Northern News : September 12th 2012
7 NORTHERN NEWS, SEPTEMBER 12, 2012 NEWS BUSINESS LAW Dennis McBrearty Lawyer & Director Starting a new business is risky, but fun See Dennis to discuss the risk The Meridian 93 Kerikeri Road Kerikeri 09 407 7099 www.lawnorth.co.nz 4821606AB 20% LIMITED TIME SEPTEMBER ONLY! off 4847618AA • Blinds • Shutters • Insect & Security Screens & Doors • Awnings, Patio curtains & Repairs Supply & Installation Free measure and quote 0800 255 300 / 09 407 5906 Contemporary Shutters & Blinds* Ordered throughout September 2012 *September discount applies only to Woodlore & NEW Woodlore Plus Shutters, Roller, Venetian, Thermacell, Roman Blinds & Panel Glides. SHUTTERS & BLINDS COUNCIL REORGANISATION The Far North District Council will lodge a re- organisation application with the Local Government Commission next month. If the commission decides to proceed, the community will be consulted. The commission will prepare and implement a scheme if a majority of voters support the proposal. The Far North District Council and Te Taitokerau Iwi Leaders Forum want Northland s four councils to be replaced by two unitary authorities: A rural- focused Far North unitary authority with Maori representation and an urban-focused Whangarei unitary authority. The Northern News has received a number of letters on this subject including these questions from David West: Need to know Could mayor Wayne Brown please answer the following: How will the Far North s financial position be improved by forming a unitary authority? Why does he say that the Far North is, or may be, governed by Whangarei? Are we not now governed by our own council based at Kaikohe? When he says more than a third of New Zealanders are governed by unitary authorities , is he also referring to the Auckland super-city? If not, the populations of the five other areas officially recognised as unitary authorities -- Gisborne, Marlborough, and Tasman District Councils, the Nelson City Council and the Chatham Islands Council -- must have grown significantly in the past few years. Why will converting the present Far North District into a unitary authority give us more representation than we have now on the regional land transport committee? Why do Maori not have direct represen- tation on the existing Far North District Council, as lawfully provided for now? What safeguards does Mr Brown propose, to ensure compliance with resource consents given by the Northland Regional Council now, for example, for sewerage scheme discharges into waterways? Inadequate as the Northland Regional Council s monitoring and enforcement of these consents might be, the present system is surely still better than a unitary authority applying to itself for such consents? David West Rawene Mr Brown responds: Simplifying the planning framework and creating a one-stop shop for resource consents would save people applying for consents money. Millions of ratepayer dollars would be saved by stripping Northland Regional Council governance costs that would be made redundant by re- organising local government in the region. For example, the Northland Regional Council spent more than $4 million on democracy, corporate services, regional information and engagement, and emergency management alone in the year ended June 30, 2011. These activities are already undertaken by the Far North District Council. Why should ratepayers pay twice for these services? We would also expect savings in environmental monitoring, regional economic development, transport and increased service and effectiveness in resource management planning, consents, land and river management and biosecurity. A Far North unitary authority could also expect to get a fairer share of regional assets controlled by the Northland Regional Council. Finally, ratepayers wouldn t be exposed to Northland Regional Council rate increases which have been well above those levied by the Far North District Council. When I said that more than one-third of New Zealanders were governed by a unitary authority, I was mainly referring to the Auckland Council which was created by the merger of eight councils in 2010 and governs more than 1.5 million people. The point I was making is that what we are proposing is not an untried form of government, nor would it involve the massive local government restructuring done in Auckland. In fact, transferring regional council powers to the Far North and Whangarei district councils would mean only a relatively small increase in business activity for both, which have budgets more than four times the size of the Northland Regional Council. The Far North District Council owns 38 per cent of Northland s roads but only has one representative on the Regional Transport Committee. The Whangarei and Kaipara councils also only have one representative on the 12-member committee which has members representing health, environmental sustainability, cultural and economic development interests. Far North and Whangarei unitary authorities would be able to rebalance the membership of the committee so it was controlled by the authorities which own roads and understand the region s transport issues. Making any changes to the democratic process carries costs and requires an education campaign. We believe it is more practical to introduce Maori seats as part of a re-organisation of local government in Northland, rather than as a separate exercise. What we are proposing is also about more than just Maori seats. It s a strategic partnership that will emerge from a unitary authority. One of the reasons we want to form a unitary authority is to allow the Far North to determine its future. Maori are an integral part of that future. Having said that, the council is committed to advancing Maori representation regardless of whether its unitary authority bid is successful. That is why councillors resolved last November to poll voters on whether to create Maori wards by 2013 if the Local Government Commission declines its reorganisation proposal. Transferring Resource Management Act jurisdictions of the Northland Regional Council to the Far North District Council would not threaten environmental safeguards around sewerage schemes. A Far North unitary authority would separate the authority s consent interests from its asset- owning interests, by asking independent commissioners to hear notified resource consents for council sewerage schemes. The Northland Regional Council already uses independent commissioners to hear resource consents, so what we are proposing isn t new. Unitary authorities are not a risky or untested form of government or environ- mental management. Mr West may wish to read a discussion document which outlines our case for a Far North unitary authority. This can be downloaded from the council s website. Copies are also available at council service centres. Wayne Brown Far North mayor Education centre wins recognition Celebrating: At the national awards ceremony, from left: Far North REAP executive assistant Simone Edwards, Jo Goodhew from the Women's Affairs Ministry, Far North REAP human resources executive Lisa Jones, chief executive Ryan Morrison and development officer Dougal Stott. Far North REAP has earned a highly commen- ded award in the nation- wide Equal Employment Opportunities Trust awards. It s a great achieve- ment because there were a record number of entries from a wide selection of participants. Far North Rural Edu- cation Activities Pro- gramme entered the diversity and work and life categories. Its initiative is about reducing hours and empowering employees. Centre human re- sources executive Lisa Jones says it has always been flexible with work- ers hours and schedules, but in 2010 a more for- mal change was instig- ated by its new chief executive Maude Wilkin- son and associate execu- tive Ryan Morrison. Starting with our edu- cation team we re- categorised six fulltime positions to four days a week with minimal impact on wages as at the same time we increased the hourly rate. It was then rolled out for the rest of the employees. The executive team says they were aware that these positions carry a high load of stress burnout in some organisations. We wanted people to work passionately in a balanced way that didn t jeopardise their health and well-being. Some- times they have to travel long distances on rural roads. Some people also wanted to enjoy more time in the scenic coastal lifestyle that the area offers as well. It s a simple concept -- the employee sets their four standard days of work with their manag- ing executive and then is given the weekly free- dom to adjust their off day as needed by updat- ing their personal work calendar to keep col- leagues up to date. It wasn t smooth sail- ing to start with, they say, as some five-day-a- week employees were resistant to change and wanted to keep their full- time hours and wages. Through a number of kanohi ki te kanohi (face-to-face) individual meetings they were sup- ported to adjust at their pace. Within a few weeks of working the new four- day week the feedback was positive. ARTS CALENDAR EVENTS Journeys of Leaving and Returning, exhibition of artworks by Valerie Hunton. The exhibition opens on September 16, 2pm-4pm until end of September at Art Upstairs, 22 Mill Lane, Kerikeri. Ipipiri Art Gallery, presents its September exhibition featuring new works by Chris Hinde and Fran Leitch. Open Thursday to Saturday, 10am to 4pm, 39 Williams Rd, Paihia. The exhibition is on now and runs until September 29. From Inside, an exhibition of art from Ngawha Corrections Facility. Kaan Zamaan Gallery September 8-20, 373 Kerikeri Rd. Hot Ginger Gallery, New clothing range, jewellery and resin products. New local art available for viewing. Open daily. 10am-4pm, 389 Kerikeri Rd. Keri Blue, displays of art, ceramics, fudge and jewellery. Keri Blue is open daily. The Kerikeri Garden Club, Spring Flower Show. September 14-15. Members of the public are welcome to enter the competition. Also, enjoy the art exhibition by local schools as well as the special exhibition by members of the Kerikeri Embroiderers Guild. Admission is $2 for adults; 50c children or $5 family. The venue is the Turner Centre, Cobham Rd, Kerikeri. Email robertson8148@ yahoo.co.uk for more information. La Fille Mal Gardee, (the wayward daughter) is a comic ballet for the whole family to enjoy. October 26-27. Matinees 11am and evenings 6.30pm. Tickets will be available from Poppies Bookstore Kerikeri, or online at northern firstname.lastname@example.org. Contact Lisa Pieri email@example.com for more information on the ballet. Gimmel on Tour, a prolific composer and pianist, Johnathan Besser is joined by vibraphonist, John Bell, bassist Tom Dennison and renowned drummer Alistair Deverick. For lovers of fine new music, this group will perform music that is lively, challenging and original. The group performs on September 15, 7.30pm at the Turner Centre, Kerikeri. Dangerous Liaisons, Whangarei Theatre Company presents Dangerous Liaisons. This is the story of the Marquise de Merteuil and the Vicomte de Valmont, in which the scheming widow and her ex-lover make a bet regarding the corruption of a recently married woman. It's on September 22, 7.30pm at the Turner Centre, Cobham Rd, Kerikeri. Be Free Auditions, Have you got talent? (Heat1) Auditions for dance and performing arts on October 7, Plaza at The Centre, 3pm. (Heat 2) Music auditions October 28. Contact Tony Harrison at musicwks@ ihug.co.nz, ph: 09 407 7860 or 021 583 986, for details.
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