The last of six projects to improve State Highway 1 through Whangārei gets under way next week. The upgrade of the Tarewa Road intersection with SH1 is part of the Whangārei Urban Improvements package to improve the state highway through Whangārei by easing bottlenecks and improving traffic flow, safety and cycling connections.
The work is expected to be completed in early 2020. At the same time, Whangārei District Council will upgrade two intersections on nearby Porowini Avenue - at Tawera Rd and Maunu Rd. The works will start and finish during the period of the SH1/Tarewa Rd upgrade. The NZ Transport Agency and the district council will work closely together to minimise the impact on traffic flows. A second project will start in December to upgrade the Maunu Rd/Porowini Ave intersection.

Trial continues

Evidence for the crown in the trial of a gang member charged with killing a fellow member in Kaitaia is nearly complete. The trial that started two weeks ago before Justice Mathew Downs in the High Court at Whangārei will continue on Monday with the final crown witness to give evidence. Rawden "Big Boy" Yates is accused of killing fellow Tribesmen gang member 48-year-old Kimble Moore in the Far North in 2016. Moore was shot in the back three times before his body was found buried in a shallow grave in the Fairburn area, six months after he was reported missing. The defence is yet to indicate to the court whether it will call evidence or not. On Friday police expert Detective Inspector Craig Scott gave evidence about gang culture and inter-gang conflict.

Recycle oral waste to win

Northland youngsters from pre-schoolers to high schools are being urged to collect toothpastes tubes and other oral care waste, to be in with a chance of winning a recycled garden set. They have until November 16 to collect oral care waste and send it to TerraCycle, with two schools to win garden sets comprising a garden bed, a park bench and a bin, all made from recycled materials, and a $300 gardening voucher to buy seeds and plants. There will also be monthly draws for packs of 90 pencil cases made from recycled toothpaste tubes. Details are at www.terracycle.co.nz/colgategarden; people can vote for their favourite school at www.terracycle.co.nz/colgategardenvoting. Recyclable waste includes toothpaste tubes and caps, toothbrushes, their packaging and floss containers.

Water review meeting

Water New Zealand representatives will be in Whangārei on Monday talking to sector leaders about the Government's drinking, storm and waste water review process.
A number of workshops around the country will focus on possible models for water supply and key functions for a new drinking water regulator, as well enable sector interests to voice concerns and discuss local issues. Water NZ will gather feedback for its position on water regulation and delivery options the Government should consider. It will table a written submission with Department of Internal Affairs in mid-September.
The Whangārei event is Monday August 13, Forum North, 9am-12pm.

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Bag decision welcomed

Yesterday's announcement the Government plans to phase out single-use plastic bags over the next year has been welcomed by the Northland Regional Council. The proposed ban comes after mounting consumer pressure for such a move and agents like Local Government New Zealand (LGNZ). NRC deputy chairman David Sinclair said he was keen for local and central government to do more in their sphere of influence. Meantime, the council has supported clean-up efforts dealing with fall-out from the plastic packaging problem, for example its Long Term Plan commitment to contribute $25,000 annually to Sea Cleaners Trust.

Clarification

A brief article in Thursday's The Country section said national organic standards were being developed by Organic Aotearoa NZ and the Ministry for Primary Industries. This may have given the impression that MPI and Organic Aotearoa are working together in partnership. In fact Organic Aotearoa was among interested parties invited to provide submissions during consultation on changes to the way organic production is regulated. There were 208 submissions.