|Two vehicles fail to be blown apart while enjoying|
the air weapons range.
TV One last night brought to national attention that fact that four-wheel-drivers and motorcyclists are illegally entering the military Kaipara Air Weapons Range north of Woodhill Forest, risking limb, if not life, for a bit of off-road enjoyment. This time, it wasn't all the off-roaders' fault. The military was blamed for not doing enough to keep them out. There were stern suggestions of a forthcoming "crackdown," and not just from the military; the Iwi doesn't want 4WDs traipsing over their land, either. Access to the "bombing range," as it is popularly known, has been a bone of contention for a couple of decades. Once upon a time, before people started getting fanatical about OSH, off-roaders just went in and everyone turned a blind eye. Nobody died from unexploded bombs although, if unlucky, a vehicle might get a ripped tyre from a piece of debris buried just below the sand. Over the years, the military has blown hot and cold about 4WD use of the range, but last night's publicity probably ensures they'll be doing everything short of sending in the SAS to keep people out. 4wdNewz feels sorry for Peter Vahry, of the Auckland 4WD Club, who tried to provide an off-roader's perspective; his comments had the appearance of being crudely edited.
Here is the 4wdNewz perspective:
The range, with its impressive dunes and other features, is a most wonderful place for recreational off-roading. There is a huge lack of places for Auckland-area enthusiasts to go off-roading, so no wonder people like to go there. The range can be driven perfectly safely (when, of course, Orions and other military equipment aren't actually bombing or firing). Officials need to find a way to let us in.