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Mike Yardley: The voices of naggers and nit-pickers are loud and damaging

Mike Yardley,
Publish Date
Friday, 12 July 2019, 2:28PM
Developers have complained about noise from the Whenuapai Air Force base, bringing up questions about its future. Photo / Dean Purcell

Are we increasingly becoming a nation of tut-tutters?

Amid the glow of the Black Caps boilover in Manchester yesterday, the Defence Minister unveiled a sweeping review of all Defence Force bases and real estate.

Many of their assets are run down and outdated, with much of their land portfolio unchanged since World War Two.

However, another dynamic driving the considerations are nimbies.

Ron Mark has revealed that Whenuapai Air Force Base is under threat. Some flash harry property developer has bought land right next to the base, and is hauling the Defence Force before the Environment Court on the grounds that the planes are too noisy. And the air base needs to be muted for the sake of residents.

Can you believe this.

This is our nation’s largest base. It was once considered remote, but encroaching urban development and the ensuing whingers are now threatening the future of its operations.

The property developer doesn’t want the aircraft engines to run at night or after dark.

And the scary thing is that the naggers and nit-pickers are likely to get a favourable reception at the Environment Court. The RMA has emboldened these whiners to wreak havoc, by getting noise pollution adjudged as a major environmental hazard.

In my hometown in Christchurch, we have a ridiculous situation whereby Ruapuna Speedway has been the subject of a relentless campaign by mishchief-making residents. The Speedway has been there for decades.

So the city council has ended up buying up a stack in houses in close proximity to the speedway. It cost the ratepayer a bomb to silence the squealing, complaining residents. They were given a cheque. And those houses now sit empty. But it was the only way to save the raceway, because of the Environment Court.

Ron Mark has also intimated that the naval base at Devonport may also up sticks and sail off to Northland, far away from urban squawkers starting to cause trouble. Yes, the navy is too noisy for some Devonport lovelies.

Isn’t this is a truly farcical situation. It’s another compelling reason why we need major reforms to the RMA to rein the excesses of the nimbys, the naggers and nit-pickers. Their voice is too loud and destructive.

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