Tuesday, February 24, 2009


There is enough paper work round our place to papermache a culvert over the ditch at the end of the driveway. That would be illegal of course.

We are well informed of the legalities of the matter as all letters advise us that there will be SERIOUS consequences to doing any earthworks ourselves on THEIR roadside. Sort of a "we are watching you" threat. They (they being the Council and Inroads) haven't figured yet that we haven't touched it - and have no intention of it. It's their muck up, why should we fix it. Besides why destroy evidence.

It's reasonably obvious to me reading between the lines from the snide little comments and sarcasm that Inroads and the Transportion Manager at the Council are a bit of a "boys club" and are having wee discussions about us and our obvious stupidity. They don't want to resolve the problem, they don't give a stuff if we are happy or if we have been treated fairly, they just want us to go away without the need to resort to any sort of back down.

I've been told in some reasonably patronising tones that I have no right to be wasting ratepayers money a couple of times. ("You know it would be inappropriate to use roading funds to fix your individual problems") Well golly gee and heck - that's right, I am a ratepayer, so that's my money and I can't think of a single thing I get for my rates (even joining the library costs $50 a year - so much for allowing the poor access to books) apart from a ditch at the end of the driveway. Oh and some voting papers cos the Mayor died (I voted for the guy that said he was commited to improving the roads BTW).

We had requested a meeting on the roadside. Letter from the Council this morning says they have had a look at the ditch and have no problem with it. Though some of the comments they have made make me wonder if they looked at our piece of ditch or one somewhere else. I asked via email why we hadn't been invited to discuss it at that time as I would have been happy to arrange to be there and was told it was self explanatory and my input wasn't required - but he doesn't actually understand which parts I am referring to. The request for a meeting is now being processed... you know "I'll have to get back to you on that". How hard is consulting the diary and saying "I can see you at (whatever appropriate date and time) will that suit?" This isn't a journey into the wilds of Africa for goodness sake - the round trip and a fairly wideranging discussion will take no more than an hour. Mind you they can't return phone calls either so maybe they all have speech impediments or deepseated fear of phone conversations.

Enough time has been wasted on this by Council and Contractors to just fix the stupid thing. I'm bored with it now so we're going to the next step - the Ombudsman has the complaint, the letter will be posted to Rodney Hide tonight and Councillors will all have letters by early next week.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Dear Reg at Inroads

I note to date we have had no response to our polite letter pointing out the ditch at the end of the drive wasn't acceptable still and requesting you fix it.

In the last few days we had some rain. As it was the end of too many days of humid heat the rain was great. So good we didn't even take an umbrella to walk down to the ditch at the end of the drive. What we found down there made us laugh because we wouldn't let little local government lackeys like you make us angry.

Down at the end of the drive, a couple of metres from the ditch you put in we had a new stream. A bit of an inspection shows your ditch doesn't quite take into account slope and gravity so now we have a wide flow across the drive about two centimeters deep. We never used to have this - even in far heavier rain than what we got in recent days. Now that isn't really acceptable and if it lasts through the winter we will be less amused but at this point in time it is mildly entertaining that your ditch doesn't appear to be doing the job. (The photo collection just gets better all the time)

But the really funny part is that it was moving through reasonably fast - through to the neighbours who started all this in the first place by complaining. A glance over the fence shows it wasn't the puddling effect they used to get - they are now ankle deep through there, and possibly close to getting water into the house itself. We were so amused we almost wet ourselves (I suspect the neighbours heard us laughing insanely, they have been avoiding us since).

You really should have asked that engineer who knew what he was doing before you bowled up with the heavy machinery. I think you may have stuffed it up quite badly.

I think we could probably fix it with a bit of a ditch down the side of our drive - but we have absolutely no intention of doing that. It's your problem after all.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Bureaucracy is coming to get us

Husband got a phone call at work today from the council. Asking for our address.

Hmmm they have his name and phone numbers and know what road he is talking about but can't find the address - the surname is on the more uncommon side and we do own the property in our own names not a company or trust... oh well, whatever.

The reason they need our address? They are going to send a 'request for road repairs' form for us to fill in and return.

Oooookaaaayyyy..... why am I starting to get the feeling this will take some time?

Saturday, February 07, 2009

update on the ditch at the end of the driveway

We got a letter today from Inroads - the people in charge of roading in the district. Not from our friend Roy but from Reg who is a step further up the foodchain. Obviously Roy has run out of things to say to us.

We abjectly and humbly apologise for getting it so wrong. It is all our fault as our access is defective and that apparently gives Inroads the right to just come right along with a grader and put a ditch in it if they think that is the right thing to do.

We didn't know that and we feel terrible that we put these good people to so much trouble over something that is so clearly our fault.

They sent us instructions on how it should look after we fix it. They also sent a permit application as apparently we need to apply to them and pay them a fee before we fix it and then they can make sure that we fix it properly. We'll be getting onto that right away.

Yeah right!

Inroads you are a bunch of jerks to put it more politely than I would normally. That is an absolute cop out and you know it. You did an appalling job on a road that didn't need the work and now you want to make it someone elses fault. And actually if you look at the diagrams you so kindly sent you will find that our access complied until you came along and dug a ditch in it - you didn't taper the sides for nearly far enough when you 'fixed' it you incompetents. So why should we get a permit to put it back the way it was (which was fine according to the diagram) when you wrecked it. Did you have a permit for that - can we see it please? Have you actually looked at what is going on here Reg or did you make this stuff up as you went along?

Every single person I have told about you coming along and wrecking our driveway has been totally appalled at your behaviour and your attitude. That includes more than one council staff member and I'm going to start telling councillors about this very soon (you know the ones who approve your contract to do the roads). I've got photos and now I've got your rude and stupid letter. I'm also going to start telling the Ombudsman, the local paper and Fair Go. You don't think a single letter is going to make us go away do you? You misjudged us if you do.

Friday, February 06, 2009

How confusing - another black bull born this morning.

As their mothers park them in the grass and clear off it is difficult to tell which calf you are looking at.

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Some round the farm photos

Annie being cute
Tee wearing Roxys halter

Roxy wearing her own halter and showing how concerned she is that the shadesail is touching her ears

Little Topaz - who I thought might be smokey black is losing baby fluff fast and is obviously not interested in being smokey black - she's just going to be black. Interesting, when you put a chestnut pinto with a black pinto and throw in a grey gene, solid black isn't really what you expect colourwise.

Tees legs - healing - he still has a wee way to go but they aren't looking too bad.

New boy on the block

There is a bit of a story behind our cows due dates. Back about March last year the neighbours bulls came visiting. There were two empty cows at that point - Aurora and Bonny. We got the vet out to PG them and they got to meet Jack the Dexter bull after that - in April.

So about November Aurora started looking as pictured - as though she might calve at any moment. By December she was in milk and I was expecting a spotty calf to arrive at any time. The relevant dates were she would have been due on the 22nd of December if she was in calf from the neighbours bull invasion but if she was in calf to Jack she would be after the 19th of January. So here we are in February and she still looks ready to calve at any moment and totally unconcerned about it.

In the meantime Bonny decided to just get on with it and yesterday produced a little black bull. His older sister who is still a bit of a mummys girl at 17 months old is not that amused.

Sunday, February 01, 2009

Okay so I am angry anyway

but really this just takes the cake!

Neighbour has been moaning to anyone that listens for ages that the front of his section floods when it rains. A cursory sort of inspection indicates why this is - poor site leveling without any consideration for drainage when they built the house. Further helped by complete lack of maintenance on the ditch outside the property (have seen other neighbours dumping grass clippings in it - don't understand why it doesn't work) He got a quote to get the property properly drained a while ago - $3000.

So when your household income is over 100K a year and you have the option of paying $3K to fix the problem once and for all by a professional what do you do? Not that of course - far too expensive. Instead you ring up and berate the local council about the water coming off the road. Frequently.

After frequent berating the local council gets bored obviously and sends a roading crew out.

Now we've had our road drainage amended in the last year or so, it was done by an engineer who spent several days marking out the bits that needed sorting - he was out there with levels and surveying gear and all sorts of stuff, and he also stood out in the pouring rain (in some nice yellow wet weather gear) one day to see where the water was going and where it wanted to go.
All in all he did a nice job and the water goes away in a logical manner.

That guy wasn't consulted this time.

So we arrive home (both early by coincidence) on Friday to find there is a 200 mm step from the road to our driveway as someone has put a ditch down the side of the road. Husbands work van bottoms out on it, my car takes two careful serpentines to get over it. We get out and 'admire' the day's alteration. It is blatantly obvious that the ditch has been put in to stop the neighbours flooding just by where it begins and ends. The trouble is it hasn't even begun to address the real issue which isn't off the road and what it has done is completely stuffed our access.

So the phone calls begin. Eventually they lead to a character called Roy. "Oh yes" says Roy "I was expecting you to ring - I knew you wouldn't be happy with that" Uhh-huh - that's nice that Roy can see that the job is a little below average "Are you going to fix it then Roy?" "No - your neighbour said it was fine and it is staying like that. If you don't like it you will have to put in a culvert at your own expense" Roy is politely told he hasn't heard the last of it, goodbye...

After several different people a little senior to Roy in the scheme of things have had messages left and a couple more promise to get onto it first thing Monday we regroup over a rum and coke. We move into neighbours from hell mode and tell the neighbour politely but firmly that we will be falling out over this if it continues and we expect he applies as much persistance to having our driveway fixed as he did to the stormwater problem. He reviews the job he thought was just lovely and agrees it probably isn't that good after all.

Some people obviously got onto Roy on Monday as he apparently came out and had a little look and reconsider. Anyway he rang bright and early Tuesday morning and said the access wasn't suitable for a modern car after all and they would be fixing it straight away. He repeated that we would be paying for a culvert if it was necessary though. I explained that if that was the fact we would be seeing his company in the Disputes Tribunal with photos of the general incompetence of their work which I would also be sending to the Council who after all paid for this.

So a few hours later this guy is knocking on my door - "we've fixed your driveway" I go down to have a look. It is a little improved but still not wonderful. I tell him that. He tells me he can't do anything else, he tells me it is the fault of the guys who sealed the road. I explain that it used to work just fine so I can't see how it is the fault of the road - it was all completely functional until they started. He says he won't fill it in again so that is that and goes away.

Roy won't return our calls. Might be time to start writing letters...