Whangārei MP Shane Reti climbed to 17th place in new National Party leader Todd Muller's reshuffle earlier this week. That places Reti in the party's Shadow Cabinet where he is National's spokesman on tertiary, skills and employment, Treaty of Waitangi negotiations, and associate health. He is now the party's highest ranking Māori member after former deputy leader Paula Bennett on number 13. Northland MP Matt King, who is now number 40 in the 48-member list, has been assigned the portfolios of associate transport and regional development (North Island).


Trains in action
Bay of Islands Vintage Railway will be operating trains this Queen's Birthday weekend for Northlanders keen to use their newfound freedoms to get out and explore. Trains will leave Kawakawa Railway Station at 10.45am, noon, 1.15pm and 2.30pm on Saturday, Sunday and Monday. The return trip to Taumarere takes about 50 minutes and costs $20 for adults, $5 for children and nothing for preschoolers. One-way tickets, Gold Card and family discounts available. Passengers will have to complete a Covid-19 contact register. Trains won't be running on Friday.


Donation theft
A Bay of Islands man accused of stealing a charity donation box from Paihia Four Square has appeared in court. Brummen Cooper, 27, appeared in the Kaikohe District Court by audio-visual link on Tuesday charged with theft, escaping custody and possessing a cannabis plant. He also faces three earlier charges of burglary and one each of shoplifting and unlawfully taking a motor vehicle. His next appearance in court will be in person on June 18. Paihia Four Square had since made a donation of $250 to Kidney Kids, the affected charity, to make up for the loss. The charity box is thought to have contained about $60.


Fan zones
Far North communities are being called on to "own the zone" and fundraise for their own projects by supporting next year's America's Cup. Race organisers are asking communities to host official America's Cup FanZones during the races to be held in March 2021. The offer is open to any organisation that can provide a venue with a minimum capacity of 100 people, fast and reliable internet connectivity, and a big television screen to display America's Cup races on. This could include schools, town halls, sailing clubs and marae. Visit fndc.govt.nz/Your-District/Community-initiatives/Americas-Cup-FanZones to apply. Applications must be received by May 29.

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Bylaw amendment
Kaipara District Council has recently completed the 10-year review of its General Consolidated Bylaw, which was undertaken to meet legislative requirements. Following the review, council is now proposing to replace the old bylaw with a new one and is now asking the public for feedback. The proposed changes include removing five parts that are now obsolete, simplifying the way the bylaw is written to make it clearer, and making some significant proposed changes to the Cemeteries and Crematoria and Solid Waste sections. Visit kaipara.govt.nz/council/policies-bylaws-and-legislation/ for more information.