An episode from a TV series raising awareness of a charity granting wishes to sick children — while also highlighting some of Northland's top attractions — will go to air later this month. Adventure All Stars is fronted by Erin Simpson and follows six Kiwis who have fundraised for Make-A-Wish New Zealand as they travel around the country trying out various activities. Episode one was filmed in the Bay of Islands, Karikari Peninsula, Ninety Mile Beach, Hokianga and Kaipara over five days last August. It will screen on TV1 at 2pm on Sunday, April 19. Wishes granted by Make-A-Wish vary from something as simple as an iPad to meeting a sporting legend or constructing a bedroom entirely out of Lego.
Water curbs easing
A sharp drop in tourist numbers is one of the factors that has allowed water restrictions to be eased in Paihia. As of Tuesday Level 3 water restrictions apply to homes and businesses connected to the Paihia-Opua-Waitangi supply, which means residents will be able to use hand-held hoses — but not sprinklers or automatic irrigators — to water their gardens. They can also wash cars and boats using buckets but they can't fill swimming pools. Far North District Council infrastructure manager Andy Finch said restrictions could be relaxed because the source, Waitangi River, was a substantial waterway and not subject to Northland Regional Council water flow consent limits. A reduction in the number of tourists had also reduced demand. ''Unfortunately, all our other water sources remain seriously depleted and are running well below consented limits. We cannot relax restrictions on these until they have recovered. This will require significant rainfall." Areas still subject to strict Level 4 restrictions, where only essential use is permitted, are Rawene-Ōmanaia, Kawakawa-Moerewa, Kaikohe and Kaitaia.
Union calls for PGF input
The construction workers' union Awunz is calling on Infrastructure Minister Shane Jones to prioritise job creation and give unions a say when it comes to Provincial Growth Fund projects. Awunz spokesman Maurice Davis said too many PGF projects had languished since 2017, including Invercargill regeneration, marine farming in Opotiki and roundabouts in Kerikeri. ''Zero new jobs exist from these announcements other than consultants. This is a time when workers are being made redundant, firms are feeling the heat of bankruptcy and Wellington officials have got cold feet,'' Davis said. "For these reasons Shane Jones must ensure all future PGF decisions are made by a panel that mixes union membership as well as provincial firms. Everyone knows it takes too long for his system to deliver results. We need local decision-making close to where the provincial pain is."
Pressure on milk prices
Northland dairy farmers are being warned to plan for lower milk prices in the upcoming dairy season. After a period of strong and stable New Zealand dairy prices, the ongoing impacts of Covid-19 will keep downward pressure on global dairy commodity prices through much of 2020. And as a result, New Zealand dairy farmers can expect a lower farmgate milk price for the 2020/21 season, according to a new report from agricultural banking specialist Rabobank. In the report, New Zealand Dairy Seasonal Outlook: Battening down the Hatches, Rabobank says a number of factors linked to Covid-19 – including reduced Chinese imports, supply chain disruptions and consumption pull-back – combined with modestly rising dairy surpluses in export regions, will lead to an extended down cycle in global dairy markets.
Vehicle licence leeway
The Government is extending expired or expiring licences and Warrants of Fitness to enable essential travel. Transport Minister Phil Twyford said all driver licences, WoFs, CoFs, and some vehicle certifications, that expired on or after January 1, 2020 would now be valid for up to six months from April 10, 2020. Other changes included extending licence endorsements that expired on or after March 1, 2020 and a suspension of the requirement to display a current vehicle licence (rego) if it expired on or after January 1, 2020.
Libraries still loaning eBooks
Far North Libraries are still loaning books during the pandemic lockdown to anyone who can access the internet. All Far North libraries are closed for the duration of the Covid-19 lockdown, but library members can still borrow a wide range of eBooks and eAudiobooks online and read or listen to these through their home computers or mobile devices. "Don't let the fact that libraries are closed stop you from reading or learning new skills," district services general manager Dean Myburgh said. "We have a whole world of books and educational material accessible to members and non-members who can connect online."