If you can take one thing away from our top three letter writers, it’s that Cambridge people, and New Zealanders too, should make their voice count.
“What we really do need is more opinions,” said Brian Dunstan, who along with Michael Cole and Stephen Slade has been a regular feature in our letters section for several years now, in fact the trio been sharing their thoughts with this paper and others for several decades.
“The opinion pieces in the local papers are important, it’s the voice of the people,” said Brian.
“People could easily write letters, but I really see nobody coming forward,” said Michael, who was surprised that his November 9 letter in Cambridge News about the need for water restoration in Te Kō Utu lake didn’t prompt any replies from the public.
“I just can’t understand it, I thought there was bound to be someone who would disagree with me!” he laughed.
Regardless of what one’s opinion may be, the men, who between them share 101 years of living in Cambridge, said it’s important for locals to have their say.
“Otherwise you get somebody up ‘there’ (in local or national government) who thinks, oh nobody’s moaned so it must be okay,” Stephen said.
They say Cambridge has changed quite a bit over the years. Once upon a time a person could stand on King St and look out over farm land, during the day the town centre could be quiet as a mouse, and there was no such thing as a supermarket.
“It has changed so dramatically,” said Michael, describing the knock-on effects of an increasing population as a major issue facing Cambridge today – namely the issue of trying to find a car park in town during the day, and trying to cross the main road in Carter’s Flat.
But the men are happy that the town is booming, unlike some of the other towns in the region that were once on the same standing as Cambridge.
“It’s a nice place to be, this is why people come,” Stephen said.
As well as featuring regularly in the paper, the three of them always make an effort to turn out to public gatherings such as the monthly community board meetings and MP Louise Upston’s Friendly Forums in
“We rock the boat a few times,” Brian smiled.
Michael said the biggest bee in his bonnet was the salaries and bonuses given to local and national government representatives, and the travel expenses they use.
“We have people in power who make decisions to suit themselves,” he said, wishing that the money “wasted” could go toward those who need it most.
“You should try to help people as much as you can,” he said.