Local "good sorts" giving up summer chill time to educate freedom campers, have now completed training and begin their evening visits to Whangārei's designated freedom camping sites. The ambassadors, who started patrolling Whangārei freedom camping sites on Friday, form a significant component of this summer's enhanced freedom camping management programme. This season, the ambassadors will extend their evening presence at Whangārei's 13 most popular freedom camping sites by three weeks, starting earlier than last year on December 13 and finishing almost two weeks later on February 21.

Electricity distribution upped

Northpower electricity consumers will receive around $10.2 million thanks to Northpower and the Northpower Trust, an increase on the distribution consumers received in December 2018. "We've lifted the amount and locked it in earlier this year so that our customers know what to expect. It's all part of work under way to make things simple, and lift our contribution locally," says Northpower chief executive Andrew McLeod, a point backed by Northpower Trustees. Most residential and business electricity customers connected to Northpower's network benefit from a discount of $220.80 inc GST. The only exception to this will be those using less than 2000 kWh per year, who will receive a discount of $63.25inc GST. The discount will be shown as a credit on customer's December electricity bills. However, some retailers paid earlier than expected, so customers should check their November bill as well. Since 1993, Northpower and the Northpower Trust have given back $217 million directly to electricity consumers in Kaipara and Whangarei. There are currently more than 60,000 electricity connections on the Northpower network. The Northpower Trust owns Northpower on behalf of consumers connected to Northpower's electricity network in Whangārei and Kaipara Districts.

Brynderwyns roadworks continue

The northbound passing lane on the south side of the Brynderwyns Hills on State Highway 1 will remain closed until March. Work to repair a failed retaining wall on the northbound side of the road has now been completed, however a second retaining wall on the same stretch of road is at risk of failing. Work will get underway to repair the second retaining wall in January, NZTA's Northland system manager Jacqui Hori-Hoult said. The northbound passing lane will remain closed until the second retaining wall is repaired and final road resurfacing is completed. In the meantime, there is a lane open to traffic in both directions. "We acknowledge the disruption this is causing our customers. Over the Christmas holiday period there will be no work on site and we will move the temporary barrier back to widen the lanes and raise the speed limit to 80km/h. From the middle of January, the barriers will be shifted again, and a speed restriction of 30km/h will remain in place until work is completed in March."