Happy New Year everybody, and welcome to 2019. I'm looking forward to an exciting year for our district but, first, let's all just sit back and enjoy the glorious summer holidays.

Before discussing the (exciting!) topic of rates and revaluations, there's something I need to mention. I'm sure you'll all have noticed that my column is no longer featured in the Report, and I for one lament the loss of a community paper that been part of our lives for more than 35 years.

I can only hope the "parish pump" nature of this much-loved neighbourhood paper will not be lost. I want to take this opportunity to thank the staff, reporters and editors of the Report for all of their hard work over the years. The Northern Advocate will now be hosting my column every fortnight, so be sure to keep an eye out for insights and updates from me in these pages.

Now to the topic of property revaluations, which were carried out by Opteon (as the district council's new valuation service provider), with the revised rating values effective from August 1, 2018. Many of you will have already received your new notices of valuation, if not yet, yours will be in the post soon.

You are welcome to come in and view the district valuation rolls until February 15, 2019 during office hours at Forum North on Rust Ave. If you'd like to lodge an objection, you must do this in writing before February 15. Objection forms are available from Whangārei District Council customer services or online at


Please remember, just because your property valuation has increased, it doesn't necessarily follow that your rates will, too. Your revised rating valuations as at August 1, 2018 will be used for rating purposes from July 1, 2019. If you have any questions, just visit us at council or call us during office hours.

My last message to you is about the summertime rubbish and recycling runs. With the influx to our district over summer (especially coastal areas) we need extra collections to cope. These started on January 4 and will continue until February 9. The Northern Coast areas will have their usual collection on Monday and a second collection on Friday in beach settlement areas, while the Bream Bay coast will have its usual collection on Tuesday and a second collection on Saturday in beach settlement areas.

I hope you're all finding the time to enjoy and explore our spectacular coastal areas this summer, from Langs Beach through to Whangaruru, our natural environment in Northland can't be beat. Remember to be sun smart, and leave only footprints…

Happy holidays everyone.