Archive | Waitakere City

Council pulls back from court action against tree-feller

Published 14 October 2009

One city council has pulled back from a tree-pruning prosecution set in motion 8 months ago, because of the Government’s changes to legislation which took effect on 1 October.


Waitakere City Council’s lawyers said in their regulatory & enforcement report yesterday they were advised in February that native vegetation had been cut down on a Titirangi property, which was inside the managed natural area under the district plan.


Council staff sought the permission of owner Dr Lindsay Green to inspect the property, but said he refused them entry, so in March they obtained a search warrant. They noticed one native tree had been felled and a number of others heavily pruned.


In April, council staff took along an arborist & a surveyor for a second inspection, then produced a report saying one kanuka had been felled and 4 others heavily pruned, in breach of the district plan. They charged Dr Green in June.


However, on 28 September the charges were withdrawn and replaced with an infringement notice “due to the fact that the case was finely balanced on the facts and a prosecution would not provide a significant deterrent, given pending changes to the Resource Management Act, which would permit pruning without consent in the urban environment from 1 October”.


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Attribution: Council committee meeting & agenda, story written by Bob Dey for the Bob Dey Property Report.


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Waitakere opts for sinking lid on pokies

Published 22 September 2009

Waitakere City Council has introduced a policy that will gradually reduce the number of gaming machines in the city.


Planning & regulatory committee chairman Vanessa Neeson said yesterday public feedback had given the council a clear mandate to introduce a sinking lid gaming machine policy.


“When 95% of Westies say they want fewer gaming machines in their community, it’s up to the council to act. So, as of 9 October, there will be a sinking lid policy introduced in Waitakere – meaning every time a pokie machine is removed or a venue hosting these machines closes these machines will not be replaced.”


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Attribution: Company statement, story written by Bob Dey for the Bob Dey Property Report.

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Waitakere raises its part of rates bill an average 2.97%

Published 2 July 2009

Waitakere City Council has formally approved its long-term plan, including a 2.97% average for “council-controlled” elements of the rates bill, equating to $1/week for the average property.

On top of those, it said: “External levies (for organisations like Motat & the Auckland Zoo), which are outside of the council’s control and which it is required by law to collect, amount to 65c/week for the average property.


Long-term plan committee chairman Janet Clews said: “In most cases people pay more a month for single services like power or telephones than they do for rates & all the services that come with that – things like roads, parks, libraries & so on.”

She said the budget had been to the Auckland Transition Agency & Audit NZ for approval.    The budget for the next 10 years includes $444 million for the extensive development of New Lynn & NorSGA (the northern strategic growth area, from Westgate to Hobsonville).


“The revitalisation of New Lynn alone is expected to generate 12,000 new jobs,” Cllr Clews said.


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Attribution: Council release, story written by Bob Dey for the Bob Dey Property Report.

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Waitakere rate rise 5% including external levies

Published 19 June 2009

Waitakere City Council’s long-term & annual plan committee has recommended a rate increase of 2.97% for the June 2010 financial year for council-controlled business, plus 1.98% for external levies outside of its control which it’s required to collect.


The total amounted to $1.65/week for the average resident.


The full council will consider the recommendation on Tuesday 30 June, after the plan & budget have been to the Auckland Transition Agency & Audit NZ for their approval.


The council has budgeted $444 million over the next 10 years for the extensive development of New Lynn and the Northern strategic growth area from Westgate to Hobsonville. Committee chairman Janet Clews said the revitalisation of New Lynn was expected to generate 12,000 new jobs and the NorSGA development was one of the most significant & complex projects in New Zealand.


“The development of these growth centres & associated infrastructure is central to the council’s target of providing for 60% of local employment for the city’s residents.”


The budget also includes $1 million for the McLaren Park/Henderson South community facility, Rugby World Cup contributions of $795,000 in year 2 of the plan and $1.6 million in year 3 and a $300,000 upgrade of the Corban Art Estate.


Cllr Clews said Waitakere still needed to invest in infrastructure to unlock employment & economic stimuli.


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Attribution: Council release, story written by Bob Dey for the Bob Dey Property Report.

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Council keeps community board out of NorSGA committee

Published 19 October 2008

Waitakere City Council decided on Thursday to keep community board representation off its NorSGA Urban Development Committee.


The council confirmed the decision it made a year ago, after considering a request from the Massey Community Board to rethink. The council decided having 7 councillors on the committee was representation enough.


The NorSGA committee is an unusual one, with the councillors joined by representatives of organisations involved in building major public & private infrastructure in the northern strategic growth area on it. The area it covers includes the former Hobsonville airbase land, Hobsonville village, Massey North & Westgate.


NorSGA committee chairman Linda Cooper said the committee operated at a strategic level, where various agencies such as the Auckland Regional Council, Auckland Regional Transport Authority and property developers came together to share project information & updates.


“This committee is a unique model aimed at bringing together the council and all of the organisations that have the expertise needed to ensure we develop the best new town centre we can.”


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Attribution: Council release, story written by Bob Dey for the Bob Dey Property Report.

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Waitakere rates up average 7%

Published 24 June 2008

Waitakere City Council will increase its rates by an average 6.95%, down from the 7.4% for the draft budget which went out for consultation.


The council separated regional levies from its own bill. Those levies, adding another 1.36%, are for Watercare Services Ltd, the Auckland War Memorial Museum and the Museum of Transport & Technology.

The budget includes a $157 million programme for new & renewed capital works. Among the key new capital projects are:


·         parks $4.8 million

·         work in & around New Lynn $45 million

·         roading & transport $29.9 million

·         wastewater $4.5 million

·         stormwater $10.5 million

·         Project Twin Streams $9.8 million, and

·         an upgrade of the Te Atatu Peninsula Community Centre & Library $4.7 million.


Cllr Janet Clews, chairman of the long-term & annual plan committee, said external factors outside the council’s control had impacted the city finances more than ever. The depreciation bill rose by $1 million, loan interest by $6.7 million, “and things like graffiti, and repairing other vandalism in public places including town centres & parks, costs close to $1.5 million/year.”


Cllr Clews said the council’s rate of inflation was about 5%, including a rising construction index, and oil hitting more than $US135/barrel had also hit many areas of expenditure hard.


“When we started looking at the budgets in March, oil was at $US110 and it has been going up virtually every day since then. Almost half of the cost of resealing roads is affected by rising oil prices, so that gives some idea of how hard we have had to work to trim & cut costs in other areas.”


A special budget review group went over hundreds of line items and either cut or deferred projects, and looked where income could be increased: “With any more cuts, we would seriously have compromised service standards in basic areas like parks & libraries. As it is, over 80% of the budget will be spent in those ‘basic’ areas, which also include water & wastewater, roads & rubbish disposal. 


One change is to the city’s annual roadside inorganic refuse collection. In its place, residents can contact the council and have inorganic refuse picked up from their properties once a year. The partially subsidised service will cost $11.25 (including gst); previously the collection was fully charged to rates.


Councillor Clews says the service is still partially funded through rates, but having a user pays component makes it fairer for everyone as in previous years around a third of residents did not use the service, but paid for it through their rates.


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Attribution: Council release, story written by Bob Dey for this website.

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Waitakere sticks with land-value rating for now

Published 25 June 2006

Waitakere City Council has decided not to introduce capital value rating & pan charges for schools this year.

Cllr Janet Clews, who headed the rating system hearing process, said the council would continue to analyse various rating systems to find the most equitable one. Meanwhile it will stick with the land value system.

“However, land value is not the most equitable system for the city and we need to continue to do the work to find the system that is,” Cllr Clews said.

“If we had chosen capital value, 32% of our ratepayers would have had a decrease in their rates and a further 17% would have had an increase of less than the average of 6.5%. But many of those facing an increase were facing very large increases and they spoke very clearly in opposition to introducing capital value next year. On the basis of that consultation, we will stick with what we have got….

“However, we note that many of the submitters were not actually opposed to capital value. They didn’t want capital value being introduced next year because that gave them insufficient time to adjust their budgets to cope with what were, in many cases, very substantial increases. That’s not to say they weren’t concerned about the size of the increase as well, but the over-riding impression we got was that they could live with a system change if we had worked through the issues first.”

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Attribution: Council release, story written by Bob Dey for this website.

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Waitakere ditches half its councillors

Waitakere voters ditched 7 of the city’s 14 councillors, but mayor Bob Harvey swept to victory again.

Deputy mayor Carolynne Stone, also on the Team West ticket, came home 3rd in the Waitakere ward behind former newspaperman Pat Booth, an independent. Penny Hulse (Team West incumbent) topped the poll there. Denise Yates lost her Waitakere ward seat – one of 6 Team West councillors who were ousted.

The others were Brenda Brady & Annette Fenton in Henderson, Gwen Nash & Gary Russell in Massey and Gregory Presland in New Lynn.

Unattached candidate Owen Hoskin didn’t stand again in Massey, and was unsuccessful in his quest for a community board seat there.

The Massey Community Team ticket got 2 candidates elected – Warren Flaunty, who was also elected to the community board & the Waitakere Licensing Trust, topping the poll everywhere, and Linda Cooper. Independent Vanessa Neeson was re-elected in Massey and another independent, Peter Chan, was also elected.

While 2 Team West councillors were ousted in Henderson, Ewen Gilmour jumped in above them on the same ticket. He took the 3rd Henderson seat behind former mayor Assid Corban & independent councillor Ross Dallow.

Independent Ratepayers & Residents candidates – incumbents Derek Battersby & Janet Clews & newcomer Ross Clow – took 3 of the 4 New Lynn seats, leaving one place for incumbent Team West councillor Judy Lawley.

Other election stories:

Power divide at ARC

Plenty ousted from region’s councils

Goodbye to Banks, eastern corridor & V8s, hello to less hardnosed business approach

Wood has recipe for winning

Law keeps mayoralty but Walker ascendant

Sir Barry only the 28% man this time

5 new faces among 9 on Papakura council

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Harvey goes for 5th term, 3 ex-MPS seek election in West

Bob Harvey has 2 opponents in his quest for a 5th term as mayor of Waitakere.

Cllr Vanessa Neeson, a Massey independent, has stood for the mayoralty before. She’s also seeking a council seat again. The other mayoral candidate is Steve McDonald (Independent), who is also seeking election as a New Lynn councilor & on the Henderson community board.

Cllr Neeson’s husband, former MP Brian Neeson, is standing for the Auckland Regional Council. 2 other former MPS are also standing in the Waitakere elections –Tau Henare (Advancing Auckland) for the regional council and Tuku Morgan for a Henderson council seat.

Henderson High School principal Owen Hoskin isn’t seeking re-election to the council but is seeking a Henderson community board seat. All other councillors, and Waitakere’s 2 regional council representatives, are standing again.

There are 8 candidates for the 2 Waitakere seats on the regional council.

Council website: Waitakere City Council

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