Road block stays till dust goes - Pipiwai locals

By Dean Nathan

Locals living in the Pipiwai Valley in Northland staged another road block today to protest against what they describe is inaction from local government in dealing with a long standing dust problem and they're determined to stay until the needs of the communities on inland roads are met.

"This time we're not moving and our action won't finish until our needs are met and we have it in writing," says local resident Puti Tipene.

It's the fourth time in five years they've taken this action at the intersection of Pipiwai and Omauri Roads and the irony of an absence of dust during the protest was not lost on them.

"What's great right now is that its peaceful here and theres no dust which is the crux of the issue.  This action is a form of communication with those who haven't listened to us to date, namely the truck companies and the respective councils," says Ngatihine elder Hirini Henare.

Puti says those living on the inland roads from the community of Pipiwai say the level of dust created over summer is a travesty of their human rights, "When the trucks go past the corner their dust follows them for another three kilometres or so.  And Māori in this community are being affected but the powers that be don't agree that its an issue."

"It doesn't just effect the heart," says Henare, but high levels of dust is having a detrimental effect on the local water supply and environment.  "The dust gets into your eyes, it affects the heart and is no good in general for one's body."