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Harbour Hospice’s fundraiser Catwalk Arts has been cancelled
Harbour Hospice’s fundraiser Catwalk Arts has been cancelled

23 April 2024, 6:10 PM

Harbour Hospice’s fundraiser Catwalk Arts has been cancelled. Harbour Hospice Fundraising Manager Amber West says, “Unfortunately, there simply weren’t enough entries to ensure that the event would be the show-stopper we had hoped it would be.” Entries were about one third of what were needed. The show had been scheduled to take place on 22 June at the Mahurangi Hope Church in Warkworth. Catwalk Arts had originally started as a fundraiser between Mahurangi College and Tui House in the early 2000s and was handed over to Harbour Hospice as an annual event in 2018.It has raised an average of $30,000 per show for Harbour Hospice over the years, and this funding has helped to support the charity’s delivery of community nursing support and day respite care for local families. West says, “We’re hugely grateful to everybody who has been involved in putting the show together over the years, from our wonderful volunteers, Lesley Ingham, Shona Pickup and the Fundraising Volunteer Committee to all of our generous sponsors. Mason Containers and Northland Waste have been principle sponsors year after year and Morris & James designed and created the bespoke ceramic tiles for winners year after year. “The event was a fun and creative way for locals to get involved with hospice and support the service. Some wonderful creations were produced over the years and audiences certainly enjoyed some very special moments - one highlight being the 2022 show where one of our entrants was proposed to on stage, and a number of our original Catwalk Arts volunteers from 2006 made a special appearance. “But the lower entry numbers indicate that perhaps people have less time to put into creating entries now, and perhaps the community has less of an appetite for this event.They have shown their support in many other ways, though, which we are grateful for because this helps keep our services freely available to all in the community. “We have lots of ways for the community to continue to support us, moving forward. We have Calendar Girls coming up at the end of April, which is being put on by the Warkworth Theatre Group – 10% of ticket sales will be donated to Harbour Hospice. We have lots of local activities planned for Hospice Awareness Week, from 13-19 May, and we’re excited about our 2024 Homes and Gardens Tour, which is coming up in November.”To find out more about these events, click on the linksWarkworth Theatre Group Presents Calendar GirlsHarbour Hospice Art Exhibition & Sale  

Air New Zealand announces changes to short-haul flights from June
Air New Zealand announces changes to short-haul flights from June

22 April 2024, 8:44 PM

Air New Zealand is doing away with the option for passengers to buy food on its short-haul flights, instead offering everyone on board a snack or meal.The airline has announced changes to its short-haul flights from June.But from today, the airline will be increasing long-term domestic fares across all routes.In a statement, Air NZ acting general manager for domestic Jeremy O'Brien said it had faced increasing costs over the past couple of years like many Kiwi businesses."As we've previously signalled, our cost base has risen more than 30 percent. To date, we've absorbed as much of this as we can."To reflect higher costs of providing air services, we need to continue to review our pricing."▶ LISTEN Air NZ to increase domestic fares House of Travel chief operating officer Brent Thomas told Midday Report Air NZ had indicated prices were going to change and inflation had been "running hot" over the last few months.Domestically, there was not a lot of competition so travellers would have to take what was available to them - and Thomas said people would have to wait until Tuesday to see the detail of those increases.People who were able to book well in advance would still be able to get good fares but those booking last minute - whether for a family emergency or corporate travel "are paying the price".Thomas said airfares were "significantly cheap" before Covid-19, but costs had gone up."I think we all know that when we go fill up our car, the price of petrol's gone up. Facing the same thing - a significant part of running an airline of course is the jet fuel and that has gone up."Thomas said it was fair that the airline passed that cost on to consumers.The national carrier has announced changes to its short-haul flights from June. Photo: AFPShort-haul changesAs part of changes to simplify the airline's different fares, everyone will have access to Air New Zealand's full entertainment suite, and be served a snack or a meal, as well as tea, coffee, water and juice.Air New Zealand is also discontinuing its seat+bag fares, though will allow seat-only customers to add a checked bag for a $30 fee.Seat-only customers travelling to Australia and the Pacific previously received no food with their airfare, and had the option to purchase a range of snacks on board.That option will be discontinued under the change, but passengers will still be able to buy drinks.The fare types available from 11 June will be: theworks, worksflexi, premiumeconomy, premiumflexi, businesspremier and businessflexi.Works customers will still receive the same inclusions of a checked bag, a full meal and drinks, entertainment and free standard seat selection.The updates were based on customer feedback and changes passengers were looking for, the airline's statement said.Air New Zealand on Monday downgraded its full-year earnings guidance, as it faces softening domestic demand and a competitive North American travel market.Pre-tax earnings for the 2024 financial year were forecast to be in the range of $190 million to $230m, lower than previous guidance of $200m-$240m and a significant drop from 2023 pre-tax earnings of $585m.This story was originally published by RNZ

Off-duty policewoman dies after being hit by car in Helena Bay, Northland
Off-duty policewoman dies after being hit by car in Helena Bay, Northland

21 April 2024, 8:32 PM

An off-duty police officer who died after being hit by a car is being remembered as a "genuine soul" and the "greatest grandmother".Houhora constable Gail Shepherd was walking her dogs on Saturday afternoon when she was struck in Helena Bay, north of Whangārei.Emergency services were called to the intersection of Webb Road and Russell Road about 3.15pm.Police said the car left the road and crashed into a power pole before hitting a pedestrian, who died at the scene.The driver sustained minor injuries.Shepherd, who had worked at Kohukohu in the Hokianga before transferring to Houhora, has been remembered by whānau and workmates as "instrumental" in the Te Tai Tokerau community."A person who was true to herself and stood up for what she believed in and loved her family more than anything in the world," her police colleague John Larkin said."A genuine soul that will be sadly missed by us, the Neighbourhood Policing Team Otangarei and all those who worked with her."Shepherd was a loving mother and grandmother, her whānau said.A message posted online on behalf of her daughter described Shepherd as her best friend and "the greatest grandmother to my babies". Her daughter's name is Tyme"I will love you and will miss you forever and always," it continued.Broadwood Rural Voluntary Fire Brigade also posted on social media saying it was saddened to hear of Shepherd's death."It was a pleasure working with you during your time in North Hokianga. You will be missed."A police spokesperson said their hearts went out to the officer's family and friends, who were receiving support."Their passing is a tragic loss for our community and the impact will be keenly felt."We are working to ensure our staff can access the support they need at this difficult time."This story was originally published by RNZ

ANZAC DAY SERVICES for the region
ANZAC DAY SERVICES for the region

21 April 2024, 6:47 PM

MatakanaParade assembly: 9.45am Matakana roundaboutParade commences: 9.55am Matakana Roundabout to the Matakana War MemorialService: 10am Matakana War MemorialOther details: Parking - located at 964 Matakana Road, MatakanaContact: Adrienne Miller, 0274 54 90 70 [email protected] 10.50am at Harbour View Rd.Service at Leigh Cemetery, Harbour View Rd.Parade: 10.50amService: 11amContact: Guy Parkes, 021 352 588Warkworth - Dawn ParadeParade assembly: 5.45am at Warkworth RSA, 28 Neville StreetParade commences: 5.50am parade to War Memorial on Church HillService: 6am War Memorial, Church Hill, WarkworthRoad closure details: Church Hill and part of Neville StreetOther details: Cooked breakfast available to purchase from Gunners Restaurant, Warkworth RSAContact: Chrissy Keith, 09 425 8568, [email protected] - Civic ParadeParade assembly: 10am Warkworth RSA, 28 Neville StParade commences: 10.10am to War Memorial on Church HillService: 10.30am Church HillRoad closure: Church Hill and Neville StreetOther details: After the Civic Service parade down to the Warkworth RSA with a morning tea available for a gold coin donation.Contact: Chrissy Keith, 09 425 8568, [email protected]Wellsford Parade assembly: 5.45am 13 Port Albert RdParade commences: 5.50am to 13 Port Albert RoadService: 6.00am Wellsford Memorial LibraryRoad closure details: Port Albert Road ( between Davies Rd and Rodney Street) and Memorial Lane ( between Worker Road and Port Albert Road) from 4.45am until 7.15 amOther details: refreshments available after parade and service at Wellsford RSA 1 Olympus RdContact: Paul Jones, 027 285 3682, [email protected] RSA 733 Settlement Rd, KaiwakaPARADE DETAILSAssemble 1000 hrs (10:00 am)Parade fall in 1020 hrs (10:20 am)March on 1030 hrs (10:30 am)Wreath layingRoll of honourLowering of flag – Last PostThe ODEShort prayer by PadreRaising of flag – ReveilleNational Anthems (Australia & New Zealand)Guest speakerPrayer by PadreFall OutThe Club Rooms will be open for refreshments after Fall OutThose wishing to lay a wreath, please contactNeville Andrew on 022 614 0155 / 09 431 81MaungaturotoDawn Service 5:45 AM Centennial Hall, View Road MaungaturotoMembers of public invited to light breakfast at RSA clubrooms at conclusion of service.WaipuCivic Service 10:40 AM Memorial CarparkFall in for parade on South Road Waipu adjacent to Bowling Club, March to Memorial Carpark for 1100 service. The Waipu RSA is Open on completion of the Service to all involved and interested.There will be a short Dawn Service at the Waipu Services Cemetery Cove Road, Ode, Last Post, Flag Raising.WhangareiDawn Service 6:00 AM Laurie Hall ParkCivic Service 10:00 AM Maunu CemeteryWant to make a donation to the RSA to help us continue our work supporting New Zealand's veterans of military service and their whanau?Click here to donate online, or text Poppy to 8595 to make an instant $3 donation.

HAVE YOUR SAY on Kaipara District Council’s Long Term Plan 2024 – 2027
HAVE YOUR SAY on Kaipara District Council’s Long Term Plan 2024 – 2027

20 April 2024, 8:42 PM

Consultation opens for Kaipara District Council’s Long Term Plan 2024 – 2027Kaipara District Council elected members adopted the Long Term Plan 2024 – 2027 consultation document in the council meeting on Wednesday, kickstarting the feedback period opening today.Kaipara District Council Mayor Craig Jepson says the proposals outlined in the consultation document and source documents reflect a focus on recovery and resilience, and the challenging environment the council is working in.“When we first commenced the long term plan preparations, we did not foresee the severe weather events. This caused major damage to roading and other infrastructure, saddling us with millions in recovery costs. Combined with huge pressure from compounding inflation and interest rates means we have more work to do and less money to do it with.”The proposed average rates increase in the first year of the Long Term Plan is 15.1% after growth, reducing in the later years (8.4% average after growth in the second year and 3.4% average after growth in the final year).“We’re conscious that the proposed rate increase for the first year of this LTP is considerable, and affects everyone. This is a starting point. I’m confident that through the consultation process we may find further ways to get the rates increase down and I look forward to hearing from people what their ideas are. All the way up to adoption of the Long Term Plan (planned for late July), we will continue to investigate ways we can make further inroads to reduce costs.”As part of the consultation, Kaipara District Council is seeking feedback on a number of topics for the Long Term Plan 2024 – 2027. These include ideas from the community for the future-thinking projects of the Dargaville and Mangawhai community hubs, and the newly named Urlich Park (Moir Street reserve) in Mangawhai. Council is also considering changing the way it rates for parks and libraries across the district. All topics can be found in the consultation document.  Council is also seeking feedback on a number of financial policies during this time. To read the consultation document, any of the financial policies also out for consultation or other source documents go to the Kaipara District Council website (Long Term Plan website page).“Get involved and tell us what you think about any part of the plans we have. Speak up for Kaipara and let’s shape our future together,” says Mayor Jepson.Elected members and staff will be out and about across the district during the consultation period. A full list of all the engagement events can be found online.Physical copies of the consultation document are available at both the Dargaville and Mangawhai Kaipara District Council office, and libraries across the district. Physical copies of the source documents will also be available at both offices.About the Kaipara District Council’s Long Term Plan for 2024 – 2027A shortened Long Term Plan with a focus on recovery was approved by Kaipara District Council in September 2023. The decision follows a severe weather emergency recovery order offered by central Government. The order suspends the statutory requirement to produce a ten year audited long-term plan for eight councils severely affected by this year’s weather events. Instead, eight councils, including Kaipara District Council are able to adopt a three-year, unaudited plan with a focus on recovery. Read more about the decision in our media release (September 2023). 

Auckland overnight motorway closures 19-26 April 2024
Auckland overnight motorway closures 19-26 April 2024

19 April 2024, 7:11 PM

NZ Transport Agency Waka Kotahi advises of the following closures for motorway improvements. Work delayed by bad weather will be completed at the next available date, prior to Friday, 26 April 2024.  Unless otherwise stated, closures start at 9pm and finish at 5am.NORTHERN MOTORWAY (SH1)Orewa southbound off-ramp, 21 AprilNorthbound lanes between Oteha Valley Road off-ramp and Silverdale on-ramp, 25 AprilOteha Valley Road northbound on-ramp, 25 AprilOnewa Road southbound on-ramp, 25 AprilShelly Beach Road southbound off-ramp, 25 AprilFanshawe Street southbound off-ramp, 25 AprilCENTRAL MOTORWAY JUNCTION (CMJ)Southbound lanes between Fanshawe Street off-ramp and Hobson Street on-ramp, 21-22 April (approx. 10:00pm to 5:00am)SH1 southbound to SH16 eastbound (Port) link, 21-22 April (approx. 10:00pm to 5:00am)SH1 southbound to SH16 westbound link, 21-22 April (approx. 10:00pm to 5:00am)SH16 eastbound to SH16 eastbound (Port) link, 21-22 AprilSOUTHERN MOTORWAY (SH1)Khyber Pass Road southbound on-ramp, 21-23 AprilRedoubt Road southbound on-ramp, 22-23 AprilSH1 southbound to SH20 northbound link, 22-23 April (approx. 10:00pm to 5:00am)Southbound lanes between Takanini off-ramp and Drury/SH22 on-ramp, 22-23 & 25 AprilTakanini southbound on-ramp, 22-23 & 25 AprilPapakura southbound on-ramp, 22-23 & 25 AprilNorthbound lanes between Drury/SH22 off-ramp and Takanini on-ramp, 22-23 & 25 AprilPapakura (Diamond) northbound on-ramp, 22-23 & 25 AprilPapakura (Loop) northbound on-ramp, 21-23 & 25 AprilPapakura southbound off-ramp, 24 AprilNorthbound lanes between Drury/SH22 off-ramp and Papakura on-ramp, 21 AprilDrury/SH22 northbound on-ramp, 21-23 & 25 AprilDrury/SH22 northbound off-ramp, 24 AprilPioneer Road northbound off-ramp, 19-26 April (24/7)Dragway Road northbound off-ramp, 25 April (approx. 10:00pm to 5:00am)NORTHWESTERN MOTORWAY (SH16)Te Atatu Road (Diamond) southbound on-ramp, 21-25 AprilNorthbound lanes between Great North Road off-ramp and on-ramp, 21-22 April (approx. 10:00pm to 5:00am)Great North Road northbound on-ramp, 21-22 April (approx. 10:00pm to 5:00am)SH16 westbound to SH20 southbound link, 21-22 April (approx. 10:00pm to 5:00am)UPPER HARBOUR MOTORWAY (SH18)Albany Highway eastbound on-ramp, 21 April (approx. 7:30pm to 5:00am)Albany Highway eastbound on-ramp, 22 & 25 AprilAlbany Highway westbound off-ramp, 21 April (approx. 7:30pm to 5:00am)Albany Highway westbound off-ramp, 22 & 25 AprilSOUTHWESTERN MOTORWAY (SH20)Northbound lanes between Hillsborough Road off-ramp and Maioro Street on-ramp, 22 April (approx. 10:00pm to 5:00am)Dominion Road northbound on-ramp, 22 AprilHillsborough Road northbound on-ramp, 22 AprilNorthbound lanes between Neilson Street off-ramp and Hillsborough Road on-ramp, 21 April (approx. 10:00pm to 5:00am)Neilson Street northbound on-ramp, 21 AprilNorthbound lanes between Massey Road off-ramp and Rimu Road on-ramp, 23 AprilCoronation Road northbound on-ramp, 23 AprilSH20 northbound to SH20A southbound Link, 23 AprilMassey Road northbound on-ramp, 23 AprilGEORGE BOLT MEMORIAL DRIVE (SH20A)Northbound lanes between Kirkbride Road off-ramp and SH20 northbound link, 23 AprilKirkbride Road northbound on-ramp, 23 April

Environment Court shuts down Pākiri sand mining appeal
Environment Court shuts down Pākiri sand mining appeal

19 April 2024, 7:00 PM

A release from Jessie Stanley ....Kia ora friends,We are absolutely over the moon and delighted to share the incredible news that last week The Environment Court made their final decision and refused the consent for offshore sand mining in the Mangawhai-Pakiri area.This decision is firm evidence that if enough people rise-up, and enough voices are heard, that together we really can make a difference.We want to thank you all and send a massive acknowledgement to the thousands who submitted, advocated, and petitioned. This win would not have been possible without your support. We also want to make a special acknowledgement to tāngata whenua and mana whenua including Te Whānau o Pakiri, Ngāti Manuhiri and Ōmaha Marae, who have been fighting to stop sand mining in this rohe for three generations. There are also many individuals and groups who testified in court, including Auckland Council, NZ Fairy Tern Trust, Friends of Pakiri Beach, Save Our Sands Mangawhai Pakiri, Mangawhai Harbour Restoration Trust, Forest and Bird, and the Environmental Defence Society.However despite this momentous decision, under the government's proposed Fast-Track Approvals Bill, a trio of ministers could now ignore our community voice and all the evidence and expert advice and overturn this decision.Thank you again for coming on the journey with us and being part of this incredible win for our community and the environment.Jessie StanleySOS Community Spokesperson

Plan to ditch ratepayer funding for Northland Rescue Helicopter attracts record submissions
Plan to ditch ratepayer funding for Northland Rescue Helicopter attracts record submissions

18 April 2024, 9:44 PM

Peter de GraafA proposal to ditch ratepayer funding for the Northland Rescue Helicopter and other emergency services has sparked a record number of submissions to the Northland Regional Council.As of Thursday morning, the council had received 1740 submissions on its 2024-34 Long-Term Plan, a record for the Whangārei-based council.At least 1200 of those are related to the emergency services levy, and the vast majority of those are understood to oppose the council's proposal.Currently the regional council collects about $12 per household per year for its emergency services fund.About half of that, $535,000, goes to the Northland Rescue Helicopter, while the rest is split among other volunteer organisations such as surf lifesaving and Far North Radio and Sea Rescue.The Northland Regional Council is proposing to hold rates rises down to 3 percent - which would see its services trimmed to "the bare minimum" - or 11 percent, which is still low compared to other councils.However, both of those options involve dropping "non-core" services, such as sports facilities and emergency services funding.The council says it is pushing back against central government imposing ever more costs on ratepayers, and wants Te Whatu Ora/Health NZ to increase its funding for the rescue helicopter.'Fair to say people are not happy'Many Northlanders volunteering in emergency services are aghast, however.Ruawai volunteer firefighter Anthony Blundell said the regional council had "misread the room"."It's really surprised a lot of people why they'd even go down this path, saying it's not their core business when Civil Defence sits under NRC [Northland Regional Council] core business. Who do they think turn up to Civil Defence incidents? So I find that quite ironic."Blundell, who is also an ambassador for the rescue helicopter, said the chopper was called out to Ruawai just last week when a school bus and a car collided."Most fortunately there were no very serious injuries. The Northland Rescue Helicopter was on the scene and they had their other helicopter on call in Whangārei, waiting if it was required. That was just great to know, because it could have been a really serious incident."Blundell said many parents at the crash scene asked him why the council was planning to drop its funding."I can't really use the expletive that most people used, but fair to say people are not happy," he said.Northland Federated Farmers president Collin Hannah, who had also made a submission, said the helicopter was a "Northland lifeline".The idea that the government would step in to fill the funding gap was ludicrous, given the current government's cost-cutting drive.While rescue helicopters played a vital role in regions with spread-out populations such as Northland, it was a misconception that the service benefited mainly rural people."It's bigger than that. I don't think people in Northland realise just how much our urban communities depend on that chopper as well. If you were to have, for example, an aneurism in the brain, the only place that can do surgery is Auckland, and the sooner you get there the better."Kamo Intermediate teacher Monique Bradley was 18 years old when a horse rolled on top of her, leaving her with a brain bleed and a broken spine.She was airlifted to Whangārei Hospital, and eventually learned to walk again and recovered to the point where she was able to qualify as a teacher.Bradley doubted she would have survived a trip in the back of an ambulance on the winding, corrugated roads between isolated Whananaki Beach and Whangārei.She had also made a submission calling for the emergency services rate to be retained."It really hurts the NRC is proposing to cut the funding. If this is to happen it's going to have a massive effect on Northlanders," she said.Govt already provides 86% of funding for emergency ambulance helicopters - ministerRegional Council deputy chair Tui Shortland said the council was pushing back against the government's increasing demands on struggling ratepayers - especially in a region like Northland, where the amount people could pay was limited."We believe that the Ministry of Health is in fact responsible for some of the emergency services we have been funding - and in this current time, in one of the most impoverished regions in the country, we need to question the government," she said."We are going to do this via our long-term plan process, while we have an open discussion with our ratepayers."The rescue helicopter service was required to demonstrate community support, but that did not have to come from rates, Shortland said.Councillors were expecting a lot of submissions, and were looking forward to reading, and hearing, what Northlanders had to say, she said.Meanwhile, Paul Ahlers, chairman of the Northland Emergency Services Trust, which operates the helicopters, said 85 percent of the service's funding already came from Te Whatu Ora and ACC.He wanted to see the trust remain a community organisation, rather than being wholly government funded.Ahlers said losing ratepayer funding would not ground the chopper but it would put the service under great strain - especially because the trust would have just three months to make up for a $500,000 shortfall.He believed the annual ratepayer contribution was working well."It's a system that we actually think is really effective, because it allows us to reach every household in Northland, and allows Northlanders to just give a little bit towards the cost of running what is an essential service," Ahlers said.Associate Health Minister Casey Costello, who is responsible for emergency helicopter services, said what the Northland Regional Council did around its emergency services levy was a matter for the council and the local community to decide.However, she said the government already provided 86 percent of funding for emergency ambulance helicopters around the country - $128 million this financial year - via Health NZ and ACC.This was a big shift from 20 years ago, when air ambulances were mainly funded by communities.Despite that, there was still a strong sense of community ownership over local emergency helicopter services, given the long-term relationship and at times lifesaving service they provided, Costello said.Feedback on the Northland Regional Council's Long Term Plan closes today (Friday) with oral submissions to be heard on 8 May and a decision due in June.This story was originally published by RNZ

Four-lane highway from Auckland to Kaikohe could benefit Northland by $500m a year
Four-lane highway from Auckland to Kaikohe could benefit Northland by $500m a year

17 April 2024, 8:14 PM

Peter de GraafBuilding a four-lane expressway from Auckland to Kaikohe could benefit the region by more than $500m a year and the government should start work now, a report has found.Those are among the findings of a report commissioned by the Northland Corporate Group (NCG), representing five of the region's biggest companies, and written by thinktank New Zealand Institute of Economic Research (NZIER) .The report's authors said "robust and resilient" road connections were needed to unlock Northland's potential, and urged the government to upgrade the "dilapidated" State Highway 1 between Auckland and Whangārei as soon as possible.That could be followed by making the road between Whangārei and Kaikohe four lanes.The report was launched at Whangarei's Semenoff Stadium on Tuesday afternoon.NCG co-chair and Northpower chief executive Andrew McLeod said Northland's resources and proximity to Auckland meant the region was well positioned to contribute to the national economy.However, decades of chronic underinvestment and patchwork upgrades to SH1 had isolated Northland and tarnished the region's business reputation, he said.Northland Corporate Group co-chair Andrew McLeod speaks at the launch of the Northland Expressway report. Photo: RNZMcLeod applauded the government's commitment to a new four-lane route around the Brynderwyn Hills, and to four-laning the highway from Whangarei to Port Marsden, and Warkworth to Wellsford."But greater ambition is needed," he said.The NCG was calling for a wholesale upgrade of SH1 from Auckland to Whangārei and beyond to Kaikohe."Without that, we're stuck in a loop of piecemeal upgrades creating bottlenecks and backlogs that will continue to be the chokehold on our economic potential," McLeod said.He also called on the Government to use its new fast-track consenting to accelerate construction of the Northland Expressway, given the fragile nature of the current highway and the likelihood of increasingly frequent extreme weather.McLeod said building "critical road linkages" between Auckland, Waikato and the Bay of Plenty had led to economic growth, improved social outcomes and more residential development in those regions.The same could happen in the North, he said.'We can't wait any longer'Rob Kirwan, managing director of Culham Engineering, said his company moved 25,000 tonnes of steel up and down SH1 each year.The Brynderwyns closure meant trucks had to travel via Dargaville, adding an extra day, and costs that couldn't be recovered, to the journey.Kirwan said he'd seen many reports calling for a better roads over the years, but this one was different.That was in part because most political parties agreed the highway needed to be fixed."We can't wait any longer. We just need to get around the table to central government and get them to help us get this going."Kirwan said the next step was for Northlanders to make their voices heard by converging on social media, their MPs and government.Murray Jagger, chairman of Northport and Marsden Maritime Holdings, said given the chance Northland could solve many of Auckland's growing pains.Whangārei had the only deepwater port in New Zealand with room for expansion - but shipping lines had backed away from using it after the highway's repeated closures.Jagger said he had watched the transformation of Hamilton, from provincial centre to thriving city, as the Waikato Expressway was built."The vitality it's brought to the region is huge, and Northland will be exactly the same. As soon as you bring connectivity, all of a sudden you've got vitality and people will want to move here."Transport Minister Simeon Brown has been approached for comment.Addressing Tuesday's launch, Northland MP Grant McCallum said the current government was focussed on infrastructure and getting things done.It had brought back Roads of National Significance and introduced fast-track consenting to speed up major projects, he said.Report findingsThe authors of the Te Tai Tokerau Northland Expressway report found building a four-lane road all the way to Kaikohe would bring "quantified monetary benefits" of $299m to $562m a year by 2050.Those benefits arose from reduced travel times for people and freight, fewer weather-related closures, and fewer serious crashes.Panel speakers, from left, the report's lead author Michael Bealing, McKay Ltd managing director Lindsay Faithfull, and Tupu Tono Ngāpuhi Investment Fund director Ripeka Evans. Photo: RNZAverage travel speeds would increase from the current 67km/h to 80-90km/h, the duration of road closures would drop by 50-100 percent, and deaths and serious injuries would fall by 33-67 percent, the report predicted.It noted however, that the expressway could increase carbon emissions due to increased road travel.The report took into account the findings of a major survey of 800 Northland businesses carried out in 2023.More than half said a four-lane highway would increase their revenue and reduce costs by at least 5 percent, half said they would hire more staff, and a third would bring forward more than $100,000 of investment.Based on those survey results, the report's authors estimated Northland businesses would lift their productivity by 2.5 percent, and Northland's GDP would increase by $2.1 billion per year by 2048.The expressway would also boost GDP in the rest of the country by an estimated $1.2 billion.While no costings have been done for a four-lane Northland Expressway, the authors noted similar projects had cost between $30m and $60m per kilometre.That would make a total cost of $5.5 billion to $11.1 billion, with the 98km Warkworth-Whangārei section costing an estimated $3.0-$5.9b and the 86km from Whangārei-Kaikohe about $2.6-$5.1b.By comparison, the famously expensive, 56km-long Transmission Gully project near Wellington cost $1.5 billion, while the 128km Waikato Expressway came with a price tag of just over $1.6 billion.The report writers said the government should start work immediately on a detailed options appraisal, design, and full cost-benefit analysis.The government should also investigate the use of private financing to accelerate the project, they added.This story was originally published by RNZ

Police unearth large-scale cannabis operation in Whangārei, arrest two men
Police unearth large-scale cannabis operation in Whangārei, arrest two men

17 April 2024, 7:54 PM

Police have uprooted a significant cannabis operation, seizing thousands of dollars’ worth of plants and sending two to face the Court.Detective Senior Sergeant Aaron Crawford, Northland CIB, says Police have this week terminated an investigation into a large-scale cannabis operation at a commercial address in Whangārei CBD.“As a result of our enquiries, specialist Police groups, including officers from the National Organised Crime Group conducted a search warrant at the address on Tuesday 16 April.”Police will allege more than 300 cannabis plants were located at the address.“A large-scale enterprise like this can illegally generate millions of dollars if undetected,” Detective Senior Sergeant Crawford says.“Two men believed to be involved in this offending were located at the address and were arrested without incident.”The pair, aged 36 and 38, were facing charges in the Whangārei District Court today relating to the cultivation of cannabis.The 38-year-old faces additional charges unrelated to this investigation including to failing to stop and the unlawful taking of a motor vehicle.As our investigation is ongoing, Police cannot rule out further arrests or charges in relation to this matter. “The cultivation, manufacture, supply and distribution of controlled drugs continues to be a major driver in all serious crimes within our communities and Police will continue to use our available resources hold those who choose to engage in these activities to account,” Detective Senior Sergeant Crawford says.“Police continue to ask anyone who sees anything suspicious in nature or anything of concern to please contact us immediately.”We continue to encourage anyone with information about suspected money laundering and drug dealing in their community to contact us on 105, or anonymously via Crime Stoppers on 0800 555 111.

Tetra Pak - what do we do with them now recycling has changed?
Tetra Pak - what do we do with them now recycling has changed?

16 April 2024, 9:27 PM

Tetra Pak and other liquid board such as milk alternatives and juices are not being recycled in our general roadside recycling anymore.This is a huge amount of waste that will be going to landfill that can be diverted and repurposed into something useful.SaveBOARD are paving the way by repurposing Tetra Paks into useful items use in the construction sector.Check out their website here.SaveBOARD is focused on building a circular economy by turning composite packaging waste back into products that re-enter the local supply chain eliminating future waste.They have two plants; one in Hamilton New Zealand and one in Western Sydney, Australia.Here are some examples of how Tetra Pak is being repurposed:Tetra Pak and saveBOARD have been working hard to develop drop off points around the country for used beverage cartons.Tetra Pak need to be prepared in the following way before dropping off to a depot.Closest drop off pointsNgunguru Sports & Recreation ClubKopipi Crescent, Ngunguru 0173Less Shop Wellsford47 Station Road, Wellsford 0900Less Waste Warkworth55 Lawrie Road, Warkworth 0982Whangaparaoa Community Recycling Centre637 Whangaparaoa Road, Stanmore BayFor other collection points check out the website.If you can't wait until we have a location near you, feel free to box up your used beverage cartons and send to them directly. Please post/courier to: saveBOARD, 30 Sunshine Avenue, Te Rapa, Hamilton 3200, New Zealand.

Water tank installation programme changing lives in the Far North
Water tank installation programme changing lives in the Far North

16 April 2024, 7:46 PM

Peter de GraafAn iwi-led drought relief programme is changing lives in the Far North, one water tank at a time.On Wednesday, it was Atholene Ngauma's turn to get a rainwater tank installed at her home in Waipapakauri, north of Kaitāia.Home-owner Atholene Ngauma watches as the Tupu Plumbing team install her rainwater tank. Photo: RNZUntil now the great-grandmother had to make do with water that was discoloured, tasted bad, and was unsafe to drink."My water's from a bore and everything is yellow. The toilet is yellow, the shower is yellow, the washing - the whites - are yellow."Ngauma (Te Aupōuri, Te Rarawa) had to buy bottled water for drinking and cooking, and even for bathing one of her mokopuna.She suffered from a number of health conditions and worried the bore water she relied on could make them worse.LISTEN ▶ New water tanks providing resilience in NorthlandHaving reliable, drinkable water in her home would be life-changing, she said."It'll mean heaps, because apart from being able to drink the water, and have clean washing, I've got four grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren. The kids always come and go, and we're buying in water all the time."The water tank was installed by Puna Wai Ora, also known as Te Hiku Drought Relief Programme.The scheme is led by Te Aupōuri Development Trust, and was funded by an $8 million grant from the National Emergency Management Agency in the wake of the 2020 drought.Tengo Christie installs a water filter while fellow tauira (trainee) Gabe Wharekawa looks on. Photo: RNZThe drought - one of the worst in Northland's history - exposed the precarious living conditions of many Far North whānau, especially those who didn't have access to town water supplies.Various Far North plumbers have been installing rainwater tanks for Puna Wai Ora, but late last year Te Aupōuri Development Trust set up its own plumbing venture.Tupu Plumbing doubles as a training scheme taking on half a dozen youth at a time, most of whom had been unemployed for a year or more.The idea is to give them skills and help them into apprenticeships and eventually trade careers.Tupu Plumbing site supervisor Rob Purchase (Tuwharetoa) said the young men had learned fast.At first they took an average of two days to install a tank; now they were knocking out almost one a day."It had its challenges initially. They didn't have any experience in the kind of work we're doing but they've picked it up very quickly," Purchase said."Within a month we got a good rhythm in place, and now they're pretty good. They're doing most of the work without supervision."We hope this is going to be the first step in the career that keeps them employed for life. If they're able to get from here into an apprenticeship and then to be a tradesman, they shouldn't be unemployed again for the rest of their lives."Purchase said the programme was also life-changing for families who received water tanks."It's huge. You see it on the faces of the whānau when we're in there and doing these jobs. When we leave at the end of the day they've got 12,000 litres of water to start them off, so they've got running water at the tap that's clean."An elderly couple in the remote Peria Valley, for example, had only a 1000-litre drum for collecting rainwater."So if it didn't rain for a couple of weeks they had to travel 45 minutes into town to get water. They used a long drop outside because they didn't have water to flush the toilet. The day we were there we put in a 25,000-litre tank and they were running the tap, washing the dishes, flushing the toilet in the house. It's an immediate change, especially for the elderly," Purchase said.Tauira (trainees) Pete Nathan, front, and Tyreese Martin lay a rainwater pipe. Photo: RNZPete Nathan (Ngāti Kuri) is one of the current trainees.Before a friend referred him to the scheme, he'd been living on the benefit in emergency housing, with little money left for kai or other expenses.The 21-year-old said the programme had turned his life around and given him a sense of achievement."I had no idea about plumbing before I started, but now I'm motivated to get to work every day and I just want to work more and more," Nathan said."I've learned so much about time management, taking responsibility and also plumbing skills like spouting, how to install water tanks, and how to use power tools which I've always wanted to learn. It's totally changed my perspective on work."Puna Wai Ora programme manager Mihi Harris (Te Rarawa, Ngāpuhi) said the tank installed at Atholene Ngauma's home was the 305th to date, and the 50th by Tupu Plumbing.Since Tupu Plumbing started last October the programme's pace had doubled, with the number of tanks installed jumping from 200 to more than 300 in less than five months.The scheme prioritised whānau around Te Hiku (the top of the Far North) in areas prone to drought, with Community Service Cards, no access to reticulated water, connections to Te Hiku iwi, and history of contracting water-borne diseases.Harris said the funding was initially expected to pay for about 800 water tanks, complete with spouting, filters and, where possible, UV treatment to meet the national drinking water standards.Inflation since the programme was announced meant that number was now likely to be around 600.The tanks were generally 25,000 or 30,000 litres, and aimed to keep a family supplied with water even if no rain fell for 50 days.When the installation of Atholene Ngauma's tank was completed, she was looking forward to one thing above all else."To have a shower and wash my hair, so it's nice and soft," she laughed.* According to the Northland Regional Council, half of all Northlanders do not have access to a reticulated water supply. The figure for the Kaipara District, 70 percent, was even higher, and for Northland marae the figure was 97 percent. Nationally, the figure is about 15 percent.This story was originally published by RNZ

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