Archive for August, 2010

One Waimakariri District: More on My Position

31 August 2010

The most disunifying action of the Waimakariri District Council since its formation in 1989 has to be the imposition of the 5km rating zone around the Dudley Aquatic Centre.

It only lasted for a year, but it meant that people outside that zone had less reason to contribute to the fundraising.  Local people were being taxed for a facility available to the whole District.

District facilities must be funded District-wide.

Concert Coming Up At The Chamber Gallery

30 August 2010


Edith Salzmann, cello, and Iola Shelley, piano, play:

 Robert Schumann        Stucke im Volkston for cello and piano op 102

Zoltan Kodaly              Sonata 0p 4 for cello and piano

Frederic Chopin           Sonata in g minor op 65 for cello and piano

8pm Friday 3 September at the Chamber Gallery, Rangiora Library.

Tickets available at Rangiora Library 313 6135 –    $25;  students $10

One Waimakariri District: My Position

29 August 2010

Ever since I was elected to the Waimakariri District Council in  its first elections, in 1989, I have regarded myself as a Waimakariri councillor not a Rangiora one (I had six years off in 2001-07).

As far as I am concerned, wards are a means of achieving a geographical spread of councillors.  Once elected, however, we are sworn in as Waimakariri councillors and we have to make decisions for the whole District.

One of the challenges has always been to be seen to be “doing” things for the entire District.  It is common for people to say that all the money gets spent in one part of the District rather than others. 

This is exacerbated by the fact that a large part of the District sees Rangiora as its service centre – shopping, professional services, secondary schooling, etc.  A consequence of this is that there is often a demand for improved facilities in Rangiora.

My own view is that there are some facilities that should be available in various parts of the District.  As Woodend and Pegasus grow towards something like their projected combined population of about 10,000, there should be a library facility somewhere there.  We should be looking into the possibility of adding a leisure pool to the Kaiapoi Aquatic Centre,  just as Dudley Park has. 

We can also be looking at the complementarity of facilities, so that what is found in one part of the District can be complemented by what is found in another part.  You wouldn’t, for instance, want to replicate the Rangiora Town Hall in Kaiapoi, but a different, more flexible, kind of performance venue could be considered.

None of this has to happen this year or the next.  But we should be looking forward to the kind of facilities that a District with a population of 60,000+ (currently 46,000) will need.

The important things is that when we put a facility into one part of the District, it needs to be seen as being there for the whole District.

North Canterbury Business Awards

28 August 2010

The Full List of Candidates

27 August 2010

Final Nominations for
Waimakariri District Council
2010 Triennial Elections

as at 23 August 2010 11:51am

Mayor Ayers, David
(1 Vacancy) Cole, Elaine
  Keating, Ron
  Leary, Andrew
  Wakeman, Peter Keith (
Kaiapoi Ward of the Council Atkinson, Neville (Independent)
(3 Vacancies) Blair, Roger (Independent)
  Brennan, Ben (Independent)
  Henderson, Lee
  Meyer, John
  Stewart, Sandra
Oxford-Eyre Ward of the Council Doody, Wendy
(2 Vacancies) Felstead, Kevin
  Gordon, Dan
  Smalley, Angela (Independent)
Rangiora Ward of the Council Allen, Peter
(3 Vacancies) Ayers, David
  Brine, Robbie (Independent)
  Cruickshank, Neil
  Gerard, Jim
  Stirling, Sharleen
Woodend-Ashley Ward of the Council Barnett, Kirstyn
(2 Vacancies) Cole, Elaine
  Farrant, Peter
Kaiapoi Community Board Brennan, Ben (Independent)
(6 Vacancies) Faass, Caroline
  Henderson, Lee
  Meyer, John
  Ryder, Steve
  Stewart, Sandra
  Wallace, Robyn H
  Watson, Jackie
Rangiora Community Board Allen, Peter
(6 Vacancies) Brine, Robbie (Independent)
  Caldwell, Alf
  Clarke, Murray
  Galloway, Keith (Independant)
  Gerard, Jim
  Hoult, Judith
  Miller, Greg
  Rathgen, Warwick (Independent)
  Smalley, Angela (Independent)
  Stirling, Sharleen
Woodend-Ashley Community Board Barnett, Kirstyn
(6 Vacancies) Cable, Rick
  Ensor, James
  Lundy, Duncan
  Nelson, Keith (Independent)
  Northmore, Mike
  Prickett, Chris

When ARE the Elections ? – a question people keep asking

27 August 2010

People keep asking me when the elections are.

Mailing out of Voting Papers starts on about 17 September.

Voting Papers have to be with the Returning Officer by Midday Saturday 9 October.

My Candidate Statement

27 August 2010

This is my candidate statement that will go out with the voting papers. Note that candidates are kept to a word limit.

I bring visibility, experience and forward-thinking to the mayoralty.

We need leadership that unites the District and doesn’t divide one part of the community from another. The mayor needs to be visible everywhere in the District and be available to the community.

We also need leadership that knows the community through the deep involvement in a wide range of community groups that I have had. 

As Mayor I would know what I am doing.  I offer 21 years’ experience as a Councillor, including six as Deputy Mayor and twelve chairing finance committees.  This experience will enable me to cope with the challenges of growth and with a changing local government environment.  

Waimakariri is a great place.  I will bring to the mayoralty the forward-thinking that will enable us to work together to make it an even better District in which to live, do business and farm. 

Go to

Rangiora High School Art Exhibition

27 August 2010
Work by Nikki Murray, Year12

The latest exhibition at the Chamber Gallery in the Rangiora Library is one of Design, Painting and Photography folios from 2009-10 by senior students.

Pop in and have a look.  It’s great to see all this burgeoning talent on display.

Ashley Community Group Looking for Secretary and Treasurer

27 August 2010
The Ashley Community Church in Canterbury Street

The Ashley Community Church is looking for a secretary/treasurer – or perhaps two people to carry out each role.

Despite appearances, this isn’t actually a church group.  We are a small group (I’m a member of it) dedicated to maintaining and restoring this Category II Historic Place.  It is actually in quite good condition, but there is always work to be done.
The church dates from the 1870s and was designed by the notable colonial church architect, Benjamin Mountford – which is part of its significance. 
It was formerly an Anglican church but is now owned by the society.  A small Orthodox congregation currently uses it.
If you think you can help, please contact me.  As secretarial and treasurership jobs go, it isn’t a big one.

Election Nominations Almost Closed

20 August 2010

Nominations for the Local Government elections close at noon today.

If you want to see the list of people who have put their names forward, go to: 

Make-over? The New Improved David Ayers

18 August 2010

Someone obviously thinks they can improve on the original.

“Two Beans” Entertain at the Chamber Gallery

15 August 2010

“Two Beans” (Lynn Timpany – vocals – and Ana Pearson – piano)  entertained an appreciative crowd in the Chamber Gallery this afternoon.  They gave us a mixture of old standards and new versions (Highway No 1 instead of Route 66!)  in a style that is very easy on the ear.

A good way to spend part of a dismal afternoon.

This District Deserves Better

13 August 2010

A nasty and crude leaflet attacking a Council candidate has been circulating in Woodend.

Needless-to-say, the leaflet expresses nothing positive in support of anyone. And of course it is anonymous – these sorts of things always are because the people who distribute them are afraid to stand up in public and be counted.

The Waimakariri District deserves better than this.

Subsidies for Clean Heat Conversions

12 August 2010

You may have read that Environment Canterbury has reduced the funding for subsidising clean heat conversions in this financial year.

That is true, but it applies only to Christchurch.  The funding made available for Kaiapoi and Rangiora has more than doubled.

War Songs Concert

8 August 2010

We had a great time last night at the War Songs Concert, staged by the North Canterbury Musical Society but also featuring the Rangiora Brass Band, Toot ‘n’ Croon and the Rangiora Players. 

I guess you had to be a certain age (and, no, I wasn’t around for World War II) to appreciate the music, but a near sell-out crowd obviously had a lot of fun.  When you are dealing with war there were, of course, poignant moments but overall it was a trip back to a time when a lot of the music was designed to lift spirits through dark times.  With the full range of music-hall numbers, swing, marches and patriotic songs, our spirits were certainly lifted!

Doctors After-Hours

6 August 2010

This issue has generated a lot of heat for those areas of the District that see Rangiora is their service centre.

It is clear that many are fearful: they worry about preliminary diagnoses over the telephone and the difficulties of transport late at night or in the weekends.

It is not enough to say that the new arrangements have “worked for Kaiapoi.”  For a start, not all seem to agree with that, and secondly we need to remember that Kaiapoi is only 20 minutes form Christchurch.  Parts of this District, like Whiterock and Okuku, are up to an hour away.  What is the Canterbury District Health Board going to do about the transport issues of the elderly and the child care issues of families with two or more young children?

Nevertheless, we have to accept that GP recruitment is an issue that has to be dealt with.  Our doctors are hard-working and the wider community needs to be working with them.

It is clear, however, that the current arrangement is not a long-term solution.  This is a fast-growing District of 46,000 people.  Surely we can get a locally-based after-hours service?

The Ashley Bridge – What’s Happening – and what of the Future?

6 August 2010

The current situation is that when the Ashley is in flood the bridge is at a high risk from a public safety perspective – 5 to 7 of the peirs may need to be strengthened in the short term.  The piles are embedded only 2-3m on average and only 1-2m in the main channel.

Compare these two photos:

The Cones Road bridge over the Ashley - unknown date. (Te Papa)

Note the difference in the bed levels.  Note also that some repair work appears to have been done on the nearest pier in the recent photo.  The pier causing the biggest problem is the second one from the camera.  Daniel Smith contractors are lined up to start work soon.

Even with strengthening, the bridge will have to be closed on occasions – perhaps up to 10 times per year. There may be weight restrictions in the future – at present, the bridge is just OK for Class 1.

The cost of annual maintenance and a programme of pier strengthening may cost something in the order of $2 million over the next 20 years – which may be all the life that is left in the bridge.

We all know that the bridge isn’t wide enough and that the southern approach has poor visibility.

So how much will a new bridge cost if it were to be built in the next two years or so?  A preliminary guesstimate for a standard-width bridge is $6 million to $10 million – with a bit more if a cycle and pedestrian lane (or lanes) is added – and that has to happen.  If the benefit/cost ratio meets NZ Transport Agency requirements, which is likely, that cost would be 59% subsidised by them.

Watch this space!  I emphasise that all of the above figures are ball-park estimates that were reported to the Council this week.

Countdown Approved for Rangiora

6 August 2010

The proposed Countdown Supermarket for Ivory Street, Rangiora, has been granted a resource consent by the commissioner who conducted the hearing on behalf of the Council. The site is that currently occupied by the fruit and vege market and is zoned Residential 1 (higher density residential).

There were a number of objections from neighbours, in all directions from the site, on grounds that included noise, traffic and  inappropriate use in a residential zone.  The objectors included both residents and the Kohanga Reo over the road.

The Council’s planning officer also opposed the application, saying that it would have a negative effect on the Rangiora Town Centre because it would pull business use south of Queen Street, which is the southern edge of the central business area. He also said that the proposed supermarket would have an undesirable impact on the residential environment and the well-being of the immediate neighbours.

The Commissioner granted the resource consent mainly by considering the site as it is now as opposed to what it might be like if it were to be developed for residential use at some later date.  That means that the objectors had to show that the supermarket would create a worse environment than that which is currently or was recently there.  He also commented that the area is a mixed one at present, with the vege market, railway line and different kinds of housing development.

Anybody who submitted on the Countdown application has the right of appeal to the Environment Court.  The time in which an appeal can be lodged is limited by the Resource Management Act.  Note that the Council cannot appeal against the decision: because the decision was made on behalf of the Council, the Council now “owns” the decision.  Even although it opposed the application, it now has to defend the decision in the Environment Court against any appeal.

More on the Future of (Our!) Local Government

4 August 2010

What might the Auckland super city mean for the rest of us? – from a Local Government NZ Newsletter 

This a constant topic at LGNZ meetings and a number of seminars have been organised by lawyers and consultants to capitalise on the issue.

 Views range from the conspiracy theorists, who see Auckland as the first step in a plot by government to reduce the number of councils significantly – the lowest number I have heard so far is six (not counting the Chathams).

 Then there are the proponents of change who would like to use the momentum created by the Auckland debate to encourage a discussion in their own localities about the optimum shape and number of councils. Wellington and Hawke’s Bay come to mind.

 And then there are the others, who believe that any future change will be led by communities and be a response to preferences expressed by the community.

 The Government is definitely encouraging us to the latter view – the most commonly recollected statement by the Prime Minister at his opening speech to our conference last week on the future reorganisation of local government “Any further changes of that type will be community-led, not central government-led”. He also pledged to using his considerable personal influence to improve public turnout in the local body elections. The Minister for Local Government, who also talks of a “response to calls for change”, in his speech and views elsewhere (see above) has widely decided to set aside the time to have the debate.

 Before any further decisions are made, we will all have the chance to consider and to contribute to a discussion document that will be left for the Government of the next term to act on. But this in no way detracts from the need to start thinking about these issues now. LGNZ will provide the platform and the opportunity for councils across New Zealand to have this discussion, and then to take the outcomes of that discussion outwards and upwards.

Air Pollution – Kaiapoi and Rangiora Not Looking Too Good

2 August 2010

High pollution nights – from the ECan website

Location Pollution Level Yesterday No. of High Pollution Nights Highest Pollution Level 2nd Highest Pollution Level
Rangiora 7 10 91 84
Kaiapoi 8 23 98 95
Christchurch – St Albans* 8 12 90 72
Christchurch – Burnside** -1 6 62 59
Christchurch – Woolston 19 13 100 92
Ashburton 9 10 79 77
Timaru – Anzac Park* 33 44 148 124
Timaru – Washdyke 18 4 56 55
Waimate 22 8 97 69
Geraldine 8 3 58 57

What is the photo in the header?

2 August 2010

Kaiapoi Lakes, taken earlier this year.

Oxford Full!

2 August 2010

Oxford was full of people yesterday, with the weekly farmers’ market, the monthly art and craft fair in the Town Hall and a town-wide garage sale organised by the Oxford Promotions Association.  Only a strong, and cool, nor’wester was a slight negative.

The Association is at

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