Pass­ing the buck

The Northland Age - - Opinion -

As an elected mem­ber of the Far North Dis­trict Coun­cil, rep­re­sent­ing Te Hiku Ward, I have pre­vi­ously stated that I don’t make a habit of grand­stand­ing or bring­ing up is­sues through let­ters to the

edi­tor. My style has al­ways been to de­bate all rel­e­vant is­sues around the ta­ble, then vote ac­cord­ing to what i be­lieve would be in the best in­ter­ests of the ratepay­ers who elected me.

How­ever, in this in­stance I am seek­ing com­mu­nity sup­port in re­la­tion to an is­sue that con­tin­ues to bug me, and I am sure an­noys read­ers also.

The is­sue is crashed, burnt-out and aban­doned ve­hi­cles that lit­ter our highways and lo­cal roads. We are sup­posed to be a clean green area in the Far North, but th­ese eye­sores def­i­nitely do not por­tray that im­age.

I have never seen so much buck­pass­ing in all my life as when it comes to get­ting the right agency to re­move such ve­hi­cles.

If the owner of the ve­hi­cle has in­sur­ance the po­lice have no prob­lem con­tact­ing a towie, or if it’s a fa­tal crash the ve­hi­cle/s are re­moved to be ex­am­ined by a ve­hi­cle in­spec­tor or foren­si­cally. Other than that, it goes like this. Ring FNDC - who’s pay­ing? Ring the NZ Trans­port Agency - who’s pay­ing? Ring the NRC - not our re­spon­si­bil­ity. Ring the po­lice - we haven’t got the bud­get for that. And it goes on and on.

The non-ac­tion con­tin­ues to put more de­mand on our emer­gency ser­vice per­son­nel, the ma­jor­ity of whom are volunteers. Hav­ing served as a vol­un­teer fire­fighter for 50-plus years, I will give you a sce­nario that has hap­pened time and time again.

Called to car crash and the sit­u­a­tion is

it to our chil­dren to fight for a bet­ter deal and fu­ture for them and our­selves?

As I have said in the past, ev­ery year mil­lions of dol­lars is stolen from Far North com­mu­ni­ties by pol­i­tics and busi­nesses outside the area for their own agen­das and profit, much leav­ing New Zealand shores to profit greedy in­vestors. Once gone, gone for­ever.

So with that folks, Kaitaia and Far North com­mu­ni­ties are in your hands. If you do not speak up and unite you have more to lose than to gain. Do we not owe it to our­selves, chil­dren, com­mu­ni­ties and our en­vi­ron­ment?

I say yes we do need to unite . Di­vided we fall, as ap­pears to be the case at present. JOHN BAS­SETT

Dig­gers’ Val­ley

look­ing for an al­ter­nate Kaitaia water source.

North­land Re­gional Coun­cil should also look closely at the en­vi­ron­men­tal and so­cial im­pacts of FNDC’s fail­ure to main­tain ratepayer sew­er­age and town water fa­cil­i­ties across the dis­trict. Kaitaia schemes would be a good place to start. STEVE MCNALLY

Kerik­eri I agree with Cr Mate Radich (Infrastruc­ture First, Let­ters May 16). The main point of my let­ter (New Ap­proach, May 9) re­gard­ing fi­nan­cial plan­ning, is that pay­ing to fix infrastruc­ture will not oc­cur with­out well thought out fi­nan­cial plan­ning.

The coun­cil cur­rently has a con­firmed cap­i­tal works pro­gramme for infrastruc­ture re­newal and new works (level of ser­vice cap­i­tal works) in the an­nual plan, but only ap­prox­i­mately 50 per cent of th­ese projects that are promised to the com­mu­nity are com­pleted each year. Is this ac­cept­able to the pub­lic and to gov­er­nance?

Cur­rently ratepay­ers pay for the de­pre­ci­a­tion of each and ev­ery piece of coun­cil infrastruc­ture, each and ev­ery year. Why is this method of de­pre­ci­a­tion of as­sets used, in­stead of do­ing proper con­di­tion assess­ments of the as­sets, and only rat­ing each year for the de­pre­ci­a­tion costs that are re­quired to do the phys­i­cal up­grades of coun­cil’s infrastruc­ture?

This has a di­rect im­pact on how much rates are charged to our com­mu­nity. Is the cur­rent way of fi­nan­cial plan­ning for as­set de­pre­ci­a­tion hav­ing good out­comes for our com­mu­nity?

Coun­cil can also be smarter about how ex­ist­ing funds are utilised. For ex­am­ple, Cen­ten­nial Park is cur­rently be­ing up­graded, but not through any new bud­gets. It is be­ing done util­is­ing ex­ist­ing de­pre­ci­a­tion funds for each item in the park, re­new­ing most of the as­sets in the park at the same time, and also by con­cen­trat­ing the ex­ist­ing Te Hiku Com­mu­nity Boards’ fund­ing streams on one large project.

With the un­sub­sidised road seal­ing, the cur­rent $1 mil­lion did not “just ap­pear.” I have pre­vi­ously been de­scribed as “crow­ing” about this mo­tion that I moved, which re­sulted in Okahu Rd be­ing sealed.

I sup­port an in­crease to this road seal­ing bud­get, as Mate has sug­gested. How­ever, if this bud­get in­crease is loan­funded or rates-funded will have an im­pact on rates, and there­fore if it will get the re­quired six coun­cil­lor/Mayor votes to get this mo­tion passed.

Th­ese are some of the rea­sons to my logic as to why I feel that FNDC still has more than a few “small is­sues” to re­solve with how fi­nan­cial plan­ning links to im­prov­ing infrastruc­ture.

CR FELIC­ITY FOY

Ahipara

and nearly choked on my Weet­bix.

Com­pos­ing my­self, I went to the book­case and grabbed James Cowan’s ‘New Zealand Wars,’ and thank­fully this rep­utable his­to­rian’s epic au­thor­i­ta­tive text on the topic based on eye wit­ness ac­counts quickly re­as­sured me I hadn’t missed some­thing, con­clud­ing Paddy O’s blurb was primarily a flow­ery piece of prose.

Eye wit­ness ac­counts al­ways trump modern day mythis­tory, or put another way, a Royal Flush trounces the Knave/ Deuce hand ev­ery time.

Breathing a sigh of relief, I moved on to the Re­view Sec­tion, be­ing con­fronted there by Dizzy Lizzie Marvelly’s take on Cap­tain Cook ti­tled ‘Heroic En­deav­our or mur­der­ous in­va­sion.’ For­tu­nately I didn’t need to check any au­then­tic rep­utable source to re­alise this was just another throw­away piece of non­sense.

In­ci­den­tally, Ad­mi­ral Zheng-He (1421) and Tas­man (1642) both pre­ceded Cook (1769) in find­ing New Zealand, and by all ac­counts prob­a­bly oth­ers pre-Ma¯ ori did too.

Manda­tory me­dia warn­ing is needed to make it clear that this mythis­tory stuff bears lit­tle re­la­tion to either the truth or facts, or re­al­ity be­ing primarily floated to cause con­ster­na­tion.

We should con­sider nom­i­nat­ing Paddy O’s NZ Wars novel for the Acorn or Pappe Fic­tion Prize and the Marvelly Cook fantasy piece for Sarge­son Short Story Fic­tion Prize. ROB PATER­SON Mount Maun­ganui

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