Preparing for a beach grab

The Taranaki Daily News has long been an unofficial public relations arm of Port Taranaki.

I observe with alarm the February 13 editorial ''Lawless Protest Spoils Idyllic Beach For All'', part of a massive and unwarranted overreaction.

To say that ''the port has no option but to make significant changes to security'' is again preparing us for some draconian limitation of access, while Auckland and Wellington ports have improved access. Surely the question should be asked of the port and owners of the vessels about boosting existing security arrangements.

There is always risk; remember 1985, a ''brave'' French secret service bombing of the Greenpeace ship Rainbow Warrior in Auckland's port.

Closing the beach and lee breakwater to the public, stopping the leases of the restaurants or restricting recreation vessels from the port would be a massive loss to Taranaki.

The unnecessary plans to push port access down Belt Rd tells us about what are perhaps the intentions of the port company. There is a background; in the 90s the port tried to rezone the Ngamotu Beach green space as industrial. The city planning process ensured the many objections were heard and the rezoning was thrown out.

The port would benefit hugely from locking people out of Ngamotu, reclaiming another chunk of ''former'' beach and renting it out to industry. This creation of instant land through reclamation has long been an attractive option for ports.

Development is one thing, destroying a community asset is quite another.


New Plymouth

Taranaki Daily News