Northern News : February 20th 2013
Wednesday, February 20, 2013 aight teeth in around 6 months • No metal braces - 6 Month Smiles uses only clear braces. • Flexible payment options available. • Dr Simon Leith is New Zealand's only 6 Month Smiles Dentist. FOR A FREE CONSULTATION CALL 0800 6 MONTHS Dr Simon Leith www.kerikeridentalcentre.co.nz Great Dentistry, Great Smiles before after Power to the people? In tune: North Hokianga roads are more horse-friendly than car-friendly. Koroneihana Rangi, 11, and his horse Wayback, in tune with each other at Pawarenga. IN A NUTSHELL Participatory budgeting was started in Porto Alegre, Brazil, to overcome inequality in living standards. The system allows people to decide how to allocate part of a public budget. Citizens identify, discuss, and prioritise public projects and decide how money is spent. It has been adopted by communities in Canada, the United States and Britain. A World Bank paper says participatory budgeting has resulted in improved facilities for the people of Porto Alegre. For instance, sewer and water connections went up from 75 per cent of households in 1988 to 98 per cent. ''The positive impact . . . is a noticeable improvement in the accessibility and quality of various public welfare amenities in those municipalities that have adopted it. The participation and influence of people belonging to low- income groups in the budget allocation process are proof of their empowerment,'' the paper says. More than 140 municipalities in Brazil have taken it up. But there are challenges, the paper says -- among them: While low-income groups reportedly influence the allocation of a portion of public funds, the challenge is to ensure the involvement of the very poor Financial resources are limited, which restricts the scope of budget programmes Communities are less likely to participate once their demands are met. Way of life: Children hang out with their friends and horses, barefoot and friendly. Pouaka Skinner, 8, left, and Izak Proctor, 12, enjoy the last day of the school holidays. Special place: Rawene, seen from the council-run ferry that links North Hokianga with South Hokianga. By KERI MOLLOY A GROUND-BREAKING pro- posal is on the drawing board to create an alternative future for the Hokianga. It takes the Far North Dis- trict Council's unitary auth- ority concept a step further by allowing the area to decide how its own rates are spent. Public meetings will be held to discuss the proposal as a first step if an early sur- vey of Hokianga ratepayers shows sufficient interest. The proposed system of community decision making known as participatory budgeting' is in use inter- nationally. Volunteers would take over the duties of the council for the district, with rates col- lected as usual but banked in a Hokianga council account. The community would then decide what works need to be done, by majority vote. Residents or contractors would be employed to carry jobs out as a first option. Rates that normally go to the council would go to the Hokianga. There would be no salaried staff and no leader or control group. One of the people facilitat- ing the survey, Suzzannah O'Sullivan, says response has been supportive with even those opposed offering ideas for an alternative future for the Hokianga. An early count of about 100 survey forms returned shows 80 per cent in favour. A meeting at the Rawene Town Hall on February 9 saw a strong complement of skills offered for a steering com- mittee, she says. Initiative supporter Ian Walkley says change could be brought about through the Local Government Com- mission if there is proof of community support. People think eastern ward ratepayers subsidise the western areas of the Far North, he says. Well then the east may not complain about this.'' The Hokianga is simply taking the unitary authority proposal a step further, he says. We want to approach this with the co-operation of the Far North District Council.'' The thrust of the Hokianga initiative is people for the land and the people' with ideas for changes in agricult- ural practices, alternative sources of power and more eco friendly water and sewage systems. Associated campaigns could see volunteers help peo- ple experience the benefits of growing their own fruit and vegetables. Writer Lindsay Charman says the Hokianga was a haven, fiercely protected by Maori through the genera- tions until the first Euro- peans were welcomed in the early 1800s.
February 13th 2013
February 27th 2013