The Far North's deputy mayor is urging government ministers to change transport rules which have scuttled Opua's popular dog swimming races - and threaten the future of Anzac parades.

Tania McInnes feared small communities could give up organising public events and the Government risked being blamed for ''slowly killing off community spirit''.

On Wednesday the Advocate revealed Opua Primary School's community regatta — a fundraiser which has been running since 1981 — won't be going ahead this year because of the cost of a legally required traffic management plan.

Instead a gala will be held at the school on the same day the regatta was planned, March 24.


News that the long-running regatta and its main drawcard, the dog swimming races, won't be going ahead this year has sparked anger and disappointment but also offers of support for the school.

It also prompted Ms McInnes to contact ministers urging a law change while chief executive Shaun Clarke — whose staff have to enforce the legislation — is preparing a submission to Local Government New Zealand.

Ms McInnes, whose daughter attends Opua Primary, called on Transport Minister Phil Twyford and Associate Minister Julie Anne Genter to review the impact of the Road Transport Act, which includes the requirement for temporary traffic management plans.

A traffic management plan for the Opua event would have cost more $1000, about a third of the money the school PTA had hoped to raise.

She accepted there would have been good reasons behind the law but doubted the consequences for small communities had been taken into account.

''These types of events are part of the fabric of what keeps our communities strong and connected ... The last thing we need is our local communities not bothering because it all gets too hard.''

Another result would be that Government was seen as ''slowly killing off community spirit'', she said.

Ms McInnes understood some Anzac Day parades, which involved people marching on public roads, were facing similar difficulties.

Wednesday's story also prompted people to contact the school offering to help, including a man who offered to create a traffic plan without charge so the regatta could return next year.


Waitangi Treaty Grounds cultural manager Mori Rapana offered to stump up $1000 for a traffic plan even though his children went to another school.

PTA chairwoman Katja Caulton said the school had been ''completely overwhelmed and super-happy'' with the public response.