Kaitaia's main street still has its coloured Christmas lights attached to lamp standards, but one disappointed local woman has pointed out that only two of 200-odd bulbs are working.
One of them was opposite the Mobil service station and the other at the south end of Oxford St. Late last week all 18 opposite the Orana were lit up, but most had faded to the point where they could hardly be described as coloured.
The Far North District Council's general manager — infrastructure and asset management, Andy Finch, said the lights were obsolete, thanks to their age and the fittings. Replacement bulbs and fittings were now very difficult to source.
The defunct bulbs would not be replaced this season, but, to help compensate, the Kaitaia Business Association had strung a number of skeins of fairy lights along the street.
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Coloured lights had once again been draped over the norfolk pine at the southern end of the main street, but most of them weren't working either, for the same reason. Mr Finch scotched the rumour that the council had contracted erecting those lights, which have traditionally been hung by Top Energy, at no charge, to a Whangarei firm.
"Over the years the business community, the council and others have contributed to the installation and maintenance of Christmas lights in Kaitaia. Ownership and responsibility for the maintenance of these lights was not often recorded or even considered," Mr Finch added.
"To resolve this, the council has suggested that organisations interested in the coloured street lights, and the lights in the norfolk pine, discuss a Memorandum of Understanding that will set out what is supplied, who is responsible for its maintenance and how it will be paid for."
The council was aiming to have an agreement in place before next Christmas.