Letters : Ports and police

Port facilities

I could hardly contain myself when I read the last paragraph of the report about the port facilities ["New port may draw investors", Express, November 5].

The statement by port chief executive Ian McNabb that "buildings and docks would probably be ripped out if the port shifted to Clifford Bay" beggars belief.

If he can't do better than that and offer solutions to guide the company to a future without the Interislander, he shouldn't be in the position. I'll bet he didn't have the authority of the board to issue that statement.

Anyone should be able to see a future for the port as a connection for Blenheim, the West Coast and, very importantly, Nelson - not forgetting the tourists, local and foreign, foot and campervan, who will still wish to travel the best waterway in New Zealand. Hey, then we have the cruise ships.

It just takes will, foresight, diversification and a plan.

Who would want to travel by vessel to Clifford Bay and then backtrack to see the sights or to transport goods?

I think the "other fellas" would do OK and they have huge support - probably a plan as well.



A safe port

So the ferry move is back on the agenda once again. We now have a feasibility study that has already shown the development has blown out from $220 million to $422m. This is just one indication that the "powers that be" will be pouring money into the incoming tide.

The upper Mainland has two existing ports along the coast. Lyttelton harbour needs $1 billion to rejuvenate because of the Canterbury earthquakes.

Picton has proven to be the very safe option when vessels have limited time in open water and, with the great scenery of the Marlborough Sounds, it is where New Zealand gets to go on holiday.

What is the purpose of this new terminal? The rate of return for this $422m investment would not meet any shareholder criteria.

To build a new ferry terminal so freight and trains can have a shorter distance travelling to Christchurch, but Christchurch has a broken port, and the powers that be need to find huge funds for the refit.

Shouldn't the powers that be think this is a big enough rip to get out of?



Picton's future

The removal of the interislander ferries from Picton, should it happen, will be the making of Picton. With it should see the demise of the small-town mindset of the Picton business community and, hopefully, see the emergence of a more vibrant, stroppy people who will promote their businesses to New Zealand and the world.

Picton must promote itself, rather than being an add-on to Blenheim-based Destination Marlborough's portfolio to do the job for them.

Passenger ferries are still going to come. In fact, the current Bluebridge ferry may decide to remain. But many others will start up. They have in the past, but have been killed off by the Interislander in its various previous guises. Think of the Top Cat fast ferry that was undercut by the Interislander until it folded, and the various attempts to operate out of Paremata.

With freight going to Clifford Bay and Picton ferry traffic signage directing travellers into town and not down Kent St and out, Picton would probably become the main destination in Marlborough.

While I see in today's paper that Ian NcNabb, of Port Marlborough, is threatening to rip out Picton's ferry terminal if the shift to Clifford Bay goes ahead, it only needs the people of Picton to take charge of their own town.

New Zealand's dollar won't stay up. The tourists will return.

There is a great future ahead for Picton.


Picton Report disappoints

I would like to express my disappointment at the lack of accuracy in your reported account of an Independent Police Conduct Authority complaint from a 15-year-old about the Blenheim police [Express, November 5].

The police have not received a complaint about the boy being held in custody overnight.

The police have fully investigated the dog bite claim and established it had no basis in fact. The dog handler has confirmed the dog never came in contact with the boy and a doctor who examined him shortly after his arrest also confirmed there was no injury consistent with a dog bite, or any other use of force.

The 15-year-old in question was located shortly before midnight and identified as one of three people alleged to have been involved in an assault at a party which police had been called to.

The trio, all of a similar age, fled from the police. The complainant was tracked by a police dog into scrubland. He was apprehended without coming into contact with the dog.

He was then identified as being in breach of his bail conditions and was intoxicated and abusive.

The police arrested him for breaching bail and elected to hold him in custody to prevent further offending. The next morning, he was released into the custody of Child, Youth and Family. This action was lawful and appropriate.

The police are mindful of the importance of maintaining a high level of public trust and confidence in all aspects of their work.

I would appreciate your attention to ensuring your reports provide an accurate and balanced view of any police activities.



Tasman police district

The Marlborough Express