2009 – 2019 NRC - NCP SUBMISSION - Warren & Patricia (Pat) Slater
Riding Downs Way
Firstly, thank you for this opportunity to voice our opinions on your 2009 – 2019 Northland Regional Council - Northland Community Plan.
Times at the moment are tough and that is why projects really must be carefully prioritised. More and more projects are now being targeted at ratepayers, instead of funded through taxes, possibly having a huge financial burden on many low and fixed income families of which we must be sometimes made aware of. At times we must attempt to look through the eyes of the ones in these positions and not through our own.
Rescue Helicopter Services in Northland
By applying a targeted rate to this organization you are taking away people’s choice of their preferred charity. While we support this project we believe monies for NEST should be sought from alternative means rather than through ratings. To some, $8.56 per annum is not a lot when it comes to the security of knowing this service is available to each and everyone of us if in the unfortunate event of an accident where an ambulance is not available. Perhaps the case may be more urgent in the vital golden hour than the time in which an ambulance can get there. We would like this service to be prioritized over other projects, but reiterate that funding should be fully or partly sought elsewhere. Next year will it be funding other organizations like ‘Citizens Advice’, ‘Budgeting Services’, ‘St John Ambulance’, ‘Police’, ‘Fire Service’. Is this the thin edge of the wedge? Remember people were targeted for a ‘Multi Events Centre’ that now appears by the many reports becoming a rugby only venue, with council’s now not having areas of suitability for some of the sports as originally planned. Tread carefully.
New Transport Rate for the Whangarei District
We realize the importance of buses in providing safe transport for those who can not drive for any reason such as age, cost or abilities; however people who drive cars have to personally make payments for their own transport. Many may not find public transport suitable for them because of where their work is, where they live, their hours of work, security or other responsibilities that do not fit in with the public transport timetable. The point we are coming to is that this service is not for all people as in the way NEST could be and yet all are being asked to pay towards it. We do support part subsidization of this service.
Perhaps the two services above could be reduced to lessen the burden to ratepayers of around $11.40 pa.
Subsidize NEST at the rate of $5-00 with the balance to be sought elsewhere if possible.
Apply a transport rate of $5-00 with the balance to be sought from increased fares.
We support the Council’s ongoing efforts to mitigate future flood risk and damage to property, funding works from a further targeted rate levied on those properties that benefit from the works.
Ongoing Dredging of the Hatea River Channel
We believe that the Hatea dredging fund of at least $1.69 per annum to be used to maintain the channel depth is most appropriate and necessary. (in our opinion the older rate of $2-82 was acceptable) Our belief, after talking to many people on the issue of flooding in Whangarei, is that insufficient dredging of the Hatea contributes to flooding during high tides. This aside, it is most important for access to the area for larger yachts and also helps to keep the harbour clean. There are many businesses in this town that rely on its sailing visitor fraternity. We understand that most sailors spend an average of $60,000-00 pa. when here on maintenance and living costs, some spend much more.
Other Recreational Facilities Rate
In regard to the council ceasing to collect funding of $5.63 to fund the development of other recreational facilities in Northland we will support the council in this. We do not fully know of the situation around this but presume the direction the council wishes to take to prioritize services is necessary and we do believe we have many facilities, parks etc to cater to the public in this economic climate and that private ventures can be established for other activities if this is profitable. We do not believe at this time that all can afford to pay for facilities that may not be used by all. The $5.63 could perhaps be better used by some ratepayers.
Sustainable Water Allocation Plan
We support option 1; to protect our water resources and provide future certainty and security of water supply.
Stock Truck Effluent Disposal Facilities
In regard to stock truck effluent disposal facilities, sure provide the facilities to protect our environment and impose penalties on those that fail to use them and dump effluent illegally. However we do not support spending on this from ratepayer’s money. We believe this should be a targeted cost to the users of this service. Is this, or is this not, a user pay society?
Northland Port Shares
No choice on this topic as we have insufficient information to make an informed decision on the matter.
New Council Controlled Organisation - Shared services
We support improvements to the system. We must keep up with technology within reason, to do our jobs confidently and professionally. On the other hand we don’t need to be so advanced with the capabilities of systems to fly to the moon.
Sewage discharges; We are in contact with a lot of other people, have marched alongside many of them, signed petitions, viewed internet materials on the subject and have read many of their comments in the papers, including those from school children. Professionals have done articles in the media in relation to the situation of our contaminated harbour, the true jewel in our crown, the one we care about. Our harbour is a free resource that we have; all we need to do is maintain it. We hope many of these people have made submissions but know we speak for many when we say…… Zero tolerance to raw untreated sewage discharges. We can fix our sewerage system easier than we can fix our harbour and waterways.
Events Centre; We feel that this is going in time to be a ‘rugby only venue’ and do not support ongoing funding, if this is the case. Rugby at this level is professional and should be funded by users, sponsors etc. We believe if it is not available openly to the wide community like Kensington Park it is not a community facility and should not be funded as such.
Marsden Point Rail Link Designation; We support the direction of having better rail networks, not just to Marsden Point but to other destinations. Milk, timber, containers etc could be transported regionally and nationally if managed prudently. Rail in New Zealand failed by bad management and no accountability in the 60s, 70s and 80s. Our roads could be much better and safer by ridding them of the trucks that congest and damage the road surfaces. Daily passenger services could also be applied to the same freight movements with diligent planning.
Broadband; Bring it on. We totally support improvements to the Broadband services in Northland. A comment heard, if a person in Mangere can fast download a movie, why can’t a business in Kaitaia have the same service. Enough said, let’s move forward with the times, it will hopefully encourage international and local business to prosper in our region.
Electricity; Electricity is most important to our region’s future. We take flicking the switch on as a god given right. If nothing happens…….. everything comes to a grinding halt. Northland Regional council on behalf of our region must ensure that electricity supply companies invest in the region to ensure the much needed power is affordable and supply is reliable. We sincerely encourage the NRC to be vigilant in this area of development.
We request that the NRC re-insert the existing detailed precautionary GE
policy in the NRC adopted LTCCP 2006-2016 into the NRC draft LTCCP
2009-2019. It is not enough to "support a precautionary approach to
genetic engineering by the Environmental Risk Management Authority" (Vol. 1, p.
71 of the NRC draft LTCCP 2009/19) as ERMA is not
required to take a precautionary approach under the HSNO Act.
b/ We request that NRC join the other territorial authorities of Auckland/Northland peninsula and the Auckland Regional Council in undertaking collaborative GE community consultation (involving both a telephone poll and submission process) as the first step in investigating some type of local regulation of GMO land/GMO aquaculture.
c/ We request that a provision be placed in the NRC Regional Policy Statement controlling or prohibiting GMO land use/GMO aquaculture during the RPS review
We take the opportunity to say, we do not criticise council decisions just for the sake of it or for political gain, but because we care about our region. A lot of good things are done and we acknowledge that. Most would like to be made more aware of decisions made by councils, to have even more opportunity for input and to have more people willing to listen and speak out, on behalf of us, the ratepayers. We have concerns that ratepayers get touched for added costs all the time. Some feel they are investing in businesses when paying for buses, NEST, stadiums etc. Will we soon be subsidising the local tyre shop, home appliance store and hamburger bar if they are having difficulty?
Although some of these may seem like small amounts per annum, they are better put into the pockets of those in hardship, than taken out and we are sure you will consider this when you finalise your community plan.
We have attended meetings in the past at Northland Regional Council and your hospitality and openness is appreciated.
We thank you for the opportunity to make comment to the Northland Regional Council Northland Community Plan and are happy to answer any questions you may wish to ask.
We wish to be heard in support of this submission