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Ask Phoebe: Who controls the lights?

By Phoebe Falconer

8 comments
Problems with street lighting are handled by two transport agencies, one local, one national. Photo / Greg Bowker
Problems with street lighting are handled by two transport agencies, one local, one national. Photo / Greg Bowker

Is there a little man (or woman - Ed.) somewhere in Auckland who switches the street lights and the motorway overhead lights on and off every evening and morning? Some days he seems to be a bit early switching them on; some days he is late switching them off. It can't always be for maintenance reasons because it happens so frequently. If a light sensor is involved, then it is faulty. Who pays for this wasted electricity - taxpayers or ratepayers? Les Howe, Auckland.

Two questions, two answers. The street lights in the Auckland Council area are the responsibility of Auckland Transport. If you have a problem with lights on or off at inappropriate times, or otherwise faulty or dangerous lights, you can contact AT on (09) 355-3553 with full details of the offending lights, and AT's Road Corridor Operations team will attend to it. I have done this in the past, with commendably fast results.

As this is a local body issue, I would assume that the ratepayer foots the bill.

Motorway lights are the responsibility of the NZ Transport Agency, which is funded by the taxpayer. Perceived faults should be reported to your nearest contact centre; a list of them is found at www.nzta.govt.nz/about/contact/index.html

On the grassy area in the middle of the Western Springs/Zoo carpark are some big trees with large, low branches, perfect for small kids to climb. My daughter was climbing one of these trees when the car parking warden approached us and asked her to get down from the tree, saying it was a "health and safety" issue. Can this be right? Does this mean that tree climbing is officially not allowed on any Auckland Council property? It seems like an unusual policy when child development experts are urging parents to get their kids outside climbing trees. Raewyn Hooper, Auckland.

Mark Bowater, manager for Auckland Council local and sports parks, says that while there are bylaws to protect trees from damage, there are generally no policies prohibiting children from climbing trees.

There are many trees in parks across the region that have low branches, and these can provide a safe opportunity for adventurous child development, dependent on age and parental supervision.

Mr Bowater goes on to say the car park at Auckland Zoo is quite busy and, while he appreciates the trees there are probably great for climbing, it's possible the parking warden was just concerned about safety, given the proximity to cars.

* A recent column said that no texting services were available for people to contact police, fire and ambulance.

Deborah Leahy, Henderson's Community Constable, tells me police have a texting service for the deaf and hearing-impaired giving direct access to all emergency services.

There are plans to extend it to other areas of the community.

If you would like to use this service, you must register your name with the police.

For more information visit www.police.govt.nz/deaf-txt or www.deaf.org.nz and use the link.

- NZ Herald

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