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© Vision Kerikeri 2016

Elections 2016: Vision Kerikeri's questions to the candidates - and their responses.

September 17, 2016

 

Vision Kerikeri (VKK) recently posed a range of questions to the nine candidates seeking election to the Bay of Islands - Whangaroa Ward of the Far North District Council and to the two Mayoral candidates.. These questions relate to issues that VKK has been active in pursuing with the existing council(s) over a number of years. You can view the questions and responses by scrolling down the page.

Climate Change

Do you believe that it is a Council role to show leadership in limiting or reducing carbon emissions and thus helping to mitigate the future impact of climate change on the Far North District?

 

Tania McInnes: Yes

 

Fred Terry: I do not think it is the Council’s specific core duty, but do believe that in any development or policy the council initiates, it is compliant with the best code of environmental law

 

Ann Court: Councils functions are dictated by the LGA 2012 - Our role is deliver core infrastructure and services at least cost to home owners and businesses (abridged). We have a role to play in achieving National Environmental Standards and we do this through policy, by-laws, district plan changes to name a few - we are not however leaders in the true sense of the word in climate change we are reactionary to central dictated legislation. Our role therefore is reactive rather than proactive. I wouldn't want to see our scope expanded at this time as we have limited capacity to respond to matters outside of our mandated brief and I remain concerned that these goals whilst laudable and sensible can divert precious ratepayer funded resources away from core business - therefore in reply I think given the ratepayers ability to pay for resourcing climate change initiatives over and above our core functions either by physical support or infrastructural changes is probably a little too tight at the moment - the current balance is about right.

 

Jane Johnston: Yes Council must show leadership in terms of how it conducts its business to reduce its corporate environmental footprint. It is even more critical though, that it understands its fundamental role in providing the systemic changes required to enable households and businesses to change how they do their business. The fact is it is local councils – as territorial authorities – that have been delegated the functions and array of powers to deliver the “communal” systems that facilitate how individuals, households and businesses behave in going about their daily lives - what they can and can’t do to reduce their individual footprint, that in turn contributes to our collective footprint. For example, transportation network, land use zoning, urban design, building design, waste management, provisions for water, waste water, and for storm-water are all interlinked within a settlement system. The academic discipline of urban geography is all about this – and I am very good at ‘systems’ thinking and got an A for that subject within my BSc – and then continued to study urban development for 10yrs as I taught the subject in NZ and in the UK, and then moved into strategic planning, which is all about how to steer towards a preferred ‘framework’ and system and prevent a basket case one that delivers the opposite of what we need to be doing if we are seriously about survival on this planet! There is very little that an individual, household or business does that has not been influenced by the systems designed and built by councils (and Govt). Every step of the way, councils are in the driving seat and making important decisions that lead to status quo and resource hungry communities or towards a more sustainable form of development, that facilitates people doing things differently. If you aren’t sure if I know what I am talking about – I share with you two pieces of research I did as a consultant to MfE.... One is about how it might influence councils to do more to promote sustainable households, the other focused on promoting sustainable businesses. A big problem for us mere minions is that Government chose not to publish my work – in fact it abandoned the whole “sustainable development” agenda – so what had been a very proactive Ministry for the Environment was gutted and hardly does anything anymore. The NZ Energy Strategy was binned, the Sustainable Cities Programme went west, ICLEI and the Climate Change office – gone. Government instead focused on economic growth by any means and at any (environmental, social, and cultural) cost, and on consolidation and making big businesses even bigger (etc).

 

Patrick Crawshaw: Yes, I think F.N.D.C. should lead the way in mitigating the impact of climate change.

 

Dave Hookway: Yes most definitely.

 

Harko Brown: Council can be proactive by taking regard for rising sea-levels in their legislation and planning. To me such recognition and advocacy is a means for safeguarding our people and their properties in the Far North. It is also a way to protect needless wastage of rates. Why build a roadway, or rubber stamp as housing development, along a coastline when the future projections say it will be flooded in twenty years?

 

Peter Gill (Mayoral Candidate): Yes, I do believe that. I have even debated the idea of attending election meetings that I have been invited to in places such as Whatuwhiwhi on the end of the Karikari Peninsular, based on carbon miles. An educated guess told me that I might get 18 in the audience. Thus the carbon miles travelled were about 11km per person attending. As someone who IS interested in the issue of carbon foot print, I cannot be seen to be racking up that amount of carbon just to try to get myself elected. I have proposed other ways, such as Skype, to the people there. Council changing to electric cars? Not quite yet. Their range is a bit restricted for a territory this big. As a motoring writer, I feel safe in saying this. (Authority: Peter Gill, HarperCollins book "Ten Times Round The Clock", and founder of the NZ Motoring Writers Guild). Charging stations are happening, and will continue to do so. Kawakawa has one now, Paihia is next....it may already have happened.

 

Steve McNally: Did not respond.

Willow-Jean Prime: Did not respond. 

John Carter (Mayoral Candidate): Did not respond

 

 

If you think that it is important what do you think that Council should do about it if you were elected?

Tania McInnes: Council needs to develop clear policy, based on sound research and after it has consulted with the community.

 

Fred Terry: (refer to Fred's response to the first question).

 

Ann Court: (refer to Ann's response to the first question)

 

Jane Johnston: tAs a critical first step I would seek to have a CEO appointed who understands the important role of a local authority in driving the necessary systemic changes needed to support communities to take a more sustainable pathway into the future. I would argue a necessity to have “implementing corporate responsibility” - to reduce the organisations environmental footprint and to promote beneficial social outcomes and local economic advantages - included as a key task and link it to their Key Performance Indicators and make it a core part of their performance review. I would argue to peg the CEOs performance pay to delivering a much more efficient, effective AND sustainable organisation.... nothing like what we’ve got now. I would work to have a sustainability manager appointed to benchmark the organisations environmental, social and economic (efficiency) performance – and seek to have 6 monthly progress reports (triple bottom line monitoring and reporting), and have Councillors set targets for the organisation performance against the triple bottom lines. I would drive a cultural change, to reduce, reuse, recycle in all aspects of ‘how’ people perform their role. Every council that has undertaken an energy audit and had an energywise officer appointed has saved significantly more money than they spent on having that person on the staff. They need to keep at it, as staff fall back into old bad habits until it is entrenched into the culture as a new way of behaving. I would push to establish sustainable procurement policies – even for inclusion in tender and contracting arrangements (to compel change of everyone Ratepayers are paying to work for them) AND concurrently would establish a Corporate sustainable practices manual. I’m also a strong advocate of ‘buy local’ to support small local businesses (not just big firms – from Aussie or Auckland or wherever), even for roading maintenance! And, I would argue to have a bunch of jobs internalised again – council workers filing in the pot holes, and driving the grader to re-grade local unsealed roads, spreading the gravel and mowing the verges. It is not a cost savings to have one big contracting firm doing the whole District or Region – that’s a myth promulgated by the amalgamation-consolidation cheerleaders. Amalgamation hasn’t been making anything cheaper or more efficient when done to Government agencies, or in relation to the local government sector. It has delivered the opposite (but has generated profits for a few – you might want to check out how much Transfield returned to its shareholders last year). I would promote the opposite – dispersal of workers into the communities they serve, and localism. Town handypeople/work gangs if you will – tasked with maintaining and fixing everything that needs doing in these small towns – unless it really is a big job – which might require greater expertise and access to equipment etc not needed all the time. The roving worker gang – for the big jobs – and nothing wrong with contracting an expert to work with communities from time to time for the rarer jobs (like designing a new sewage scheme). I would promote and participate in structure planning with communities to ensure these factor in sustainability criteria in the design. Sustainability does demand planning to retrofit existing places, structures and systems and feeding into the next iteration of asset management plans (and consequently into annual plans and long term plans), and also into the review of the District Plans. Council is THE regulator of land use activities – and can have a lot of influence on what ought to be allowed to take place where and how – this is a fundamental CRITICAL role in providing for more sustainable development.

 

Patrick Crawshaw: A more sustainable approach to everything we do is needed. Electric cars are a good start and the development of Ngawha as a renewable energy industrial park would help too. I think we should be rewarding people who want to reduce their electricity bills by installing solar energy, not penalising them.

 

Dave Hookway: Council should take the lead in waste management – taking back private contracts and re-employing local people to recycle as much waste as possible – with the aim of reducing landfill mass – and consequential gases. It should assess its current carbon footprint and seek community input as to the level of change they would like – and fund where necessary.

 

Harko Brown: To sensibly work with other organisations and interest groups in our region to plan for future rising sea levels and to work to mitigate our enormous production of CO2 by advocating for businesses, productions and initiatives which produce low levels of CO2. Climate change was a hot topic when I was a lecturer at Waikato University, some sixteen years ago, and I can’t say I see much in our council literature that gives proper credence to this phenomenon. We need knowledgeable fresh faces on council who are up to date with this topic and who have worked around the country with organisations to plan for futurescapes.

 

Peter Gill (Mayoral Candidate): See response to first question

 

Steve McNally: Did not respond.

Willow-Jean Prime: Did not respond. 

John Carter (Mayoral Candidate): Did not respond

 

 

 Would you support Council changing its cars to electric vehicles?

Tania McInnes: Yes

 

Fred Terry:? Not in the near future, but would consider replacement of vehicles when and after, commercial interests have established a reliable network of electric charging stations

 

Ann Court: The decision on which vehicles to purchase is a management tool based on affordability, practicality, procurement, maintenance, fit for purpose, serviceability to name but a few of the assessment tools. If Electric Vehicles meet the tests and can be supported (and they wont be for every use) then yes - but I wouldn't want to be in a position of instructing the management about what type of vehicles to purchase - My short answer is if they are suitable and affordable then our policy should provide for Management to consider them as an option.

 

Jane Johnston: Yes I would – this is precisely the sort of ‘leading by example’ that a council tasked with promoting sustainable management under the RMA should do. I would also remove provision of a corporate car and fleet petrol card as part of salary packages – as that perk dis-incentivises personal responsibility to reduce use (waste). For example, there are staff with corporate cars driving 1.5 to 2hrs from home to work and back each day. That is a travesty not only for the planet, but for our people given the majority of our ratepayers live with fuel poverty and don’t drive unless they have to. The simple step of taking away this perk would see staff moving closer to their place of work, or carpooling. Or - provide them with electric cars!

 

Patrick Crawshaw:Yes, absolutely

 

Dave Hookway: Yes – where similar vehicles are available.

 

Harko Brown: Isn’t it weird that we have been side-tracked for over a century by running our vehicles on fossil fuels. Cars were originally powered by electricity then industrialists stepped in and ruined that progression. Yes definitely lets get back to electric cars and their low CO2 footprint.

 

Peter Gill (Mayoral Candidate): See response to first question.

 

Steve McNally: Did not respond.

Willow-Jean Prime: Did not respond. 

John Carter (Mayoral Candidate): Did not respond

 

Would you support Council putting in some electric charging stations placed strategically in our district at Council facilities?

Tania McInnes: Yes, I have already advocated for this.

 

Fred Terry: This is not the responsibility or core function of local govt. This is a commercial interest

 

Ann Court: Electricity Supply Companies are best placed to lead this however there should be opportunities presented to encourage installation at public facilities - this can be via policy development that encourages the opportunity rather than the direct provision of the infrastructure at a cost to the ratepayer.

 

Jane Johnston: Absolutely – why haven’t they done this already, when we have a growing group of citizens with these cars who we should be supporting as change agents.

 

Patrick CrawshawYes

 

Dave Hookway: Yes if these were for Council vehicles. For public vehicles analysis would be necessary to locate such where accessible and practicable for users.

 

Harko Brown:  Hats off to those leaders in our communities who are promoting electric transport. We have a lot to learn from overseas but without those few we wouldn’t be in the position we are now. Yes, definitely more charging stations! Electricity prices are abhorrent in the Far North so along with such an initiative I would like to see council also petition Government for more equitable prices for our people. I think we have been cleverly side-tracked by media interests who blame poverty on gambling, drugs, alcohol etc when I feel such commodities as incredibly high power charges are the real culprits. Imagine if households didn’t have to pay $100 or more per week on basic power usage how much freed-up money there would be for families to comfortably cover essentials such as medicines, food, transport and clothing.

 

Peter Gill (Mayoral Candidate): See response to first question.

 

Steve McNally: Did not respond.

Willow-Jean Prime: Did not respond. 

John Carter (Mayoral Candidate): Did not respond

Kerikeri / Waipapa Structure Plan

 

What is your view of the usefulness of the Kerikeri/Waipapa Structure Plan and why do you hold this view?

Tania McInnes:  I think it is important work, with community involvement. I believe it needs to be reviewed. I support the development of a clear strategic plan for the whole of the Far North. One that clearly aligns with community aspirations and ensures we look after our place and our people for generations to come.

 

Fred Terry:The Kerikeri/Waipapa Structure Plan is useful, but should become a ‘living document’ to be constantly updated to meet the rapid growth and economic links between the two communities

 

Ann Court: This has always been one of my babies so I hold it very dear to my heart. It needs a review to test that many of its assumptions are still valid and this project is underway albeit it is still in its infancy. Given Kerikeri's incredible growth then some serious consideration needs to be given to the plans vision and to the provision of core infrastructure.

 

Jane Johnston: I think it is very useful as it represents a concerted effort at forward planning for this area, and a great deal of participation by the community. The travesty is that it was not translated into a sequenced work programme to be incorporated into all the relevant asset management plans – and ways and means developed for delivering key aspects of it – by the Council and, where able to, in partnership with the community (e.g. Business Association, Vision Kerikeri). I do think it needs to be reviewed now however, assumptions tested and new ones developed and to re-engage with the community as it is now. In other words, it needs a refresh – and thence to be actually translated into what is required to have it implemented. This work needs to be done urgently – to be able to feed into the District Plan review – particularly given new sewerage (etc) that changes the development potential or context.

 

Patrick CrawshawI think it is important to the future of Kerikeri to be prepared to enable expansion in a coherent way. Good town planning is crucial and we run a very big risk of sleep-walking into a very big mess in Kerikeri where big business and commercial interest take over against the communities wishes and thus creating a very unattractive place in which to live; Where signs (you can already see this in Waipapa) become the archtiecture, traffic becomes unbearable and Kerikeri becomes one large urban sprawl engolfing Waipapa and all the fertile land in its wake.

 

Dave Hookway: I have lived and operated my business in Waipapa for 21 years. I think the original 2007 plan was quite comprehensive and made many vital recommendations which have been frustratingly ignored. I appreciate it recognises that the role of Council is more than just “roads and sewerage” (as most other candidates espouse) and that people and community facilities are central to the Plan. This is what makes it most relevant. It also supports youth facilities which are urgently needed to keep kids out of trouble. Overall, it takes a well-founded public health approach to community development. A healthy community is a strong community.

 

Harko Brown: Such a plan is essential for the continued growth of this area. A big emphasis here on water supply and sewerage disposal.

 

Peter Gill (Mayoral Candidate): Did not respond to this question.

 

Steve McNally: Did not respond.

Willow-Jean Prime: Did not respond. 

John Carter (Mayoral Candidate): Did not respond

 

Do you support improved traffic circulation in Kerikeri town centre by the construction of a ring road (a second main street) from Countdown to Homestead Road through to Clark Road and King Street? If so what would you do?

Tania McInnes: Yes, Council is already undertaking work to support this proposal.

 

Fred Terry:This is obviously an important planning issue and I would need to know a lot more of the economic benefits of such a proposal

 

Ann Court: Yes - We have purchased a number of strategic properties and continue to do so - a team led by Ruben Wylie has been tasked this year to validate the assumptions and put a business case to Council.

 

Jane Johnston: I support improved traffic circulation in and around the township, not just in the centre. I am not convinced that a one way loop system is all that is required however. I envisage an alternative 2-way link road – not just from Butler Rd, but perhaps from Access Rd to the Heritage Bypass that would provide a connection along ends of all the no exit roads off that side of Kerikeri Rd, countdown, join the Butler link road to King St, but also continuing beyond towards the bypass. Similarly I would progress a new southern link Rd from SH10 to Mill Lane. I would make intersection improvements at Hone Heke Rd. I would also designate as public access roads, one way lanes through the existing private car parks that cater to the rat run within the centre of town. These ‘access lanes’ need to be protected and the property owners would be compensated with having height restrictions raised and reduced provision for on-site parking (as we move towards more public transport, improved walkability, and pool vehicles).

 

Patrick Crawshaw: I support anything that reduces traffic in the town centre. Town centres should be peaceful, attractive places where people can meet, shop, eat and drink - That incourages growth, prospertiy and community not hundreds of cars parking outsise one shop to then drive to the next one and park.

 

Dave Hookway: Most definitely. I am in support of expediting alternate roadways to decongest the township. Further, I support prioritising pedestrians in the township to put people before cars.

 

Harko Brown: This has been on the drawing board for many years. The properties have been purchased I believe so it is just the finance and will of council to make it happen. Let’s do it!

 

Peter Gill (Mayoral Candidate): Yes. I do support that. Traffic circulation in the town does not follow a smooth dynamic at the moment. It needs to be un-choked. Unfortunately, visitors coming from the south get to see and unfortunately unattractive part of town by having to go through the current loop, and how a wider ring road can fix that, I am not sure.

 

 

Steve McNally: Did not respond.

Willow-Jean Prime: Did not respond. 

John Carter (Mayoral Candidate): Did not respond

Community Board Funding

 

Do you think that Community Boards should continue being allocated funding from Council for local community purposes?

Tania McInnes: Yes

 

Fred Terry:? Yes, as long as the allocated funding is fairly distributed.

 

Ann Court: Yes - they are the appropriate vehicle as they are close to the community and can make the best decisions. Seed funding can be a terrific vehicle to some wonderful initiatives for our communities growth, enjoyment and betterment.

 

Jane Johnston: Yes I do, and I wrote a submission to Council this year on behalf of the Paihia R&RA asking them to reinstate it. Why - there is a great unmet need in our communities and as a collective if we want to pool some money to enable good community initiatives, we ought to be able to do that.

Patrick Crawshaw: Yes

 

Dave Hookway:  I am unsure about this – and would be interested in discussing further.

 

Harko Brown: Having served on our local Bay of Islands-Whangaroa Community Board, and as our region’s representative on the NZ Community Boards Executive, I believe that this entity has an important, and often over-looked, grassroots function. During my term I was astounded by the numbers of voluntary organisations and people in our community who do so much work to benefit our region. It was very rewarding seeking out, and working with, the voluntary groups who were happy to raise their own funds for community projects, but who appreciated and did so much more with a bit of cash injection from our board. I personally believe that every councillor needs to have worked closely with their wider community as a community board member before being council elected – you learn how to effectively distribute funding - small amounts of money can produce such big benefits community-wide and you work long hours for your community to make a difference. To raise awareness about community boards I would like to see a weekly report in local newspapers about the enormous work they do.

 

Peter Gill (Mayoral Candidate): So far the model seems to be reasonably popular throughout New Zealand, and until convinced otherwise, I would not rush to disturb it.

 

Steve McNally: Did not respond.

Willow-Jean Prime: Did not respond. 

John Carter (Mayoral Candidate): Did not respond

 

If so is the present allocated sum sufficient, too much or too little?

Tania McInnes: It seems appropriate for the current delegations. I support that they have a strategic approach to funding allocation.

 

Fred Terry: No opinion at the moment

 

Ann Court: This was put out for public consultation last year and the feedback was strongly supportive that it continue - we think the balance is about right bearing in mind that their will always be more demand than resources provide but this needs to be balanced against the ratepayers ability to pay.

 

Jane Johnston: The current allocation is too little, in the submission I was involved with (for Paihia Residents and Ratepayers) we asked for it to be doubled – even that isn’t sufficient – but Council (nor Ratepayers yet) hasn’t done any analysis on what a more accurate cost of delivering unmet demand is. I would take savings by council, to fund community projects.

 

Patrick Crawshaw: Sorry I would not like to say.

 

Dave Hookway: Again unsure depending on further discussion.

 

Harko Brown: Reinstate to the previous highest levels. Money well spent.

Peter Gill (Mayoral Candidate): Did not respond to this question.

 

Steve McNally: Did not respond.

Willow-Jean Prime: Did not respond. 

John Carter (Mayoral Candidate): Did not respond

Cycle and Foot Paths

 

Do you think that Kerikeri should have more cycle paths and separated foot paths or is this just a waste of rate payer’s money?

Tania McInnes: Yes, but once again needs to be developed in consultation with the community to ensure value. I want to note that although I definitely support more cycleways in general, finding the funding to undertake this is difficult with a small ratepayer base and large district.

 

Fred TerryFootpath and possible cycle-way provision is not a waste of money but should be considered in context of what the community can afford.

 

Ann Court: We will never as ratepayers be able to afford all the paths we want and need so we need to maximize subsidy funding - in order for this to occur they should be combined as this addresses NZTA's funding instruments. This approach has advanced the Kerikeri Road Footpath/Cycle Path extension and the Haruru Falls to Waitangi extension which combined will be close to $2m - this would not have been achievable without combining the two into a safety project. We have begun a new District Wide strategy being led by Keith Kent who will work on the business cases to put forward into the next Regional Land Transport Plan. Concurrently as our existing paths are renewed we are looking to ensure they are fit for purpose for our growing community with mobility requirements. We want to encourage walkability not only for its health benefits but for compact urban form but also for its environmental benefits and if more people can walk/cycle then their is less demand for car parks etc. So these need to be linked to urban planning, zoning, locations of schools, shops, sports-grounds, medical centres, services etc. We need also to be mindful of our growing aged population and disabled population who may have some mobility concerns - all of this is important to the social fabric of our community and is in my view some of our most critical infrastructure after the 3 waters.

 

Jane Johnston: Yes, Kerikeri could use more cycleways and footpaths within suburban areas as well as along connector routes (so within Riverview for example, not just between Riverview and Waipapa) – but these don’t necessarily need to be separated (have any of you been to Tokyo? Bikes can share pavements with pedestrians) . However, a proper accessway plan needs to be developed or projects are piecemeal and some opportunities will be lost (as not factored into District Plan or Asset Management Plans, and so unable to be required in processing resource consents. So there ought to have been walkways provided for when “the Ridge” was developed for example, and should be when Hall Rd is intensified (post sewerage going in there). It must be noted though, that a case for some (let alone more) cycleways and footpaths can be made for all our townships and communities – so the allocation of the Rates taken from every Ratepayer for this purpose (as part of “General” rates for community facilities) does need to be distributed fairly. It is ridiculous, for example, that the footpath between Haruru Falls and Waitangi is only just being delivered given years and years of glaring need – given the volume of walkers on that route, risk given the amount (dozens every day during summer), nature (buses, bicycles, campervans) and speed (100km) of the traffic. And, that footpath even met Councils’ own criteria for footpaths, but staff hadn’t taken the time to apply the criteria, instead they were having a chat with the Community Board in what they misnamed a ‘strategic planning workshop’ to see what ideas those people come up with. No ideas = no projects.

 

Patrick Crawshaw: More

 

Dave Hookway: This depends on where you are talking about. Overall, pedestrian and cycles/mobility carts should be prioritised. I watch in anguish every time a mobility cart attempts to cross the roundabout opposite Countdown. Physical activity makes for a healthier population.

 

 

Harko Brown: When I was on the community board long stretches of road, such as Kerikeri Inlet Road, were well down the council footpath completion list. Having researched its foot traffic usage and spoken to hundreds of locals living along the road it was obvious that it needed to be pathed. It took three years of community board advocacy to bump it up to the top of the list, working closely with other board members, and it remains a very rewarding achievement. Students can now travel to school safely, mothers (and fathers) can push their prams along the road without danger, wheel-chairs have 2km of safe causeway, and all types of recreational usage is now possible for residents into town, to Roland Wood, for entry points to the Waitangi Forest and as a loop road connector. Footpaths can be utilised as cycle-paths too, it is common overseas and works well. I have previously advocated long and hard for a history-themed Waitangi cycle track from Kerikeri to Paihia and further to link up with our Twin Coast Cycle Trail. In working with council and our local community board a local organisation, Kerikeri Striders, completed a very good proposal in 2013, which I wold be keen to accelerate if elected to council.

 

Peter Gill (Mayoral Candidate): Did not respond to this question.

 

Steve McNally: Did not respond.

Willow-Jean Prime: Did not respond. 

John Carter (Mayoral Candidate): Did not respond

Sewerage Scheme

 

The sewerage scheme for Kerikeri currently being planned only covers the town’s central area. Do you think that Riverview should have a reticulated sewerage system of its own?

Tania McInnes: This is not my area of expertise – I would need to take advice.

 

Fred Terry:? I believe serious consideration be given to a separate ‘satellite sewerage system’ be developed for all the area North of the dividing Kerikeri River, which would include River View, and would also include Skudders Beach, Rangitane and Waipapa. The current development of the new treatment plant to the South-East of Kerikeri has the advantage of proximity to the Waitangi effluent disposal area, but is as far away as possible to economically treat the combined waste water/Sewerage from these area’s

 

Ann Court: Ultimately but not today - the new by-law for septic tank maintenance has arrested any environmental concerns for now. When the time is right it will need to be considered as a stand alone scheme utilizing alternative technology as conventional sewerage ha proven to be just too expensive for this area. We will need to find a balance between sensible environmental outcomes / growth and ratepayers ability to pay. This will be part of the second phase of Kerikeri reticulation to be considered. The Kerikeri scheme which will go to construction next year provides for an additional 870 connections. Thinking about question 6 above we need to ensure we can provide connectivity and walkability to our satellite suburbs and concentrate growth in areas that can be sensibly sustainable and affordably serviced.

 

Jane Johnston: tI think there needs to be a full and accurate accounting of the costs and benefits of providing sewerage scheme to this area... and that is an exercise that ought to be done with the directly affected stakeholders – not in a council office, in secrecy by one councillor and a handful of potentially poorly qualified and inexperienced staff. The “Let’s Talk Crap” marketing campaign failed to provide accurate costings for reticulating this area and was lying about the benefits (false assertions as to causes and extent of pollution and public health risk). Sewerage schemes are an ‘enabler’ of development. That means in a ‘growth’ phase, it prompts intensification, which leads to additional water and energy demands, more people means more traffic (so increase the road network capacity), greater need (demand) for footpaths, cycleways, street-lighting, parks (reserves) – the whole nine yards – if that is how Riverview wants to develop, then what will it cost them and what will it cost the collective of Ratepayers . OR, will they want just sewerage scheme, but to retain the current character (large sections, trees, etc) – if the later, then that community better get their current amenity values protected via the District Plan review – as it stands, reticulation leads to ‘permission’ to subdivide – intensification with all the additional costs will follow (during growth spurts).

 

Patrick Crawshaw: Yes

 

Dave Hookway: I support the concepts that the Kerikeri/Waipapa Structure Plan proposes. The fact that satellite treatment options should be considered. Operating a food business in Waipapa for 13 years without sewerage was extremely challenging and in the latter years very expensive with twice weekly grey water removal costing $500 per week.

 

Harko Brown: I believe the entire sewerage scheme needs a rethink. Many millions have been spent without a single pipe being laid. We don’t want to end up as another Kaipara. That is why I feel we need new blood on council, are there strong independent voices who would counter our wasting hundreds of millions on such a travesty? Times are tough and people are hurting, council needs to do the right thing.

 

Peter Gill (Mayoral Candidate):  I was utterly appalled when I first learned of the plans for the new sewerage extension. First, the map that council put out to the population was almost impossible to read. Later, it became obvious that a massive omission was Riverview. A couple of years ago, maybe three, I talked to the Principal of Riverview School, who was very worried about the sewerage difficulties of a large primary school not being on proper mains sewerage. On top of that, you would have to have been living in a cupboard not to see that Riverview, by its physical nature, must be a massive polluter of the bay.Something has to be done. (I do not live in Riverview).

 

Steve McNally: Did not respond.

Willow-Jean Prime: Did not respond. 

John Carter (Mayoral Candidate): Did not respond

Kerikeri Road

 

Kerikeri Road has no landscaping rules do you think that this is necessary?

Tania McInnes: I’m not sure it’s necessary, but it would potentially add to Kerikeri’s presentation, if developed correctly.

 

Fred Terry: No

 

Ann Court: This road has always in my view needed to be protected- we are starting to see more and more creep because of our permissive District Plan rules - Laser plumbing is another example of our silly rules allowing this kind of thing - we are attempting to address creep by way of (PC 15) currently under appeal and the review of the District Plan - as always these are contestable processes the ultimate arbiter is often sadly the environment court. Meaning it is often survival of the those with the most financial means and stamina - not good community planning in my view.

 

Jane Johnston: Only if that is what the community has asked for or would like to ask for. Lots of roads don’t have such rules and have high landscape amenity – it is notoriously difficult to prevent people from removing vegetation from their own property, if that is the only thing preventing them from developing it how they might wish to develop it. Regulating to protect amenity values works best if it is done as a package deal – so rather than just trying to ban removal of boundary vegetation, you might also promote larger setbacks, increased height permission, restrict entranceways that can be created from the main roads (so instead of having 6 new drives along a front boundary permit only one Right of Way and lines for services to multiple titles (or structures) within a title, ban garages at the front of a section (permit them at the back) etc. None of it is possible if the community doesn’t want it – as they take council to Environment Court if trying to provide restrictions they don’t want.

 

Patrick Crawshaw: Yes, very necessary.

 

Dave Hookway: I think the road has looked increasing ugly with the proliferation of signs (contrary to the Waipapa/Kerikeri Plan). Landscaping would improve the aspect of the road.

 

Harko Brown: I feel this is where the human touch comes in and councillors can communicate and work one-on-one with residents without the need for hard-hitting legislation. We all want an inviting and pleasing panorama as an entry to town, we can achieve that without a ton of bureaucracy.

 

Peter Gill (Mayoral Candidate): Did not respond to this question.

 

Steve McNally: Did not respond.

Willow-Jean Prime: Did not respond. 

John Carter (Mayoral Candidate): Did not respond

Development Contributions

 

Do you think that development contributions should be reinstated? If so why?

Tania McInnes: Maybe, when appropriate (we currently cannot legally collect these). I think that as part of the rating review all avenues for revenue collection need to be considered.

 

Fred TerryYes - to help pay for the infrastructure

 

Ann Court: I think we need to have the conversation- we need to find a way to pay for growth. The ratepayer cannot be expected to meet all of the costs of new infrastructure. DC's were dropped to encourage development - given Auckland's growth we are seeing a flow on effect here. Year to date we have issued 200 more building consents than for last year and it is not showing any signs of abating. So the question is valid - who and how will we pay for our needs moving forward.

 

Jane Johnston: Yes – it is a tool (with relevant powers) provided for in legislation for very good reason – as was the “financial contributions” provision under the RMA – the fact that the public can fight what councils try to do under RMA (in Environmental Court) made that an expensive route (I know because I was assisting Rodney District with analysis to support its attempt to put a Fin. Con. Formula in place, that spent years in Court because the Judge wouldn’t make a decision but kept sending the parties away to do more negotiating. The developers effectively achieved a stonewall).... and that problem was why an equivalent tool was put into the Local Government Act (there is no Local Government Court to turn to! – just a bunch of councillors, who collectively must adopt a Development Contributions Policy). Our Council dropped Dev Contributions in 2015 because of bad advice, by someone not qualified to be making the advice. They just looked at the downturn in subdivision and building permits being sought over the previous few years, and came to a view that its more trouble than it was worth. They also had to face up to the reality that they had been taking Dev. Contributions to for public works that they and then failed to deliver - so they were at risk of being sued to return the money. E.g. like money taken to help pay for the Kerikeri sewerage scheme for example... a developer can apply to have the money returned if it isn’t spent on what it is taken for within 10yrs... and some had waited more than 10yrs for a sewer lines within their subdivision. I do think Council needs to reinstate Dev Contributions – in part to demonstrate that it is actually doing forward planning for essential infrastructure, as it is meant to. I think not having a policy reflects Council has no confidence in its own ability to determine what it will need to build (and so must pay for) over the next decade. Council needs proper forward (development) planning expertise - able to do forecasting (not straight line projections based on the past) and development modelling, and expertise as to how the various functions, tools and powers are meant to work together (as interlinked aspects) promoting a preferred form of development over laissez faire whatever may come can come.

 

Patrick Crawshaw: No

 

Dave Hookway: Yes – increased development adds to the strain on existing infrastructure. Contributions should not be traded off as they have in the past.

 

Harko Brown: I’m not convinced that more development is necessarily a good thing for our region without proper infrastructure being in place. In our hard financial times we need to consolidate and protect what we have achieved as a council/community. A fresh new council could discuss this option, however I would be inclined to agree that they are necessary.

 

Peter Gill (Mayoral Candidate): Did not respond to this question.

 

Steve McNally: Did not respond.

Willow-Jean Prime: Did not respond.

John Carter (Mayoral Candidate): Did not respond

Pet Controls

 

 Do you think that rules to control dogs in Kiwi zones are necessary?

Tania McInnes: Yes

 

Fred Terry: Very much so.

 

Ann Court: Sadly I think good dogs and their owners will always be good and bad dogs and their owners will always be bad - rules tend to capture everyone and the bad dogs and their bad owners will probably ignore them anyway. There are rules currently in the plan - are they effective enough? Not sure... I don't live in a Kiwi zone and I don't own a dog - What I learned from the Dog By-law policy currently under development is that emotions become very fraught when anyone starts suggesting that your pooch is not a saint -Its a good debate to have as part of the District Plan review and I will be guided by those who are far more knowledgable on this subject than I.

 

Jane Johnston: There are rules already in place –in the form of the Dog Control Act. All dogs are meant to be under control of their owners at all times; it is already against the law for a dog to kill any wildlife or other peoples animals, to be roaming, to ‘attack’ and even to ‘rush’- and there are already harsh penalties available to councils to punish dogs and dog owners who break the law. The problem we have is that our Council hasn’t got serious about irresponsible dog owners, and made policing of the Dog Control Act a priority. Having said that – yes, a council could try to write additional rules into the District Plan to further contain dogs for biodiversity conservation purposes on particular zoned land. But I would argue they don’t need to, as there is already national legislation, and the first rule of rule-making is, is to ask “is there already a rule?” (ergo, no need to replicate).

 

Patrick Crawshaw: No

 

Dave Hookway: Yes if we are to ensure that local Kiwi populations survive and flourish.

 

Harko Brown: The rules are there for all to see, again, it comes down to the pet owners doing the right thing.

 

Peter Gill (Mayoral Candidate): Did not respond to this question.

 

Steve McNally: Did not respond.

Willow-Jean Prime: Did not respond. 

John Carter (Mayoral Candidate): Did not respond

 

Do you think that cats should be micro-chipped or is this just an unfair cost on cat owners?

Tania McInnes: No

 

Fred Terry: I think all cats should be micro-chipped and some sort of Govt. subsidy should be made available through the SPCA or other agency

 

Ann Court: What would micro-chipping them achieve? If there is a measureable goal and is it helpful? I don't know at this point in time so sorry I cannot give you a definitive answer to this question.

 

Jane Johnston: Nope, I don’t think compulsory requirement to micro-chip cats is necessary – not because it’s an unfair cost – but because it would be ineffectual if what you are after is for cats to be kept inside or to be ‘contained’ or ‘under the control of their owner’ (a la, as dogs are meant to be). The compelling case for such restrictions on dogs has been that dogs attack and sometimes kill people, and rip childrens’ faces to pieces. Cats aren’t a danger to public safety. And people kill more wildlife than cats do, by destroying habitat, poisoning, competing for resources with them etc. Cats do also kill vermin and keep home alone elderly people company. I would rather have bylaws about keeping cats contained on owners’ property, and incentivise de-sexing them than have to set up yet another national registration system and database, that would be needed to support a ‘requirement’ to micro-chip cats – and what for exactly?

 

Patrick Crawshaw: No

 

Dave Hookway: No – I think this is an unnecessary cost on cat owners.

 

Harko Brown: With rules and regulations sometimes you need to consider whether they are going to succeed. This would be a flop, not only because of the management bureaucracy, but because of the high costs of micro-chipping for families. I agree in theory, good on the owners who do it, but for this debate No.

 

Peter Gill (Mayoral Candidate): Did not respond to this question.

 

Steve McNally: Did not respond.

Willow-Jean Prime: Did not respond. 

John Carter (Mayoral Candidate): Did not respond

Public Access

 

Do you think that we have sufficient public access to the coast or streams? If not what would you do?

Tania McInnes: Yes, currently. This also needs to be considered moving forward to ensure this is maintained appropriately.

 

Fred TerryPublic access is constrained in some instances by historic lack of esplanade reserves. I believe where a change of ownership and or sub-division occurs, public access becomes a condition of the new title.

 

Ann Court: Yes I think we do but as we grow we should continue to explore every opportunity to enable greater public access - our district plan has an important role to play in this area coupled with the Coastal Policy Statement - we have the tools to enable this to occur.

 

Jane Johnston: tWe have a lot of access to the coast, and not enough to rivers and streams. But I don’t think we have sufficient – in terms of just how much of NZ’s coast is still inaccessible, as are most rivers, streams and water bodies. I don’t think future access to the coast is assured and think we do need to do more to secure coastal and riparian access – that means strong provisions in the District Plan, but also a plan to secure more public reserves (to enable access) to the coast, to waterbodies and waterways. We should be working with the Regional Council and DoC on a Northland coastal, marine and waterways access plan. I can’t believe we still have no National Park in Northland, and think some coastal regional parks are in order, as wll as bush parks. I am also worried about potential for unfettered development along the coast and in the marine environment - I see private marinas, wharves, jetties, decks, pontoons, moorings being permitted, as well demand for more aquaculture areas (fin-fish farming will be coming). Currently there is a bias favouring such developments as there is no title (no land to buy) and no Rates associated with such development. So, for example, the main new developments in Paihia over the past 4yrs I have been back here, have all been over the water, with two significant new builds – availing themselves of public resources (public space, public water supply and sewerage scheme, parking and transport network) and contributing zero in rates for these services. Ditto FNHL plans for Opua. Not a bad business model for a restaurant in this part of the world! What’s to stop developers filling in the whole of the Paihia waterfront with restaurants or a Santa Monica type pier fun-park – basically nothing - a handful of submitters opposed to a resource consent application (that might not even be notified if they do it by creep rather than one big hit) that the NRC always approves... has that Council said NO to any development in the marine environment this past 10yrs? I must find out.

 

Patrick Crawshaw:  I think we are spoilt in the Bay of Islands to coastal acess that is the envy of the many overseas visitors who come every year.

 

Dave Hookway: This has continued to be an issue for the 21 years I have lived here. I am personally frustrated that this has not been resolved and that many parts of our beautiful countryside remain inaccessible to the general public. I think we should prioritise resolving the issues of access with current land owners.

 

Harko Brown: Locals would be well aware that I have pushed for more access to our coast and waterways. These were once birthrights and unless we fight vigorously to retain them we will, I feel, be letting our children and their descendants down. We shouldn’t support the great social divide of have and have nots, we are community and as such we should all share in natures bountiful resources.

 

Peter Gill (Mayoral Candidate): Did not respond to this question. 

 

Steve McNally: Did not respond.

Willow-Jean Prime: Did not respond. 

John Carter (Mayoral Candidate): Did not respond

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A working bee is held on the first and third Monday of every month from 0830 to 1130.

 

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