plus per year.

Where were those 630,000-plus peo­ple to live? New Zealan­ders were be­ing dis­placed, sleep­ing in parks and shop door­ways. Now this prob­lem has moved to the re­gions.

Auck­lan­ders sit in their cars for hours each day, com­mut­ing to work, and 30,000-plus more cars are reg­is­tered each year, com­pound­ing the prob­lem. It is pro­posed to take pre­cious na­tive bush in the Waitak­eres for a dam, as water sup­ply will not meet the in­creased pop­u­la­tion re­quire­ments. Auck­lan­ders are pay­ing an in­creased petrol tax be­cause road­ing is now in­suf­fi­cient.

There was no pub­lic con­sul­ta­tion as to whether Auck­lan­ders wanted mas­sive mi­gra­tion, or were pre­pared to pay for it.

Labour in­her­ited this prob­lem and is pro­duc­ing a so­lu­tion.

Do we want all of our parks and land cov­ered in houses? Do we want our house and sec­tion sizes re­duced? The long-term ram­i­fi­ca­tions of that is the land is cov­ered, and rain­wa­ter has nowhere to go ex­cept through the pub­lic stormwa­ter drainage sys­tem. The con­se­quence of this is flood­ing.

In these sub­di­vi­sions, should we be con­sid­er­ing man­dat­ing six-foot drains along the sides of the roads, to take away the rain­wa­ter, as ex­ists in some Asian coun­tries?

The bot­tom line is that New Zealan­ders, and we in­clude the newl­yarrived ones, all de­serve to have a safe, warm house for their fam­i­lies.

This po­lit­i­cal argy-bargy about hous­ing New Zealan­ders is un­ac­cept­able. We wrote let­ters re­gard­ing lack of in­fra­struc­ture for such high im­mi­gra­tion poli­cies, but this was ig­nored. We were told that high im­mi­gra­tion was of eco­nomic ben­e­fit. Where is the ev­i­dence?

It doesn’t take much in­tel­li­gence to know that when Auck­land reached sat­u­ra­tion point, the prob­lem would move to the prov­inces.

Tak­ing away parks, or­chards and mar­ket gar­dens for hous­ing, as hap­pened in Auck­land, will have longterm reper­cus­sions. We do not want the same thing to hap­pen in Whanga¯ rei.

In­ten­sive hous­ing to house peo­ple im­me­di­ately is a short-term so­lu­tion. Long-term, we must think about the num­bers com­ing into the coun­try, and en­sure there is the in­fra­struc­ture in place for them — hous­ing, road­ing, elec­tric­ity, water, stormwa­ter drainage, sewage retic­u­la­tion, etc. Im­mi­gra­tion, un­less to re­unite fam­i­lies, should be put on hold un­til our in­fra­struc­ture is ad­e­quate.

We also need con­sul­ta­tion on im­mi­gra­tion and its ef­fects on our com­mu­ni­ties, as stated by Dr Reti. BEV­ER­LEY ALDRIDGE/KATH­LEEN

PAT­TIN­SON Ota­matea Grey Power

"The bot­tom line is that New Zealan­ders, and we in­clude the newly-ar­rived ones, all de­serve to have a safe, warm house for their fam­i­lies."

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