Local author misses out

Northland writer David Vann has missed out on New Zealand's top book award.

Alaskan-born Vann, who lived at Taupō Bay in the Far North until last year, was one of four finalists for the $55,000 fiction prize in the Ockham New Zealand Book Awards announced on Tuesday evening.

The prize went to Becky Manawatu, a reporter at Westport News, for her debut novel Auē. She also won the best first book award. Vann's novel, Halibut on the Moon, is his 10th book.

Vann's presence on the shortlist caused a stir in literary circles because few realised he was a New Zealand resident and hence eligible for the award.

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Free parking

Parking is free in Whangārei until June 1, "to make things a little easier as we all get used to Covid-19 level 2", the Whangārei District Council says.

Drivers still need to stick to the parking time limits, so people getting to the shops for the first time in weeks will be able to find parking. Parking wardens will enforce this.

Libraries re-open

All Far North District Council libraries have re-opened, but with reduced services. Kaitaia, Kerikeri, Kaikohe, Kawakawa and Paihia libraries will be open Mondays to Fridays, 10am-2pm, while Kaeo Library will be open on Tuesdays and Thursdays, 10am-2pm.

Services will be limited to book returning/borrowing only and the number of people inside at any one time will be limited. Library users must register on arrival to allow Covid-19 contact tracing.

Boost for conservation

Northland is among the beneficiaries of the Government's biosecurity and conservation projects for redeployed workers in a bid to get the regional economy moving again.

The new projects in Northland, East Coast, Hawke's Bay and Canterbury are part of a $100 million redeployment support package announced in March and will tackle the invasive weed – wilding pines, a $4.6 billion dollar threat to farmland, waterways and ecosystems.

The Government has allocated $1 million for projects managed by the Northland Regional Council.

Initially, work in Northland will focus on infestations surrounding the Awanui River, where trees are creating a flood-risk for Kaitāia. Work along the Kaihū River near Dargaville will remove wilding pines and other problem trees.

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Rates consultation

Whangārei District Council public consultation over its proposed 2.2 per cent Covid-19 rates reset for the coming 2020/2021 year has started. The consultation closing date has changed to Thursday, June 4, not Friday, June 12 as it had originally stated.

Retirement village bought

A power company has bought a 49.9 per cent stake in Quail Ridge Country Club, a retirement village in Kerikeri, and its associated building company Kerikeri Falls Investment.

Electra, a lines company delivering power to the Kapiti and Horowhenua regions, announced its purchase on Tuesday. Electra chief executive Neil Simmonds said, once complete, Quail Ridge would have 219 units in a mix of stand-alone homes, terrace houses and apartments, along with a clubhouse, pool, bowling green and care facility.

Quail Ridge is accessed off Rainbow Falls Rd and was founded by Don and Jill Cottle who original had an orchard on the site. Electra also owns Securely, a home and medical alarm company.

Correction

A story published on Saturday, May 9 about the Whangārei economy taking a $197 million hit in next year, talked of the pandemic's huge impact across the district, construction among areas hardest hit.

Residential construction is forecast to fall by just over 25 per cent, non-residential by almost 30 per cent over the coming year.

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The combined total impact of these two sector parts should be a 26 per cent fall for district construction, not the almost 55 per cent as reported in the story.