Two petitions calling for planned breakwaters or sea walls around Paihia to be scrapped have been received by Far North District councillors. The petitions, one with 857 physical signatures and the other with 3214 names submitted online, were handed to councillor Kelly Stratford last month and tabled at Thursday's meeting in Kaikohe. Neither supporters nor opponents of the controversial $8 million PGF-funded project attended the meeting. Mayor John Carter said he would take advice on what to do about the petitions.
Lights turned on
A popular twilight event celebrating Matariki and raising funds for a Mid North school is due to go ahead this Saturday after bad weather last weekend forced its postponement. Oromahoe School's Matariki Light Festival will start at 4pm on Oromahoe School Rd, off SH10 south of Puketona Junction. Attarctions will include live music from covers band Jam Sandwich, wandering minstrels, a lantern parade, kapa haka and kai.
Workies for Fido
A social media survey of nearly 800 New Zealanders has found many benefits to allowing dogs in the workplace. While some respondents had dogs and others didn't, 99 per cent believed benefits included lifting team morale, calming the workplace vibe, and helping with team bonding. The survey, by pet insurance provider pd.co.nz was released in time for Bring Your Dog to Work Day today, June 25. And 81 per cent of respondents also believed employers should offer bereavement leave for pet owners.
6.7 per cent rate rise approved
Far North District councillors have voted in a Long Term Plan 2021-31 which will bring an average rates increase of 6.7 per cent next year but ditched a proposal to switch from land-value to capital-value based rates. The proposal was supposed to shift more of the rating burden to those who could best afford it but was strongly opposed by farmers who faced rates hikes of 30 per cent or more. Councillors were also concerned about the effect on ratepayers with fixed incomes such as pensioners. A proposal to reduce rates charged on commercial properties was also scrapped. While the plan was passed unanimously councillor Moko Tepania said it was unfair that Kaikohe-Hokianga residents paid the highest ward rate, $373.90 per rating unit per year. The Bay of Islands-Whangaroa ward rate is $327.60 and Te Hiku's is $288.40.
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Northland Inc to move?
A Far North District councillor has suggested shifting the headquarters of Northland Inc to the Far North or Kaipara after Whangārei District Council voted against taking a stake in the regional development agency. Northland Inc is owned by the Northland Regional Council but from July 1 Northland Inc Ltd will be jointly owned by the regional council and the Far North and Kaipara district councils with each buying 40 shares for $2 each. The parties also commit, however, to providing ongoing funding for the agency's activities. Whangārei's decision not to sign up to the new ownership plan prompted Far North district councillor Felicity Foy to call on the agency to be moved out of Whangārei, where it is based at The Orchard on Walton St. Ironically Northland Inc has been accused in the past of being Whangārei-centric. The shareholders' agreement leaves the door open to Whangārei to join at a later date.
Abusive parent ordered to leave
Kaikohe West School has trespassed a verbally abusive parent after she threatened staff and a young student. Principal Meralyn Te Hira said the woman turned up to the school to pick up her own two children around 2pm on Thursday and started to growl at another child about bullying. "A staff member intervened asking to allow a teacher to address the child and she got more worked up. When staff asked her to leave the grounds, she got more aggressive, swearing and threatening. Her issue was bullying but her behaviour was bullying." Te Hira then asked the parent to leave and "she verbally assaulted me all the way to the gate". The police were called "as procedure" and staff have been counselled, she said.
High school trivia night
Whangārei Boys' High School is holding its PTA fundraiser Midwinter Xmas Trivia Night tomorrow. There will be spot prizes and prizes for the winners, best dressed in Christmas theme, as well as auctions. The event begins at 6pm and refreshments and food will be available from the cash bar. Tickets are $120 per team of six. Contact PTA chair Lynne Meldrum on 021 026 71787 or the school office 430 4170.