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Outrageous for Tuhoe to block road sealing

Opinion Piece

As a citizen, taxpayer and ratepayer, I am outraged that Tuhoe have stopped the sealing of State Highway 38 to Onepoto, with spurious claims of environmental damage. This road services a rural community, and the 10km yet to be sealed are not inside the boundary of Te Urewera.

The Tuai area is economically challenged with few employment opportunities. Vehicle maintenance costs are an added burden to the people. I ran a shuttle service up there and my biggest expense was maintenance due to the road conditions.

It is clear that Tuhoe have an agenda to restrict use of Te Urewera. The rubbish issue at the lake was exacerbated by their failure to carry out the regular rubbish collections that were in place when DoC ran it. This was a ploy to blame the user.

There has always been a rubbish collection at Mokau and campers pay for their stay, so the expectations have always been there. However, I do agree that you should take away what you brought in.

There have also been instances of people camping down at the lake (not on the reserves) being ordered off with no explanation given, just told you are not allowed here.

The government contributes 50 percent of the budget so Tuhoe can manage it on behalf of all. Ownership remains in the hands of all New Zealanders.

Personally, we have only ever left our footprints in Te Urewera.

Tegwen Dods