Environment and planning committee meeting (17 November)

Environmental status updates

The environment and planning committee meeting was held on 17 November 2016. Apologies were received from the Mayor for lateness and myself. All other councilors were present.

The agenda included: (1) biosecurity annual report, (2) enforcement policy update, (3) proposed Plan change 64 – update of protected tree schedule, (4) biodiversity report, (5) 2016 air quality report, (6) environment and planning activity report, and (7) chair’s report.

Generally, there were no decisions made other than receive reports and approve Plan Change 64.

Biosecurity annual report

The Council is obliged to report annually on activities undertaken under the Regional Pest Management Plan. This report presented the 2016-17 Operational Plan for implementing the 2012-17 Tasman-Nelson Regional Pest Management Strategy (within an approved budget of $545,000), and summarised the achievements of the 2015-16 Operational Plan.

The Regional Pest Management Strategy (RPMS) contains 62 (declared) pests. These pests are grouped into 5 categories:

  • Total control pests (2015-16 operational budget: $40,000, recast $35,000, actual $35,000) are high risk pests that are of limited distribution or density in the region for which long-term eradication by 2022 is the goal. There are 13 pest plants (8 terrestrial, 5 aquatic): african feathergrass, bathurst bur, boxthorn, cathederal bells, climbing spindleberry, egeria, entire marshwort, hornwort, maderia vine, phragmites, saffron thistle, senegal tea, and spartina. On all known sites, plant numbers have been reduced, but for some pests, new sites have been found and this may extend the time required for eradication.

  • Progressive control pests (2015-16 operational budget: $85,000, recast $75,000, actual $100,000) are pests whose distribution is limited to parts of the region but are unlikely to be eradicated because of their biological characteristics. There are 18 pests (12 plants, 5 fish, and one bird: rook). Generally, the goal of distribution and density reduction is being achieved at most sites. However, ongoing changes within the Department of Conservation, re-direction of funding and staff changes during the last two years have restricted its ability to deal with the challenge of controlling pest fish in eastern Tasman.

  • Containment pests (2015-16 operational budget: $120,000, recast $105,000, actual $100,000) are pests that are abundant in the region. There are 14 pests (4 plants: purple pampas, lagarosiphon, gorse, and broom; 7 mammals: feral cats, rabbits, hares, possums, mustelids; 2 insects: argentine and darwin ants; and one bird: magpie). These are widespread throughout the region and the goal is to stop the spread of these pests to properties that are not infested. The continuing spread of Argentine and Darwin’s ants, despite a significant commitment of resources, highlight the challenges of dealing with highly-organised social insects and the limitations of existing tools. A synthetic pyrethroid spray is being applied in a narrow strip along the margins of footpaths and kerbs. While this slows the rate of spread in urban areas, its effect is relatively short-term and does not prevent re-invasion from neighbouring properties. More information on both ants is located at page 10 of the agenda report.

  • Boundary control pests (2015-16 operational budget: $10,000, recast $10,000, actual $10,000) are pests (mostly common weeds or horticultural diseases), that have been included to stop the spread to land that is free from these pests. There are 8 plants (eg, blackberry, gorse and broom); and 5 horticltural diseases (on apples and pears). Generally, staff have dealt effectively and efficiently with requests for intervention.

  • Regional surveillance pests (2015-16 operational budget: $35,000, recast $30,000, actual $45,000) are pest that could pose a future risk. There are 4 pests (yellow flag, parrots feather, pinus contorta, undaria).

Other budget categories include:

  • Sites of high public value (2015-16 operational budget: $35,000, recast $30,000, actual $10,000). The goal is to control nominated pests on public land.

  • Biological control (2015-16 operational budget: $35,000, recast $30,000, actual $30,000). The goal is to support ongoing research into biological controls.

  • National pest plant accord (2015-16 operational budget: $4,000, recast $4,000, actual $4,000). The goal is to prevent sale, propagation or distribution of pest plants.

  • Education and advice (2015-16 operational budget: $75,000, recast $65,000, actual $105,000).

  • Marine biosecurity partnership (2015-16 operational budget: $20,000, recast $20,000, actual $20,000). Funded by 3 top of south councils ($20,000 each) and MPI ($60,000).

The 2016-17 operational plan covers 62 (declared) pests. The plan includes:

  • Total control pests (budget $35,000)

  • Progressive control pests (budget $100,000)

  • Containment pests (budget $100,000)

  • Boundary control pests (budget $10,000)

  • Regional surveillance pests (budget $55,000)

  • National pest plan accord ($4,000)

  • Sites of high public value ($15,000)

  • Biological control ($30,000)

  • Education and advice ($105,000)

  • Training and education ($90,000).

The 2012 Amendments to the Biosecurity Act outlined the requirements for pathway management plans, which are designed to be used to deal with pathways that may carry pests into new areas. The potential for pathway management is being explored as part of the current Regional Pest Management Strategy review.

Enforcement policy update

Council resolved to receive the report.

The Regional Sector Compliance Framework (RSCF) outlines a set of important principles that are designed to give a robustness to any strategic compliance programme. These principles are: transparency, consistency of process, fair, reasonable and proportional approach, evidence based and informed, collaborative, lawful, ethical and accountable, targeted, and responsive and effective.

These principles are reflected in TDC’s Enforcement Policy and Guidelines which outline the enforcement pathway expected to be undertaken, from discovery of an offence, through to the decision to take enforcement action.

The only significant change to the guidelines is the removal of the original “enforcement option matrix” that was designed assist in selecting an enforcement response along with other factors. This has now been replaced with a compliance pyramid model.

See: www.tasman.govt.nz/policy/policies/enforcement-policies/.

Protected tree schedule update

Council resolved to approve Plan Change 64 (Update of Protected Tree Schedule). The Plan Change was publically notified on 24 September 2016 with no submissions being received.

Plan Change 64 amends the Council’s Protected Tree Schedule 16.13B in the Tasman Resource Management Plan, by removing 10 protected trees from the Schedule. These include: Takaka (2 trees), Riwaka (4 trees), Marahau (2 trees), Richmond (1 tree), and Wakefield (1 tree).

Biodiversity report

Council resolved to receive the report.

The main focus of the Council’s biodiversity work is its Native Habitats Tasman (NHT) Project. This was developed in 2007 following the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with a number of parties that included the Department of Conservation, Federated Farmers, and Forest and Bird Society.

As at 30 June 2016, 504 sites had been inspected and landowners had signed off on 454 reports. The survey commenced in eastern Tasman lowlands and via the higher altitude sites on the Takaka Hill has now moved into Golden Bay (July 2016). Of the landowners who have been contacted about a site visit and preparation of an ecological report for their property, 70% have agreed. It is anticipated that completion of survey work in Golden Bay will take approximately 2 to 3 years. Current expenditure is $52,000 per year.

A copy of the final ecological district report can be downloaded from TDC’s website at: www.tasman.govt.nz/environment/land/biodiversity/motueka-ecological-districtreport/.

Air quality report

Council resolved to receive the report.

The Richmond Airshed was set up under the National Environmental Standards for Air Quality 2004 (NESAQ).

There were 5 exceedances of the NESAQ for particulate matter (PM10) over the winter of 2016. These exceedances are correlated with complaints and webcam images of outdoor burning occurring in the orchards around the Richmond airshed. The trend in annual concentrations of PM10 has improved over the last ten years, which is due to regulations on household burners, education, and enforcement. The maximum PM10 concentration for 2016 was 66 μg/m3.

A source apportionment study for Richmond has shown 52% of particulate matter is from biomass combustion, attributed to solid fuel appliances in Richmond. A source of arsenic in PM10 was also identified and was not associated with the domestic fires. The annual average arsenic concentrations for 2014 in Richmond was 19 ng/m3, which exceeded the ambient air quality guideline value (5.5ng/m3).

Air Quality PM10 BAM adjusted concentrations in Richmond for 2015-16

Trends in PM10 adjusted concentrations in Richmond

Number of Exceedances of 24-Hour PM10 for Richmond

The sources of the PM10 for Richmond (see Figure 9) were biomass combustion (52%), motor vehicles (17%), marine aerosol (16%), secondary sulphate (13%), and copper chrome arsenate (CCA) (2%).

Average source contributions to PM10 in Richmond (from GNS Science report)

There were 41 exceedances of the global world health organisation (WHO) daily guideline value for the finer fraction of particulate matter (PM2.5) over the period from May to August 2016, with a peak concentration of 46 μg/m3.

Partisol PM 2.5 concentrations in Richmond for 2015-16

The NESAQ is currently under review and TDC will need to review its air quality management provisions when the outcome is known. Based on current trends, during normal winter weather, Tasman District Council may not achieve the current requirements of the NESAQ which is no more than one exceedance per year by 2020.

Environment and planning activity report

Council resolved to receive the report and appointed Mr Mike Fitzsimons to the position of District Licensing Committee Commissioner for a 5-year term of appointment.

Highlights from the manager’s report include:

  • Swimming pool fencing. Parliament has passed law repealing the Fencing of Swimming Pools Act and merging the obligation Council has into the Building Act. The main change is a move to mandatory 3 yearly inspections which can be undertaken by Council staff or authorised private contractors. If the latter are involved they are required to pass information on the Council for the property file. Companion changes are also being made to the Building Code with submissions closing 16 December. Spa pools with lockable lids will not require inspection, meaning TDC will no longer have to grant exemptions under a 2014 Council-approved policy. The new law comes into effect from 1 January 2017.

  • National policy statement (NPS) on urban development capacity. The Government has signed off on a National Policy Statement to ensure councils provide enough land for new housing and business development. Tasman is a local authority that has a medium-growth urban area within it, which we share with Nelson City. Having sufficient land for development also means we have to provide an additional margin of 20% for the first 10 years and 15% for 10 to 30 years. Council is required to carry out a housing and business development capacity assessment on at least a 3-yearly basis. The NPS takes effect from 1 December 2017.

  • Waimea nitrate survey. Council has previously conducted groundwater nitrate surveys across the Waimea Plains in 1986, 1994, 1999, and 2005. Council will repeat that survey (sampling around 100 bores) starting towards the end of November 2016.

  • Our waters. Council prepared a State of the Environment Report on river water quality in November 2015 under its reporting obligations under the Resource Management Act. Last year the Council released a movie entitled “Our Waters in Common” as an innovative way of reporting to the community on the health of our water ways. See www.youtube.com/watch?v=81zNEmTCYVY.

  • Freedom camping. This matter was raised at the 27 October Council meeting and an update requested. The Government has indicated that it will review the Freedom Camping Act soon and Council has offered to assist in this review. A review of TDC’s Freedom Camping Bylaws will be undertaken after the Governments review in August 2017.

  • Finances. Generally, at 33% of the financial year completed, expenditure is slightly under budget overall and non-rate income overall is ahead of budget.

Agenda and minutes

the agenda and minutes are located at www.tasman.govt.nz/council/council-meetings/committees-and-subcommittees/standing-committees-meetings/environment-and-planning-committee-meetings/?path=/EDMS/Public/Meetings/EnvironmentPlanningCommittee/2016/2016-11-17.

Draft minutes are available upon request from TDC.

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Engineering services committee meeting (10 November)

Hill Street \ William Street pedestrian refuge (a minor improvement?)

The engineering committee meeting was held on 10 November 2016. All councillors were present. Four reports were received with no decisions required.

The agenda included: (1) large developments, (2) renewal of water utilities operations and maintenance contract, (3) minor improvement programme, (4) engineering services activity report, and (5) chair’s report.

Public forum

Graeme Dick (a property developer) spoke about the Richmond West development area. He raised concerns that council was 5+ years behind in infrastructure, and 10 years behind in growth planning. He considered that Richmond had experienced 50% growth in the last 10 years (on average 5% per year) and Mapua 25% growth over the same period. Graeme suggested that urgent action was required for Mapua’s water pipe renewals (probably a $6-7 million cost). He stressed that council should not leave this late in the long term plan (LTP).

Large developments

Richmond, Mapua and Motueka has seen very high levels of residential development. This growth is well in excess of predictions underpinning the Council’s 2015 Long Term Plan (LTP) – approximately 300% of what was anticipated. Many developers are requesting that the Council advance capital projects to allow for growth. For example, Graeme Dick, a developer who spoke at the public forum (and who I am told, is a good friend of the mayor’s).

The following table illustrates future potential housing (to be realised):

Undeveloped residential zones

Consented development

Development potential

Land area

Housing potential

Land area

Housing potential

Land area

Housing potential

Richmond

34.84

379

17.48

210

108.82

1259

Mapua

1.5

26

16.8

131

8.9

107

Motueka

10.5

124

6.9

85

38

496

Total

46.84

469

41.18

426

155.72

1862

There are land parcels (46.84 ha) that landowners are residential zoned, but not developed (ie 469 vacant lots). In addition, 426 sections are consented, but are still waiting to be constructed.

At the same time, developers have indicated that they are interested in developing a further 155.72 ha, but are unable to due to a lack of services (ie water and wastewater).

Consequently, staff expect to recommend that council consider a redistribution of projects and/or promoting additional capital funding in certain locations as part of the development of the 2018 Long Term Plan.

Council received this report (no decision was required).

Renewal of water utilities operations and maintenance contract

The current Water Utilities Operations and Maintenance contract was awarded in July 2007 for three operational periods (three plus three plus four years) subject to satisfactory performance. The contract has a value of approximately $5 million per annum.

The current contract was due to expire on 30 June 2017. However, on 3 March 2016 the engineering services committee approved an extension of the current contract for up to 12 months until 30 June 2018 (to allow time to develop a new Water Utilities contract, and proceed with the agreed tendering process).

Beca have been engaged, through a competitive tendering process, to write the tender documentation for a new contract and to procure a contractor to deliver the required services. The next stage of the process prior to tender is the Request for Qualification, which is a call for parties to lodge their interest in being shortlisted for the tender.

Council received this report (no decision was required).

Minor improvement programme

The Minor Improvements work activity is defined by NZTA. This work category provides for the construction and implementation of low-cost and low-risk improvements to the transport system to a maximum total cost per project of $300,000. The work is subsidised by NZTA at 51% for the 2016-17 year. The total budget for the 2016-17 year is around $991,000.

The minor improvements work programme for 2016-17 was authorised by the previous council. At that meeting, I objected to a number of projects, which I considered were unnecessary. However, I was a lone voice on that council. In my opinion, council was acting under a retails sales mentality (ie spending money it did not need too, to get a 50% discount). If council was to reduce expenditure, and the need to raise more revenue from ratepayers via rates increases, it needed to tighten its minor improvements budget. In many cases projects were not required.

In my opinion, the minor improvements budget should be used in response to customer driven requests, rather than staff anticipating what ratepayers wanted. Adopting this approach would reduce non-critical expenditure, reduce pressure on staff resources, and enable council to focus on the real priorities.

I again raised this point in the meeting, but was advised by staff that council could not undo the approved minor improvement works for 2016-17. However, it could review the 2017-18 works (if and when they arise).

Engineering services activity report

Highlights from the engineering manager’s report include:

  • Staff. Engineering Services Manager Peter Thomson has resigned his position after almost 19 years with Council in this role and will finish his employment on Friday 18 November 2016.

  • Developments. Only one new subdivision as-built plan has been received and approved since the last update. Council received an application for 138 residential lots in Richmond West. A subdivision consent for approximately 130 lots in Richmond South is also being processed. Pre-application discussions are progressing with another landowner for a further 50 lots. Two large existing subdivisions in Mapua are continuing (approximately 170 lots combined). Wakefield is to see a 63-lot subdivision in the next 12 months which will include a link from Pitfure Road with Edwards Street.

  • Asset management. Amendments and additions to the engineering infrastructural asset data are currently being imported to the asset management system. In the current update period there are 2,070 new assets,760 retired, replaced or removed assets and 4,320 amended asset records. These changes reflect assets created or effected by capital works projects, renewals projects subdivision works and maintenance works.

  • Digitisation. In October staff concluded their investigation and selection of alternative resource consent management software. Foundation Footprint has been engaged to provide cloud software that will enable Engineering staff to better track and manage their consents.

  • Works. There are 40 active projects on council’s books: 20 in preliminary design stage, nine in detailed design stage, one in procurement stage (Queen Street Infrastructure Project) and 10 in construction stage, and 13 in review.

  • Water network. Audit results for this period were good with the contractor achieving a score of 91%. The site audits are part of the operations and maintenance contract performance criteria where a minimum score of 80% is required to avoid financial penalties. An additional bore has been drilled on the Collingwood Scheme as part of the eventual treatment plant upgrade which will be included in the next Long Term Plan to meet drinking water standards.

  • Wastewater. There continues to be regular pump blockages at most pump stations in Mapua, with 8 in the last month. The cause of all the Higgs-1 pump station blockages was wet wipes.

  • Trade waste. Implementation of the trade waste section of the 2015 Wastewater Bylaw is currently underway. Initial work has begun to register trade dischargers. Approximately 60% of these have completed the process. 752 potential trade waste dischargers in the district have been identified.

  • Waste management. Operations at Resource Recovery Centres have been busier than normal with waste volumes around 5% higher than budget for the first quarter. In early October there was a hazardous waste incident at the Richmond RRC with an unwashed nitric acid container identified. On 22 September 2016 TDC and Nelson City Council both separately resolved to proceed with a joint committee to manage the Councils’ two landfills from 1 July 2017. This resolution is subject to obtaining authorisation from the Commerce Commission.

  • Stormwater. Site audits undertaken during August and September indicate a contractor performance level of 93% and 88% respectively for stormwater maintenance. The contractor is increasing the frequency of routine maintenance (vegetation control, etc.) in drains and creeks throughout the region as we experience strong spring growth. The recently approved $30,000 upgrade work for Ned’s Creek in Murchison has progressed with a level survey of the site. A bund is also proposed to help reduce the number of flooding occurrences on properties along Hampden Street. The Borck Creek planting programme has been completed for 2016, and programmed maintenance of the planting has commenced (scheduled over three years).

  • Road works. Upcoming urban works include: pavement repairs to Champion Rd at Hill St roundabout, clearing of a water courses adjacent to the Sandy Bay Marahau Road, investigate repair of the Salisbury Road bus shelter near Talbot Street, resealing of the back carpark of Armadillos (which is mostly occupied by staff parking), and resealing the Motueka Service Centre carpark off Hickmott Place. Shoulder flanking to improve surface water runoff has been completed on Moutere Highway, Bridge Valley Road, Robinson Road, Lower Queen Street, Haycocks Road, Aniseed Valley Road, Kerr Hill Road, Lansdowne Road, and Pigeon Valley Road. Culvert replacements have been completed on Wairoa Gorge Road, Serpentine River Road, Rocky River Road, Brooklyn Valley Road, Motueka River West Bank Road and Tadmor-Bushend Road. Maintenance metalling is continuing, with 4,500 m³ (45% of annual total) completed to date. Network wide roadside mowing began in late September and generally takes a minimum of six weeks, depending on weather. Structural repairs and improvements at 26 bridges are currently being designed, with a contract to be tendered early in the new year.

  • Jackett Island. The routine 3-monthly survey of Jackett Island was completed on 15 September 2016, which is after the recent repair work and will record any changes in the sand bag wall profile. Preliminary observations from the recent survey show there has been no visible change to the bulk of the fore dune and intertidal platform for the majority of the length of Jackett Island except for the southern extremity of the Island.

Chairs report

Finally, I want to highlight an observation made by the chair – and one I agree with:

One of the things I am particularly keen to see improved in this term of council is the way we manage Customer Service Requests (CSRs) and how they are reported back to the Councillor or the person who originally lodged the request.

In my opinion its very much part of putting the customer at the centre of everything we do. My observation from speaking with residents is that sometimes there appears to be an absence of any follow up. However, I am told by council staff that they do ask customers if they want to be followed up.

In my opinion, providing 3G phone apps like Nelson City council’s “snap send solve” app, or Wellington City council’s “fix it” app, or “my council services” (a third party app which apparently delivers requests to TDC), provide a very efficient means of ensuring good follow up. As well as an excellent way for customers to inform councils about things that need fixing.

Keeping our walk ways tidy – work request response times

On a related matter, not discussed at the meeting (but one I subsequently followed up on), I was advised by staff that in terms of public work request response times for public walkways, the public should expect a work request to have been actioned within 2 weeks of notification. For safety hazards, a shorter time can be expected.

Detritus” (defined as any collection of fragments and/or material on a sealed surface eg loose chip, leaves, twigs etc) has a maximum response time of 2 weeks in most cases – except for CBD which is 2 days.

Response times apply from when the contractor first becomes aware of the defect. Anything that is a safety hazard can be assigned shorter response times.

Agenda and minutes

The agenda and minutes are located at www.tasman.govt.nz/council/council-meetings/committees-and-subcommittees/standing-committees-meetings/engineering-services-committee-meetings/?path=/EDMS/Public/Meetings/EngineeringServicesCommittee/2016/2016-11-10.

Draft minutes are available upon request from TDC.

Community development meeting (3 November)

The Golden Bay Recreation Facility (construction progress).

The community development committee meeting was held on 3 November 2016. Apologies were received from Cr Brown and Cr Hawkes. All other councilors were present.

The agenda included: (1) Chair’s Report, (2) Golden Bay Shared Recreation Facility Management Contract, (3) Appointments to Management and Other Committees, (4) Community Development Manager’s Report, (5) Action Sheet.

Declarations of interest

Cr Wensley declared a conflict of interest (due to her involvement with copyright licensing for writers) and took no part in the discussions relating to council’s draft submissions on the National Library Strategic Direction consultation document and the National Strategy of Environmental Education for Sustainability (Attachments 3 and 4 of the Agenda).

Public forum

Maxwell Clark spoke. He advised that council was still advertising public forum speaking times as 3 minutes, rather than the new 5 minutes – which he commended council for. He noted that grafitti was getting worse (particularly near Waimea rugby club, the skateboard park, and rifle club – all located in close proximity to one another). Mr Clarke also noted that the gravel road that runs from McDonalds (located on lower Queen Street) towards Jubilee Park (along the railway reserve) was in a dreadful state with numerous pot holes – these needed to be repaired.

Golden Bay Shared Recreation Facility Management Contract

Council resolved to receive the report and for council to enter into a management contract with with Golden Bay Shared Recreational Facility Committee Incorporated (see www.societies.govt.nz/), to manage the Golden Bay recreation facility on behalf of council. A similar management arrangement is used at other community facilities (eg Moutere and Murchison recreation facilities).

The above plan is noteworthy for the clear absence of the Grandstand. However, it’s also interesting to note the above construction progress picture, and in particular the large space between the old grandstand and the new facility (separated by a fence). Apparently the (northern) stairs were removed to allow the builders to work safely on the new building, as well as protect the public from the building activity. Yet the picture appears to show a fence between the two buildings – showing more than enough space for stairs and a safe working environment? I understand that the removal of the stairs for public safety is now justified on the basis of the grandstand’s uncertain condition.

In my opinion, council should dispose of the grandstand to the A&P Society – then it’s no longer a council concern (or ongoing cost). Yes, its presence might be unsightly, but what would you rather look out over – a carpark or a piece of history? Although, surely the most reasonable compromise is to move it – so its at least preserved. That way everyone is a winner (rather than just the lawyers). But perhaps thats just the mediator in me speaking?

Appointments

Council resolved to make the following appointments to community (based on the mayor’s recommendations):

Moutere/Waimea Ward

  • Brightwater Recreation Reserve Committee: Cr King

  • Dovedale Recreation Reserve Committee: Cr McNamara

  • Spring Grove Recreation Reserve Committee: Cr McNamara

  • Moutere Hills Recreation Reserve/Community Centre Committee: Cr Turley

  • Waimea West Recreation Reserve Committee: Cr King

  • Ngatimoti Hall Management Committee: Cr McNamara

  • Wakefield Recreation Reserve Management Committee: Cr King

  • Ngatimoti Recreation Reserve Committee: Cr McNamara

  • Equestrian Trust Board: Cr Maling

  • Wakefield Health Centre Board: Cr Bryant

  • Mapua Health Centre Board: Cr Turley

  • Pinegrove Trust: Cr King

Richmond Ward

  • Hope Recreation Reserve Committee: Cr Maling

  • Keep Richmond Beautiful Committee: Cr Tuffnell

  • Richmond Unlimited Committee: Cr Tuffnell

  • Saxton Velodrome Working Party: Cr Wensley

  • Digital Enablement Plan Steering Group: Cr Wensley

Lakes/Murchison Ward

  • Murchison Recreation Reserve Committee: Cr Bryant

  • Stanley Brook Recreation Reserve Committee: Cr Bryant

  • Tapawera Recreation Reserve Committee: Cr Bryant

  • Lake Rotoiti Community Facility Committee: Cr Bryant

Community Development activity report

Highlights from the manager’s report include:

  • Golden Bay Community Recreation Facility: General work (including netball courts) was progressing. A draft archaeological assessment of the Takaka grandstand, and a heritage report covering human activities associated with the grandstand, along with council’s application, was sent to Heritage New Zealand. A “certificate of public use” was being sought for the new building to enable it to be used for the A&P Show towards the end of January 2017.

  • Golden Bay Museum: The Museum had raised funding and obtained all the consents for the Whalery building extension. Council is project managing the project for the Society. The building contract was around $90,000. Staff advised that there would be no impact on rates from the extension as the over expenditure was covered by increased income in the account. The contractor was also undertaking some building repairs at the site, including repairs to the roof to stop some leaks, provision of emergency lighting, and replacing the switchboard.

  • Nethui: A significant partnership occurred between Council and Internet NZ – the organisation responsible for the New Zealand Domain Name registration system. As a result, Nethui (the country’s ‘largest and most diverse’ internet event) was hosted in our region on 13 October 2016 – the first time the hui has been hosted outside a major centre.

  • Website: Usage for the website (1 October 2015 to 31 September 2016) remains strong. The website serves approximately 600 people per day and in the last year attracted nearly a third more users, with page views also up 7.49 %. GoShift building consent forms will be added to the site. Civil Defence website upgrade project work continues.

  • Reserves: For Richmond, (1) mountain bike track maintenance is being undertaken in the Dellside reserve areas, and (2) the Velodrome underpass and ramp installation has been completed, the lean to ride area is under construction and stage 2 of the main track is starting.

  • Growth strategy: Staff workshops are currently underway to determine future demand and supply for residential and business growth in each of our 16 settlement areas. Council workshops will be coming. The growth projections council selects (effectively a conceptual tool for planning) will have major implications for the long term plan (LTP) and its projected expenditure (which then has implications for debt and rates). I’d like to adopt a more conservative position – of moderate growth, given the level of uncertainty. While Tasman has experienced a degree of population growth, it appears to be tailing off, with most of the new growth coming by way of retirement (with often means growth for retirement villages). In my opinion, if growth occurs in this area, it’s likely to put far less demand on infrastructure – which would support a moderate growth forecast. However, I suspect that those supporting the dam, will want to see council adopt a high growth position, in order to inflate water demand.

  • Age care policy: This is under review to ensure alignment of age policies and initiatives with Nelson council.

  • RFID Installation: Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) technology was installed across the libraries during October 2016. Service desk areas in Richmond and Motueka Libraries have been reconfigured to allow for the installation of self-service kiosks. Library users now have the option of issuing their own items.

  • Consultation on National Library Strategic Direction: Tasman District Libraries works with the National Library in a number of ways, either as a user of National Library services or as a consortia partner. Any changes to National Library policies or strategic direction could have an impact on our libraries.

  • Richmond call centre upgrade: An upgrade to call centre software was completed. The enhanced caller information, reporting dashboards and staff information is expected to improve service levels.

  • Takaka Service Centre: Staff move back to the refurbished building on 9 December. In my opinion, this should have been consolidated within the existing library building. However, it was explained by staff that the cost of special data cabling to the library would have been more than the cost of refurbishment. Another option was to rebuild – which was rightly rejected by council.

  • Richmond Aquatic Centre: Patronage increased from July to June 2016 by 3,277. An increase of 1,245 compared to the same period in July 2015.

  • The Enviroschools Programme: This continues to expand. Golden Bay Kindergarten recently became TDC’s 4th Enviroschool at the GreenGold level demonstrating more connections with their community in their practices and projects. However, in my opinion, I question whether council should be involved in this project given the ongoing financial pressure on council. And I wonder if it should be suspended, so that funds can be redeployed to more pressing infrastructure concerns.

  • Conflicts of interest: This was discussed. The CEO asked councillors to rely on the advice given through the councillor induction process. He said he would be concerned if councillors were overly cautious and declared a conflict of interest when it was unlikely that one existed or could be perceived, as that would limit their ability to contribute as a member.

For more information about “conflicts of interest”, see www.oag.govt.nz/2007/conflicts-public-entitieswww.dia.govt.nz/diawebsite.nsf/wpg_URL/Resource-material-Our-Policy-Advice-Areas-Managing-Conflicting-Interests-in-Local-Government?OpenDocument, and www.iod.org.nz/Governance-Resources/Publications/Practice-guides/Conflicts-of-Interest-Practice-Guide.

Agenda and minutes

The agenda and minutes are located at http://www.tasman.govt.nz/council/council-meetings/committees-and-subcommittees/standing-committees-meetings/community-services-committee-meetings/?path=/EDMS/Public/Meetings/CommunityServicesCommittee/2016/2016-11-03.

Full council (27 October) – appointments and easter trading

A full council meeting was held on 27 October 2016. All councillors were present.

The agenda included: (1) committee structure, (2) appointments, (3) annual report 2015-16 adoption, (4) Easter Sunday trading, (5) remuneration, and (6) Local Government Fund AGM.

Public forum

Public forum was attended by Joanna Santa-Barbara, Fran Deech, Iona Jeff, Murray Dawson, and Maxwell Clarke.

Joanna Santa-Barbara requested council oppose deep sea prospecting and briefed council on Co2 limits and capacity to stay under a 2 celsius increase.

Fran Deech (and Iona Jeff) asked for council to make submissions to government on behalf of concerned residents expressing concerns about the proposed Taranaki basin zone. She explained that exploratory drilling could occur within 10km of Tasman coastline. Fran suggested the Rena disaster was a possible outcome for Tasman? She asked if council was prepared. Asking for submission to govt expressing concerns.

Murray Dawson asked council to undertake an organisational review, as one was well over due. He also raised concerns about water flow data being presented to councilors, which he suggested was incorrect.

Maxwell Clarke congratulated councillors on their appointment. He congratulated council on providing 5 minutes speaking time, but asked that the clock be returned to the chamber so speakers are able to monitor their speaking time. Maxwell asked that the makeup of standing committees be reviewed. He also suggested that council review the appointment of advisors, in light of the Mapua debacle.

Committee structure

A proposed committee structure was presented to council for adoption by the mayor. This new structure sought to reduce the four standing committees (reflecting the four departments of council) to three standing committees (Community development, Engineering, and Environment) with the fourth former standing committee (Corporate services) being retired.

Those sub-committees (ie Audit and Risk, Commercial, and CEO review) that reported through to the former Corporate services committee, would now report directly into the full council. Accordingly, these three sub-committees would be reclassified as “council committees”.

The structure is illustrated below.

See also www.tasman.govt.nz/council/council-structure/committees-and-subcommittees/.

Appointments

As expected, the mayor remained true to his election campaign and has kept to the same path – reappointing the same “remaining” long established councillors to the primary expenditure portfolios (ie engineering, environment, commercial), under the mantra of “experience”. The fact a number of councillors are highly experienced professionals and business people appears to be conveniently over-looked, in order to justify the desired outcome.

This is disappointing, but not surprising. Its quite obvious that the mayor is working hard to preserve his influence (and culture) over council decision making, by ensuring key positions continue to be filled by the old guard. This has even extended to re-appointing a former councillor (Cr Higgins) to the NRSBU for 12 months as a paid advisor. As I said during the election campaign, until council gets new leadership, the culture within the governance group will not change to the degree the majority of the public want. In my opinion, it is never a good look, for former councillors (or the council), to be in paid roles, when they have not been elected by their community.

For a council still working on getting out of the financial chaos of the preceding nine years (under the Mayor’s first three terms), I remain to be convinced that these appointments will deliver the outcome the community want – more progress on reducing debt and rate charges.

In contrast, the new mayor of Wellington city council (WCC) Justin Lester has replaced “experience” with councillors who have shown a drive, expertise, and intellectual capacity to make a positive difference to the portfolios they have been given (see www.wellington.scoop.co.nz/?p=93643). In effect, giving a number of portfolios a well needed shake-up. For example, one long term councillor (Cr Foster) who has lead the critically important transport committee in Wellington for over a decade was replaced with a newly elected councillor. Experience is only one element (amongst many others) to a successful appointment.

Nelson city council (NCC) is also embracing succession planning, placing new councillors in deputy roles or in chair roles supported by experienced deputies. That is a good sign of healthy governance, succession planning, and leadership. A council planning for the future, rather than clinging to the past.

In my opinion, the danger of appointing long established councillors, is they are less likely to challenge current thinking – as they are often susceptible to being captured by the organisation they are suppose to be governing. If you don’t like change, then these are all good appointments. But in my opinion, its very healthy for an organisation to have a periodic shake-up. Telecom (now called Spark) use to do it quite regularly. Had we had some new leadership, I suspect we probably would have got it.

Interestingly, Cr Maling was not appointed to any key portfolios. This in my opinion, was a massive missed opportunity. Cr Maling has shown he has the experience to make a massive difference. One only needs to look at the Waimea Village u-turn in performance. So to Cr Tuffnell, who has years of business experience that could have been called upon in the commercial portfolio (although I don’t share his enthusiasm for traffic lights!?).

I am not alone in my thinking. In the public forum Maxwell Clarke mentioned that he was hopeful that councillors who might challenge existing portfolio’s would be appointed. Sadly, this does not appear to have happened.

Of course criticism could be laid at councillors for not challenging these appointments. However, I believe, it is for the mayor to make appointments and to put their stamp on the council. After all it is the mayor’s vision (or lack of one) that people often vote for (or against).

In my opinion what is needed is a task force approach that shines a light on each department and questions not only structure (how we are doing things), but activities (why we are doing things).When was the last time a task force was commissioned to seek out cost saving opportunities? Why hasn’t the mayor ever sought to initiate one?

Finally, unlike the previous term, where councilors came together early in the process to outline their vision (and bond), new councilors have not been given that early opportunity to unite on common values and objectives. This has resulted in the leadership team having time and room to set the agenda (and path), rather than councilors.

For example, last term Judene Edgar was put forward by councillors as a candidate for deputy (although she subsequently turned it down, appearing to favour an airport directorship instead). Last term councillors also met for a workshop on what they wanted to achieve. This term, councillors did not have the opportunity to discuss who they might have wanted as deputy, nor their own aspirations. Leaving the mayor to make all the recommendations – and for councillors to approve them in the absence of any other recommendations, or the time to share opinion.

I have raised my concerns with the mayor  about the absence of a councillor lead workshop to set the direction for council. He continues to reassure me this will happen. Although I suspect well after the decision making infrastructure is locked in.

Appointments

The following appointments were made:

Mayor: Richard Kempthorne (as elected).

Deputy: Cr King.

Standing committees

  • Engineering services chair: Cr Bryant (deputy Cr Sangster)

  • Environment and planning chair: Cr King (deputy Cr Brown

  • Community development chair: Cr Canton (deputy Cr Wensley).

Council committees

  • Audit and risk chair: Cr Ogilvie (plus Cr Brown, Cr Greening, Cr King, and 1 independent member)

  • Commercial chair: Cr Sangster (plus Cr King, Cr MacNamara, Cr Ogilvie, Cr Wensley, and 3 independent members).

  • CEO review: Mayor, Cr King, and Cr Brown.

Subcommittees

  • Community grants chair: Cr Canton (plus Cr Wensley, Cr Turley, Cr Hawkes, and Cr Sangster)

  • Community awards chair: Cr Canton (plus Cr Turley, Cr Hawkes, and Cr Sangster)

  • Creative communities: Cr Wensley, Cr Turley, and Cr Canton.

Joint committees

  • Joint shareholders (chairs of standing and council committees): Mayor, Cr Tuffnell, Cr King, Cr Canton, Cr Bryant, Cr Ogilvie.

  • Nelson Regional Sewerage Business Unit (NRSBU) chair: Cr Maling (plus independent member Michael Higgins).

  • Civil defence: Mayor and Deputy mayor.

  • Regional pest control: Cr Bryant, Cr Brown, and Cr MacNamara.

  • Land development manual steering group. Cr Bryant and Cr King.

Other committees

  • Tasman Regional transport chair: Cr Bryant (plus Cr Maling, Cr MacNamara, Cr Ogilvie, Cr Sangster, and 1 NZTA member).

  • District licensing chair: Cr Ogilvie (plus Cr King and 3 independent members).

  • Tenders panel: Cr Bryant, Cr Tuffnell, Cr Maling, and CEO.

Community representatives

  • Accessibility for all: Cr Wensley

  • Friendly towns: Cr Tuffnell, Cr Canton

  • Iwi liaison: Mayor, CEO

  • Mapua water and wastewater business case working group: Cr Bryant, Cr King, Cr McNamara

  • Mapua waterfront advisory committee: Cr King

  • Motueka airport advisory group: Cr Canton

  • Native habitats: Cr Ogilvie

  • Nelson-Tasman business trust liaison: Cr Tuffnell, Cr Maling

  • Nelson-Tasman cycling trust liaison: Cr Canton

  • Positive ageing: Cr Wensley

  • Port Tarakohe advisory group: Cr King, Cr Sangster

  • Regional TB free: Cr Bryant

  • Richmond bridge and croquet club liaison: Cr Greening

  • Richmond transportation business case working group: Cr Bryant, Cr Tuffnell, Cr Greening,

  • Takaka airport advisory group: Cr Sangster

  • Tasman bays heritage trust appointments committee: Mayor, CEO

  • Tasman environmental trust liaison: Cr Tuffnell

  • Tasman regional sports trust: Mayor

  • Tasman youth council: Cr Canton, Cr Turley

Easter trading – first round

One of the first major issues to confront the new council was the potential introduction of easter trading. In my opinion, I could not fathom why staff (or the mayor) would be keen to introduce a major policy initiative so early into the new term of council, that would have resulted in consultation having to be conducted over the Christmas break. But here we were.

Background

By way of background, the government had recently amended the Shop Trading Hours Act 1990 to enable councils to decide whether retailers in their districts could open for business on Easter Sunday. This effectively shifted a rather controversial political issue (and associated consultation costs) from central government to local government. According to the Act, territorial authorities could create local policies to allow shop trading on Easter Sunday across their entire districts, or limited (specified) areas (see www.mbie.govt.nz/info-services/employment-skills/legislation-reviews/easter-sunday-shop-trading).

Its important to note that the Act (section 4) already allows gardening shops and shops selling certain types of goods (examples include dairies, service stations, take away bars, restaurants and cafes, and duty free stores) to remain open on Easter Sunday. Some tourist areas throughout New Zealand also have exemptions to open on Easter Sunday. For example, Nelson City holds an exemption for craft trading at Founders Park when it is open. See www.legislation.govt.nz/act/public/1990/0057/latest/DLM212351.html.

The Act also has implications for employers and employees. Employers who want employees to work on Easter Sunday must advise the employees that they have the right to refuse to work. This must be done by notice in writing between 4 and 8 weeks of the Easter Sunday (or in the case of a shop employee whose employment with the employer started 4 weeks or less before the relevant Easter Sunday, as soon as is reasonably practicable after the shop employee’s employment with the employer starts).

Employees who intend to refuse to work on an Easter Sunday are required to inform their employer by a notice in writing no later than 14 days after they receive the notification from their employer (or as soon as reasonably practicable after the employee receives notice if their employment started 4 weeks or less prior to the relevant Easter Sunday). The emplpoyee does not have to give a reason for refusing to work on Easter Sunday.

The employer must not treat the shop employee adversely because the shop employee refuses to work on an Easter Sunday. If an employer treats an employee adversely because the employee refuses to work on an Easter Sunday, or compels an employee to work on an Easter Sunday, the employee now has grounds to raise a personal grievance against the employer.

Employees would also not be entitled to a day in lieu or additional remuneration, should they choose to work on Easter Sunday. Easter Sunday is the only day that is a restricted trading day, but is not a public holiday. Under the Holidays Act 2003, employees are not entitled to any additional payment for working or not working Easter Sunday.

So, even if an Easter trading policy was put in place, there is no guarantee that a business would have staff available to be open.

Policy implementation

Staff recommend that before a decision was made whether to adopt a policy (or not), council should first undertake an informal (low cost) community survey to gauge community opinion. Staff proposed to report back to the Council on 1 December 2016 with the survey results and a Draft Policy for consideration as to whether to proceed to formal consultation.

If council decided to consult (on 1 December), staff recommended that an Easter trading policy be put in place for Easter 2017. For that to happen the following time frames would need to be met: (1) an informal community engagement period (3-17 November 2016); (2) the council considers community feedback and whether it wishes to release a Draft Easter Sunday Shop Trading Policy for public submissions (1 December 2016); (3) draft policy open for submissions for two months (December 2016 – February 2017); (4) hearings and deliberations (late February 2017); (5) staff amend Policy as per hearing panel instructions (March 2017); and (6) council adopts final Policy (before 19 March 2017).

In support of council consulting on an Easter trading policy, staff reported that Marlborough District Council had already adopted a draft policy that permitted shop trading on Easter Sunday throughout the entire Marlbourough region. However the drive for urgent adoption (for Easter 2017) had much more to do with the Omaka Air Show – an event that happens at Easter every 2 years (see www.marlborough.govt.nz/Your-Council/Shop-Trading-Policy.aspx,

www.marlborough.govt.nz/Your-Council/~/media/Files/MDC/Home/Your%20Council/LocalEasterSundayShopTradingProposal.pdf).

From my own research, I noted that Rangitikei Council had also entertained consultation on easter trading (see www.rangitikei.govt.nz/council/consultation/easter-sunday-shop-trading-policy, www.rangitikei.govt.nz/files/general/Consultation-Documents/Statement-of-Proposal-Local-Easter-Sunday-Shop-Trading-Policy.pdf).

Defer consultation – a proposed amendment

In my opinion, the entire process – an informal consultation (online survey) and the formal consultation (a statutory process), should have been deferred until 2017. At that point, council could then decide whether it wanted to consult (informally or formally, or both) or not to proceed at all.

My reasoning for deferring consideration was: (1) kicking off this process now was premature, given many other more pressing issues council needed to deal with; (2) staff were apparently already under work load pressures (at least according to staff), and adding more consultation work this year, seemed to me, poor management – better to spread the consultation workload than intensify it; (3) moving this process to 2017 meant there was no risk of consultation occurring over Christmas (assuming council decided to consult); and (4) councillors were still finding their feet, so rushing consultation on a controversial issue was probably not a good idea.

Councils are often criticised for giving lip service to public consultation. Far better to have a reasonable amount of open (and transparent) public consultation on this issue – given the fact the government had been hesitant to step in themselves. Waiting an extra year also gave council the benefit of seeing how other councils drafted policy and engaged, and whether there were any teething issues.

Given the public have been waiting for a government decision on this issue since 2002, I was confident that the public could wait another 12 months.

While I noted my concern about staff spending time on preparing a draft policy in advance (that might not proceed to public consultation, due to lack of public support), I was open to staff preparing such a draft. This was because a draft policy document should not take long to assemble, given staff could utilise drafts already prepared by other councils.

Accordingly, I proposed an amendment (seconded by Cr Canton) to defer consideration of this issue until 2017. Unfortunately, the amendment was lost (Cr Canton and myself in the minority), and staff were instructed to undertake an informal survey to inform councillors at the next full council meeting on 1 December, whether to proceed (or not) with formal consultation.

Annual report

The 2015-16 annual report and summary annual report were received and unanimously adopted by council. Councillors Brown, Hawkes, Maling, McNamara, Ogilvie, Tuffnell, Turley, and Wensley abstaining on the basis they had no involvement in preparing that annual plan.

The delayed adoption of the annual plan (at the end of the previous term of council) was principally due to a delay in the adoption of the Nelson Airport financial statements, due to the Auditor General querying the revaluation of the Nelson Airport assets (ie, land), which had been revalued on the basis of “fair value” (according to the new accounting standard).

Remuneration

The remuneration authority sets the remuneration for each district and regional council (under statutory declaration). The current rates are:

Mayor

$132,378.00

Deputy Mayor

$47,470.00

Standing Committee Chairperson

$43,819.00

Committee Chairperson

$40,168.00

Councillor

$36,516.00

Motueka Community Board Chair

$13,872.00

Motueka Community Board member

$6,936.00

Golden Bay Community Board Chair

$12,444.00

Golden Bay Community Board member

$6,222.00

See Local Government Elected Members (2016/17) (Certain Local Authorities) Determination 2016 www.legislation.govt.nz/regulation/public/2016/0158/latest/DLM6880662.html?search=ad_regulation__certain+local+authorities_2016___25_an%40bn%40rc%40dn%40apub%40aloc%40apri%40apro%40aimp%40bgov%40bloc%40bpri%40bmem%40rpub%40rimp_rc%40ainf%40anif%40bcur%40rinf%40rnif%40raif%40rasm%40rrev_a_aw_se&p=1#DLM6880666

Agenda and minutes

The agenda and minutes are located at www.tasman.govt.nz/council/council-meetings/committees-and-subcommittees/standing-committees-meetings/full-council-meetings/?path=/EDMS/Public/Meetings/FullCouncil/2016/2016-10-27.

Media

www.nelsonlive.co.nz/2016/10/tasman-council-finances-improving/

www.nelsonlive.co.nz/2016/10/councils-seek-views-on-easter-sunday-trading/

www.stuff.co.nz/nelson-mail/news/85864969/pay-rates-rise-for-tasman-district-councillors

http://tdcme.nz/easter-sunday-trading/2016/

Full council (20 October) – a new council inducted

The first full council meeting on the new term was held on 20 October 2016. All councillors were present.

Standing orders

The agenda outlined the main rules that regulate councillors participation around the council table, including: revised standing orders and code of conduct. Minor corrections were made to both tabled documents.

Cr Wensley raised a question about the quorum of elected members at meetings and moved to change the standing orders to insert the word “being” (in para 10.1(a) and (b)) and require at least 2 elected members at any committee or sub-committee meeting, rather than just one (in para 10.2).

In effect, this codified the practice to date – as at least 2 elected councillors are usually appointed to every sub-committee. For example, last term of council, Cr Ensor and Cr King were appointed to the commercial subcommittee. The CEO advised that 10.2 reflected the law and that council had dealt with quorum matters through the terms of reference. However there was nothing preventing council changing standing orders instead. The amendment was unanimously supported by council.

Voting system

The agenda also provided councillors the opportunity to select the voting system for deputy mayor and committee chairs. I advocated for councillors to support an STV (singe transferable vote) system rather than FFP (first past the post) system. My reasoning was we already had a minority mayor and it was important to ensure there was majority support for the deputy. It also would motivate new councilors to stand for the deputy or chair positions. The mayor opposed STV on the grounds FPP was used during the election and should be used to elect the deputy.

By majority (Cr Hawkes and myself dissenting), the FPP system was carried.

Community boards

Council unanimously appointed Cr Canton, Cr Hawkes and Cr Ogilvie to the Motueka community board, and Cr Brown and Cr Sangster to the Golden Bay Community board. Cr Hawkes election to council has resulted in a by-election for the Motueka community board.

Interestingly, only one candidate (former councillor Barry Dowler, who is seeking to return to local government politics after being defeated in local body elections) is standing for the Motueka Community Board. Unfortunately, the media’s recent beat-up about the cost of holding a by-election ($30,000) does not put potential candidates off. Although I fear thats exactly why it’s being talked about. To put cost into perspective, council is already committed to spending between $13,872 (chair) to $6,936 (member) per annum, on whoever is elected?

Getting only one candidate standing in Motueka is a very disappointing result for democracy – especially given the talent that is available in that community. Hopefully, someone from the next generation will put their name forward and give residents a choice.

Agenda and minutes

The agenda and minutes are located at: www.tasman.govt.nz/council/council-meetings/committees-and-subcommittees/standing-committees-meetings/full-council-meetings/?path=/EDMS/Public/Meetings/FullCouncil/2016/2016-10-20.

Media

Nelson Mail (20 October 2017) www.stuff.co.nz/nelson-mail/news/85574312/New-look-Tasman-District-Council-takes-office

Nelson Mail (10 October 2017) www.stuff.co.nz/nelson-mail/news/85122976/eight-fresh-faces-feature-in-newlook-tasman-district-council

Nelson Live (27 October 2016) www.nelsonlive.co.nz/2016/10/new-women-councillors-get-to-work/

Nelson Mail (17 November 2016) www.stuff.co.nz/nelson-mail/news/86586240/Ex-councillor-Barry-Dowler-to-stand-in-Motueka-Community-Board-by-election

Nelson Mail (9 December 2016) www.stuff.co.nz/nelson-mail/news/87365860/Motueka-Community-Board-by-election-could-cost-up-to-30-000

Community development committee meeting (5 May)

 

20160505-comdev-rabbitisland

The community development committee meeting was also held on 5 May 2016. Apologies were received from Cr Mirfin and Cr Dowler, with Cr Higgins arriving late. All other councillors were present.

The agenda contained one item: the Notification of Draft Moturoa / Rabbit Island Reserve Management Plan.

Draft reserve management plan

Council resolved (by majority) to receive the draft Rabbit Island (Moturoa) Reserve management plan and publicly notify the public for objections and comments (public submissions) by Friday 8 July 2016.

The staff report states that it “summarises the key directions provided to us at the Council workshop on 11 February 2016”. However, in my opinion, that is not correct. My recollection of the workshop directions was for the draft plan to adopt a smart management (or a mixed use) approach to forestry and recreational use.

During those discussions I had suggested that updated signage and smart management practices would enable a shared use approach that over-came any health and safety concerns. Yet the draft before now the council clearly proposed a separation of forestry and recreational use (as was first presented to the workshop – and rejected).

20160505-comdev-rabbitisland-map1

When I asked why the draft had not reflected the directions of the workshop, I was advised a special committee of councillors (formed by the mayor) had reconsidered the workshop directions and had given additional weight to health and safety concerns. Basically, I was left with the impression that if the workshop did not endorse the preferred outcome of the mayor, another process would be added, to ensure it did.

To reassert the workshop direction, I suggested that additional dotted lines be added to the proposed map, showing other forestry tracks available for shared use for both cycling and forestry (eg Higgins Road, Bird Road, etc). At this point the usual suspects sought to rubber stamp the reworked draft proposal, by arguing that the proposed draft was fine, and that it still provided a shared area, with the coastal cycling track and Barnicoat Road loop option, and the extension of the mountain bike area alongside Conifer Park.

I found such an argument, to be blind to what was before them. Clearly the uses had been separated, contrary to the direction of the workshop, as cycling was now excluded from the centre of the forestry block, other than a single track that divided the two main forestry blocks.

Staff also added that council needed to manage the danger to the public by separating forest activities and recreational use, including the disposal of bio-solids in the area. They considered my proposed change wouldn’t be in the best interest of the commercial activities.

In my opinion, this staff observation showed that the focus of the reserve plan was not about managing the reserve as a whole, but preserving unimpeded management of the commercial activities. Effectively the management plan was merely a process to carve out the commercial activities.

Cr King also argued that he was not concerned with the final contents of the draft, as the community still had the opportunity to provide feedback? This argument found favour with a lot of councillors.

However, in my opinion, council should be putting the best proposal out for feedback, not relying on the community for feedback on a poor proposal. In my opinion, such arguments are made by people who rely on public apathy to slip through unsupported proposals. Its then easy for such a draft proposal to get rubber stamped by councillors, who prefer to rubber stamp motions, than put forward amended resolutions.

In my opinion, council needs to “show” it is acting in the communities best interests, and not invoke bad feeling from the community, by getting them to have to put in submissions to the contrary. Putting out a proposal that councillors know does not have public support, is just wrong on so many levels.

Consultation process

Fortunately, the public were quite concerned with what had been proposed in the draft plan. The massive volume of submissions (around 660 respondents) supporting a mixed use approach meant that the hearing panel (held on 1-2 August 2016) had to re-adopt the original workshop proposal – which provided for a shared use approach to all of the forestry blocks. I suspect the forthcoming elections (in October 2016) also had a part to play in the hearing panel’s recommendations to council.

20160505-comdev-rabbitisland-map2

For information about the consultation process, see: www.tasman.govt.nz/policy/public-consultation/completed-consultations/2016-consultations/moturoa-rabbit-island-reserve-management-plan-review/.

Agenda and minutes

The agenda and minutes are located at: www.tasman.govt.nz/council/council-meetings/standing-committees-meetings/community-services-committee-meetings/?path=/EDMS/Public/Meetings/CommunityServicesCommittee/2016/2016-05-05.

Media

www.nelsonlive.co.nz/news/2016/09/recreation-not-forestry-rabbit-island/

www.nelsonlive.co.nz/news/2016/05/rabbit-island-tracks-may-close/

www.stuff.co.nz/nelson-mail/79666247/Rabbit-Island-draft-plan-restricts-public-access-to-some-trails

www.stuff.co.nz/nelson-mail/news/82710411/dont-touch-rabbit-island-urges-former-manager

www.stuff.co.nz/nelson-mail/news/84424785/Rabbit-Island-forest-trails-to-stay-open-in-amended-TDC-management-plan

Corporate services committee meeting (5 May)

The corporate services committee meeting was held on 5 May 2016. Apologies were received from Cr Mirfin and Cr Dowler for absence, and Cr Ensor for lateness. All other councillors were present.

The agenda (requiring no decisions of council, other than to receive reports) included: (1) Treasury presentation from PWC, (2) Treasury report, and (3) Corporate services activity report. A confidential (in-committee) report in relation to the proposed sale of 11 Fittal Street in Richmond was discussed.

Treasury presentations

Brett Johanson and Jason Bligh from PricewaterhouseCoopers (PWC) gave a presentation on treasury matters. This included responding to questions presented by councillors.

Cr Bouillir and myself submitted several questions on behalf of some concerned residents of Golden Bay – much to the frustration of the chair (apparently this was not normal practice). In my opinion, one of the roles of a councillor is to ensure residents concerns are adequately addressed and answered – even if they may disagree with the outcome.

Unfortunately, Cr Norris took the opportunity throughout the rest of the day (as a bit of a running joke) to ask councillors if they were asking questions on behalf of someone else. While I could see the amusing side, some people might suggest this is a form of bullying or intimidation (ie, don’t ask questions on behalf of others, otherwise I will make fun of you all day).

My three questions on behalf of a Golden Bay resident were:

1. Why is our local authority paying an interest rate higher than I could obtain by walking into my local building society? At the time of the question was submitted, TDC was paying around 5.331% in interest.

2. Could the TDC provide factual examples of local authorities that have derived significant financial benefit from dealing in interest rate swaps?

3. If interest rates were to fall to say 1% for the remaining duration of existing swap contracts, what would the financial impact on TDC’s finances be at that time?

Background

Before jumping into PWC’s responses, its useful to understand how council borrows money and what “swaps” are.

At present, council continues to carry a large amount of debt. However, this total debt is actually made up of much smaller parcels of debt that have been entered into at different times, have different durations and end dates, and have different interest rate obligations. It’s also why council often talks in terms of “average” interest rates.

So what is a “swap”? A swap is a derivative contract whereby two parties exchange financial instruments (containing specified obligations). The swap agreement defines the dates when cash flows are to be paid and the way they are accrued and calculated. Swaps do not trade on exchanges.

Swaps can be used to: (1) hedge certain risks such as interest rate risk (which is what TDC is doing), or (2) speculate on changes in the expected direction of underlying prices or interest rates, in order to make money.

This later (revenue earning) type of swap is common in America, where local government might have their income (or total rates take) capped. In order to raise additional revenue above their cap (perhaps for an unexpected infrastructural expense), they use their capacity to service debt to raise income (by underwriting the interest rate risk of the other parties).

In the UK, the Hammersmith council entered into such an arrangement, and while making money at first (when interest rates were low), subsequently made substantial losses, when it had to underwrite the rising interest rate obligations of the other party. The TDC is “not” engaged in these type of swap arrangements. Rather, the TDC has entered into swaps to reduce exposure to interest rate risk, not make money.

The most common type of swap is an interest rate swap that has the effect of transforming a fixed rate loan into a floating rate loan (or vice versa). TDC has a number of floating rate loans. In order to obtain interest rate certainty and mitigate risk, TDC has entered into a number of swap contracts. Council also has the the opportunity to blend (and\or extend) SWAP agreements where they provide TDC financial advantage (ie as interest rates lower).

Is TDC paying to higher an interest rate?

PWC advised that TDC borrows at commercial rates, not domestic mortgage rates. TDC also borrows funds on longer terms than the average domestic mortgage. Most domestic mortgages will be on a short term 1-year floating rate, or fixed for short durations (perhaps 1-3 years, before they are reviewed). The approach of PWC is to borrow funds on the 5 year interest rate market. This is because most TDC assets will have a life expectancy of at least 5 years (or more). At present, TDC’s borrowing costs are tracking well below the 5-year mortgage rate.

2016-swaps-5yr-rates

Does TDC (or PWC) have evidence of swaps benefiting local authorities?

PWC advised that they did not have an immediate answer to this question (as they were not given these questions in advance of this meeting, but were open to providing this information from their global network of resources). At this point, the chair intervened, and suggested the question was not an invitation for PWC to charge TDC for making further investigations. The chair, then asked if I had any other questions.

In answer to the question, over the past 10 years, TDC has consistently achieved a lower interest rate than either budget or the 5-year mortgage rate (see above graph). Further, between 1999 and 2008, as interest rates were climbing, significant financial benefits accrued to TDC.

It is also widely acknowledged that some councils have benefited from swaps. Significantly, the following observation comes from a website (www.debtresistance.uk/the-ghosts-of-hammersmith-fulham-the-return-of-toxic-council-derivatives-debt/) that criticises some forms of swaps. It states:

… some councils had “guessed right” with their interest rate bets, and were profiting handsomely from the trades, whilst others, such as Hammersmith taxpayers faced a potential bill …

Importantly (and to avoid any confusion) the Hammersmith scenario was a different type of swap arrangement to the type TDC has entered into. Hammersmith was benefiting from rates going down (effectively covering others from rates going up), rather than hedging against rates going up.

TDC is not entering swaps to make money, nor is it covering other parties from interest rate increases. Rather it is using swaps to consolidate a mixture of different interest rates and debt parcels, as well as mitigate the risk of 5-year interest rates going up. Effectively, swaps are being used as a risk management tool.

In my opinion, the above information supports the proposition that some councils have benefited from swaps.

What happens if interest rates drop?

PWC advised that they are continually reviewing the swap market to take advantage of any downward movements. Unlike a domestic mortgage, TDC has a large number of loan arrangements that have different start and end dates. TDC does not have one single loan arrangement. Similarly there are a number of separate swap arrangements that cover those loans. As arrangements come up for renewal, there is an opportunity to take advantage of a lowering market. This is why TDC’s average interest rate has been falling over the last year or two.

In reality the Council acts within the overall strategy of keeping rates down, as interest rates move. When interest rates drop the Council uses tools such as “forward starts”, or “blends and extends”, to take advantage of the movement at the time and to capture the low rates, as swaps come due.

Council’s ability to manage the forward risk in interest rate movements is greater than the person who goes into their local building society and borrows say $100,000 for 2 years at a fixed interest rate of 4.99%. If interest rates fall to say 1% for the remaining duration of their loan agreement they are faced with a break fee or toughing it out until their mortgage matures. TDC has more options than that.

More information

These questions were again answered in more detail in the Golden Bay Community Board meeting (which I also attended), see the Agenda (from page 11) at: www.tasman.govt.nz/council/council-meetings/community-boards-meetings/golden-bay-community-board-meetings/?path=/EDMS/Public/Meetings/GoldenBayCommunityBoard/2016/2016-05-10. See also the Golden Bay Weekly (27 May 2016, page 6) at www.gbweekly.co.nz/uncategorized/27-may-2016/#27-may-16/page1. For NZ swap rates, see: www.interest.co.nz/charts/interest-rates/swap-rates.

Treasury report

Council’s debt at 31 March 2016 stood at $134.5 million, with an average interest rate of 5.417% (contrasted to June 2015 when it was 5.166%).

Council’s actual weighted average cost of funds at 31 March 2016, including interest rate swaps, bank margins, and line fees at 5.464% against a budgeted rate of 5.7%. The gradual decrease is from more favourable terms resulting from the refinancing of the bank facilities and favourable 2 to 4-year term swap rates. The ‘spike’ in the weighted average cost of funds for September and December 2015 and March 2016 are due to a lower debt position. This has meant that the Council’s debt is currently over covered by interest rate swaps which are at a higher rate than current floating debt rates.

At 31 March 2016, the Council had $147.78 million of interest rate swaps in place, including some “forward start” swaps. After adjusting for the forward start swaps, $144.78 million is “live” which is equal to 108% cover over existing debt and 87% over forecast 31 March 2017 net debt (ie 12-month debt). I asked staff when the debt levels and swap coverage would realign. Staff advised that they anticipated alignment by the end of June 2016.

Existing committed bank facility expiry dates and term debt maturity dates are spread based on defined maturity band limits of 0-3 years, 3-5 years and 5 years plus. Minimum and maximum percentage limits within each time band ensure a spread of maturities and reduce the risk of maturity concentrations.

The Council currently has $30 million in private placements. The private placements allow the Council to place longer term debt in the years between the Local Government Funding Agency (LGFA) issues. The Council also has $90 million of debt placed with the LGFA.

Bank Cash/Cash Investments $Million Notional Swaps $Million Credit Exposure $Million Compliance
Westpac $1.21 $63.05 $13.67 Within Policy
ASB $2.37 $41.73 $13.28 Within Policy
ANZ Nil $43.00 $11.11 Within Policy

The objective is to have a mix of 80% debt capital markets (such as the LGFA, private placements and commercial paper) and 20% committed bank facilities. The current mix is as follows:

Funding Source

Amount $Million

Percentage

Bank Debt

$14.50

10.80%

Private Placement

$30.00

22.3%

LGFA Debt

$90.00

66.9%

Total

$134.50

100.00%

Corporate services activity report

Highlights from the manager’s report included:

  • Finances. The department will end the year with a surplus, mostly driven by the treasury function. Tight and active management of treasury combined with benign external factors have reduced loan costs and high cash balances have increased interest income above budgeted levels. It is intended that part of the surplus will be used to repay outstanding treasury loans in relation to the LGFA share purchase.
  • Commerce commission. Work on port charges (and valuation) by PricewaterhouseCoopers and Simpson Grierson is drawing to a conclusion and a response to the Commerce Commission from council should be made within the next 6 weeks (ie June 2016).
  • Property. The Property section continues to operate at reduced capacity. A replacement for the Property Officer has been appointed and started on 2 May.
  • Aerodromes. Aerodrome landing charges are set to increase by $1 from 1 July 2016. The Motueka road sealing (hangar access) is currently on hold and likely to be cancelled.
  • Campgrounds. Overall campground income is up and expenditure down slightly on budgeted levels. The overall profit is $156,000 which confirms a good season and tight financial management. Infrastructure failures at Collingwood campground have stabilised.
  • Mapua. The tail end of the works related to the Shed 4 build and improvements to the public areas is underway. A report on the budget over-run is being prepared and is subject of a separate report to this Committee. Council officers are arranging for an additional temporary resource to assist in developing a Strategic Plan for the wider Mapua area (including the wharf, waterfront park, Grossi Point and remediated land). This strategic plan will assist in managing the competing interests in the area and ensure that agreed outcomes are met. The prospective purchaser of the Mapua causeway has advised that they no longer wish to pursue the purchase option. They have a right of renewal for five years under the current license to occupy.
  • Forestry. The forestry management tender process has been completed with PF Olsen Ltd being the successful tenderer. Income in forestry is forecast to be up on budget for the year due to higher market prices and increased cutting volumes. The current underspend on maintenance will correct by year end due to roading work in the Sherry and Borlase forests as we prepare for upcoming harvesting at those sites.
  • Port Tarakohe. Volumes over the wharf are good. The marina occupancy is stable. The YTD profit (for February) is $20,000, against a budgeted loss of $78,000.
  • Port Nelson. Port Nelson Ltd has declared an interim 2016 dividend of $1.5 million, of which $750,000 comes to TDC. Cr King is currently a director on the Port Board and is due to retire at the AGM on Friday 23 September 2016. His appointment was extended until March 2017 to allow a newly formed council to make the next appointment. It should be noted that council policy prohibits the reappointment of a director for a fourth successive term, unless there are special circumstances. Given the experience of other directors already on the board (see http://www.portnelson.co.nz/about-the-port/directors/), I cannot see why a any re-appointment of Cr King would be required.
  • Legal. The Council sought legal advice around the ability to ban (wicked camper vans) from the Council’s campsites, the summary being: (1) Any ban needs to be around the offensive slogans or images, not around specific provider, (2) Leased sites are not able to be controlled by the Council, unless our leases specifically permit it (which they currently do not) or each lessee agrees to it. It would not be commercially prudent to exert this control over our lessees’ businesses. However, discussions with the lessees has indicated a willingness to work with the Council. Collingwood campground is the only current operated site that can be controlled via an immediate Council policy. All four Council-owned commercial campgrounds, regardless of being leased or operated, are insisting on those slogans being covered before entry into our campgrounds. Staff recommended that no formal action is required, as the matter is being dealt with effectively at each campground.
  • Information technology. Digital Strategy interviews and staff workshops have been completed and the findings and proposed strategic priorities will go to a Councillor workshop on 28 April 2016. The new Council file structure is being tested across all departments between April and July 2016. Once testing has been completed and signed off, the new structure will be installed into our document management system and the process of moving departmental documents and records across will begin. This will involve document process reviews and training of staff to ensure the transition is successful. It is planned for all departments to be working within the system by the end of 2016. The final upgrade of the Confirm Enterprise asset management system took place during the weekend of 16 April 2016. Additional security cameras are being added to the Customer Services area of the Main Office. Information Services are now managing the security camera infrastructure.
  • Nelson Airport. The airport half yearly report and draft 2016-17 Statement of intent were considered by the Joint Shareholders Committee (comprising the mayor, deputy mayor, committee chairs, and audit subcommittee chair) on 15 April 2016.
  • Action items. Mapua land (vacant corner site) – Mike Drummond to report back within 12 weeks on potential alternate uses of this land.

Agenda and minutes

The agenda and minutes are located at: www.tasman.govt.nz/council/council-meetings/standing-committees-meetings/corporate-services-committee-meetings/?path=/EDMS/Public/Meetings/CorporateServicesCommittee/2016/2016-05-05.

Engineering committee meeting (14 April)

20160414-severerainfallevent-p49

The engineering services committee meeting was held on 14 April 2016. Apologies were received from Cr Mirfin, and for lateness Cr Bouillir and Mayor Kempthorne. All other councillors were present.

The agenda (88 pages) included: (1) Richmond car parking survey 2015-2016, (2) Chairman’s report, (3) Water services – options for service provision – s 17A review, (4) Water and wastewater reticulation – Mapua, (5) Rivers works – options for service provision – s 17A review, (6) Rivers contract extension and procurement of new contract, (7) Severe rain event update, (8) Road safety update, and (9) Engineering services activity update.

Public forum

Mr Maxwell Clark spoke about the new funding model for the Waimea Dam. He considered the revised model was good because it made it clear that the irrigators needed to pay their fair share. Something they were not currently doing.

Mr Graeme Dick (a property developer) spoke about the development of Mapua and the major restrictions relating to water supply. He urged the Council to create urgency (as it was not in the LTP) and to fast track the supply of new water to the Mapua area. He suggested a water pipe to Mapua would cost approximately $6 million and that 140 new sections would cover that cost. From development levies.

Cr Sangster spoke about the recent Takaka flooding and the issue with water ponding at the wastewater treatment plant. He urged the Council to include gravel removal from the Waingaro River (near Duncan’s bank) as a matter of urgency.

Richmond Car Parking Survey

A powerpoint presentation developed by Ben Norrish and Dylan Waghorn (engineering summer students) was presented to the committee by staff. This presentation was subsequently followed up with a council workshop on car parking strategies.

Chair’s report

Highlights included:

  • Fluoridation. The mood of councillors was that the cost of fluoridation should fall on those who made the decision to fluoridate (ie the DHB) or central government, not TDC. Staff were asked to provide a report on the central government’s water fluoridation proposal including expected timeframes, costs, and the proposed legal framework.
  • State highway liaison meetings. Councillors discussed the frequency and timing of these meetings. It was agreed the meetings should continue, but perhaps less often.

Water services review and procurement

Council resolved to: (1) receive the report, (2) not to undertake a s 17A review, and (3) proceed with tendering for procurement of water utilities operations and maintenance services. Council also instructed staff to develop a s 17A service delivery review programme in the relevant Activity Management Plan (AMP) for the Long Term Plan (LTP) 2018-28.

Generally, a local authority must review the cost-effectiveness of current arrangements for meeting the needs of communities within its district or region for good-quality local infrastructure, local public services and performance of regulatory functions (under s 17 of the LGA). However, a local authority is not required to undertake a review if they are satisfied that the potential benefits of undertaking a review do not justify the cost of undertaking the review.

In this case, the expiry of the water utilities service deliver contract has triggered a s 17A review. However, there are potential benefits and efficiencies from deferring a future service delivery review until the review aligns with the water utility contract renewal at Nelson council (NCC). In effect, a major shared services alignment on water services with Nelson council.

Water and wastewater reticulation – Mapua

Council resolved to: (1) receive the report, and (2) approve the use of up to $300,000 for a feasibility study for water and wastewater options in Mapua in 2016-17, funded from activity balances for water ($200,000), wastewater ($50,000), and transport ($50,000). Council also requested that staff report back to council on the process to be followed, including: potential stakeholder engagement, and a breakdown of the budget prior to commencing work on the feasibility study.

Private developers have been exploring alternative water supply proposals in Mapua to either boost the council’s system capacity or create new schemes. Recent investigations into interim water supply solutions for Mapua confirm that the Council’s water network is at capacity and cannot accommodate more growth above the water already allocated. The wastewater network is also at capacity and must be upgraded before it can accommodate growth beyond the developments already consented in Mapua.

20160421-tdc-mapuadevelopment

Under the current Long Term Plan, water and wastewater works to renew the water main and provide substantial additional capacity for growth won’t be completed for approximately 12 years. Ongoing significant water pipe breaks are threatening the delivery of an acceptable Level of Service (LOS) to residents. These are not yet at a level that justifies early intervention.

However, staff are concerned that either growth demand or excessive pipe failure in the future could warrant action before upgrade works are currently programmed – or adequately planned. Hence, staff propose to advance a feasibility study in 2016-17 that will allow the selection of a preferred design option, sizing, and programming, for both water and wastewater. The study will consider whether works should be brought forward in the future (if needed).

Rivers work review

Council resolved to: (1) receive the report, (2) not to undertake a s 17A review, and (3) proceed with tendering for procurement of water utilities operations and maintenance services. Council also instructed staff to develop a s 17A service delivery review programme in the relevant Activity Management Plan (AMP) for the Long Term Plan (LTP) 2018-28.

Generally, a local authority must review the cost-effectiveness of current arrangements for meeting the needs of communities within its district or region for good-quality local infrastructure, local public services and performance of regulatory functions (under s 17 of the LGA). However, a local authority is not required to undertake a review if they are satisfied that the potential benefits of undertaking a review do not justify the cost of undertaking the review.

In this case, the expiry of the river works contract has triggered a s 17A review. However, there are potential benefits and efficiencies from deferring a future service delivery review until the review aligns with the water utility contract renewal at Nelson council (NCC). In effect, a major shared services alignment on river works with Nelson council.

Rivers contracts

Council resolved to: (1) receive the report, and (2) approves the extension of the rivers maintenance contract C840 with Taylors Contracting Ltd until 30 September 2016.

Council currently has a contract with Taylors Contracting Limited to provide physical works in “X” and “Y” classified rivers. This is a 5-year contract (3+1+1 years) which expires on 30 June 2016. Staff sought to extend the current contract by 3 months to enable a review and develop contract documents for the new tender process. If approved, the current rivers contract would expire on 30 September 2016.

Severe rain event

Council resolved to receive the report.

20160414-severerainfallevent-p53

A severe storm event (across the whole district) occurred on 23-24 March 2016. Over 24 hours 250-350mm of rainfall fell across the northwest ranges and Kahurangi National Park area, and 150-200mm about the Richmond Ranges.

Location

Total Rainfall (mm)

Aorere at Collingwood

298

Anatoki at Paradise

376

Takaka at Harwoods

267

Takaka at Canaan

336

Riwaka at Takaka Hill

254

Waimea at Appleby

124

Brook at Third House

145

Lee at Trig F

174

Nelson at Founders Park

105

 

20160414-severerainfallevent-p47

The largest flood occurred in the Riwaka River. The flow in the South Branch tributary peaked at 96 cumecs and the flow in the North Branch tributary peaked at 94 cumecs, which was the second highest flow since records began in 1982.

20160414-severerainfallevent-p50

The Takaka River catchment also experienced significant flooding. The upper catchment rivers reached flows corresponding to around 15-30-year flood events and the mid catchment 5-10-year floods events. The upper Takaka River at Harwoods flow site recorded the second highest level since records began in 1975.

Location Records Start This Event (rainfall mm) Previous Highest (rainfall mm)
Collingwood Repeater 2012 298 178
Takaka at Harwoods 1988 267 265
Riwaka North at Littles 1995 227 186
Tui Close (Motueka) 1998 179 140

20160414-severerainfallevent-p5220160414-severerainfallevent-p51

Road safety

Council resolved to receive the report.

Tasman District has always had a relatively low crash history. Generally, around 70 people annually are hurt when using the road network. In 2006 and 2007, numbers were higher than normal.

In 2006, there were 3 fatal and 7 serious crashes on our road network. A further 50 minor crashes and 97 damage only incidents also occurred. In 2007, there were 2 fatal, 24 serious and 91 minor injury crashes, and 119 damage only crashes. Since 2010, there has been a steady decrease in the number of people injured on our road network. In 2015, there were no fatal crashes.

The first graph shows the fatal and serious reported crashes from 2006 to 2015. A trend line has also been added to show the reduction over time.

20160414-crashes-p59

The next graph shows all injury crashes from 2006 to 2015.

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The last graph shows the above data as well as non-injury (damage only) crashes.

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The graph below provides crash data from 2006 to 2015.

20160414-crashes-p62

The graph below shows the traffic growth (vehicle kilometres travelled) across the District from 2006 to 2015.

20160414-crashes-p63

Engineering services activity update

Council resolved to receive the report. Highlights from the managers report included:

  • Finances. Overall operations income and expenditure is within or ahead of budget. A total year to date operating surplus of $5.8 million is recorded. The capital works programme is behind budget overall. We are still struggling to commit all the carry forward work from the last financial year and initiate all the new capital work in the current year.
  • Health and safety. Water main excavation work vs power line (11kv power cable) incident resulted in an arc touching a digger bucket. No injuries were reported. Downer began an investigation on the morning of the incident. Immediate action has been to change their procedures.
  • Planning. Staff have developed a 2016 activity planning business plan. The plan does not outline all of the team’s work, just priorities for 2016, and indicative priorities for 2017. Transport plans include: Tasman Speed Management Plan, and District Car Parking Strategy Review. Stormwater plans include: Richmond Catchment Management Plan (CMP), and Secondary Flowpath Management. Other projects include: Regional Water Supply and Demand model, Water related TRMP changes, Water Allocation Principles and Practice, and the Joint Land Development Manual.
  • Asset database. Since the last update, 3,474 utilities asset features have been added, edited, or deleted, based on new subdivision works, repairs and council contracts are received. Progress has been made in reviewing and improving the drains data set with 138 new assets added, 34 amended and 10 features removed (added in error or superseded by piped systems).
  • Developments. Three subdivision engineering plans have been received and approved since the last update. Council’s legal advisers are preparing a deed for an area in Richmond West which has a deferred residential zoning and has the potential for an additional 500 new dwellings. It is proposed that the area will be serviced by a new wastewater pressure sewerage system draining to Headingly Lane. Residential developments (future 60 lots) off Pitfure road in Wakefield are extending into residential zoned land; discussion with the developer’s agent is continuing. Pre-application discussions on future developments in Richmond south are continuing. The Hart subdivision (33 lots) on the corner of Hill street and Hart road is nearing completion. The Mapua Joint Ventures development is continuing with the next stages (24 lots) which will see the upgrades of the Seaton Valley Road and Mapua Drive frontages to the subdivision. Stage three (36 lots) of the subdivision in Grey Street Motueka is nearing completion.
  • Stormwater. Secondary flow paths protected by easements in new subdivisions continue to be blocked by fences/gardens and enforcement may be required to maintain these flow paths. Work is underway to remove a number of willow trees and place rock protection in Reservoir Creek, Richmond. A programme of hazard identification at water utilities sites has commenced, starting with an assessment of stormwater inlets. Staff will be using iAuditor software on site which will ensure that data is entered electronically directly into the system in a consistent manner.
  • Tender Portal. TDC now have our own portal for Tenderlink (www.tenderlink.com/tasman) which is linked to the Council’s website.
  • Waste. Recycling tonnages continue to track above 2015, with year to date tonnages 24% above last year. Resource recovery centres have been busy over summer and total waste volumes are tracking 6% above budget.
  • Roads. March has seen the completion of a 300 metre aggregate overlay and associated drainage work on Korere–Tophouse Road. This has remediated a section of road that suffered severe stress due to the logging activity along this route. The gravel section of Old House Road at the intersection with Central Road has been sealed as a safety improvement. Focus was also put on replacing, extending or installing a number of culverts including at Herring Stream Road, Tadmor-Glenhope Road, Hursthouse Street and the Motueka Valley Highway. Pavement repairs to various roads in Richmond included: Bateup Road roundabout at Wensley Road, Churchill Avenue and Hill Street Rip and Remake.
  • Lighting. The conversion of street lamps to LED is on track for completion by June. Also planning is underway to convert Parks and Reserves lights which will also be completed by late June.
  • Other work. Members of the Richmond’s Men’s Shed have recently completed painting (stain) the seats and gate in Sundial Square. Site Services re-cut a new track in the road reserve extension at the end of Hill street that connects to Hill Street South. Members of the Men’s Shed have also been involved in some of this work with clearing and cutting grass and they will also be constructing a short section of shallow steps.
  • Cycle trail. A funding application has been submitted to MBIE for $223,481 for: Pomona and Marriages Roads off-road trail, Coastal erosion protection (Fittal Street), and estuary boardwalk and signage. The next focus for development will be: Wai-iti Domain to Quail Valley Road via Tunnicliff Forest, Nelson Forests Limited and Ewing Poultry; and South of Spooners Tunnel to Norris Gulley Picnic area.
  • Jackett Island. Jackett Island has experienced two medium storm events since the last inspection on 7 September 2015. There are no reports of any damage to the sandbag wall. The sand bag wall was inspected on 21 March 2016 and is generally in good condition. A further quarterly survey of the sandbag wall and beach profiles was undertaken in March.
  • Rivers. Expenditure for the river maintenance related work year-to-date was $657,000. This is $622,000 or 50% under the even monthly proportional year-to-date expenditure budget.
  • Storms. Total costs to date for road cleanup and reinstatement from the storm event on 17-18 February 2016 is $60,000, which has been funded from existing maintenance budgets. This excludes costs to repair Tasman’s Great Taste Trail.

Projects

Enclosed below are a series of you tube video’s showing the development of a number of engineering projects council have started during my first term on council:

Agenda and minutes

The agenda and minutes are located at www.tasman.govt.nz/council/council-meetings/standing-committees-meetings/engineering-services-committee-meetings/?path=/EDMS/Public/Meetings/EngineeringServicesCommittee/2016/14April2016.

Election results 2016: Greening Elected

Thank you to everyone who gave me their vote of confidence, their time, and support during this election.

In the Tasman electorate there are 36,763 potential voters. However, just under 50% (17,624) actually voted. Again, under a FPP system we have a minority mayor.

Interestingly, Kempthorne’s vote lifted by 600 votes (in 2013 it was 6,149), as did Maling’s vote (in 2013 it was 5,415, a lift of 300). In contrast to the modest lift in voting for Kempthorne and Maling, Clarke’s vote jumped dramatically, lifting by 3,300 (in 2013 it was 1,771). In 2013, the other candidates accounted for 2,959 votes. It would appear these mainly migrated to Clarke.

Preliminary election results

The 2016 election results (successful candidates bolded) were:

Mayoral candidate (one) [Total eligible voters = 36,763]

Candidate Number of Votes
Maxwell Clark 5,101
Richard Kempthorne 6,787
Kit Maling 5,736
Total 17,624

 

Richmond Ward Councillor (4 members) [Total eligible voters = 11,935]

Candidate Number of Votes
Murray Dawson 1,747
Dennis Gibbs 1,152
Mark Greening 2,632
Michael Higgins 2,482
Wayne Mackey 2,108
Kit Maling 3,080
Trevor Tuffnell 3,392
Dana Wensley 3,420
Total votes 6,031

 

Moutere/Waimea Ward Councillor (3 members) [Total eligible voters = 8,656]

Candidate Number of Votes
Andrew Gould 1,441
Tim King 2,667
Dean McNamara 1,986
Richard Osmaston 704
Graeme Stradling 1,835
Anne Turley 2,439
Gary Watson 1,023
Total votes 4,759

 

Motueka Ward Councillor (3 members) [Total eligible voters = 9,694]

Candidate Number of Votes
Peter Canton 2,290
Barry Dowler 2,036
Paul Hawkes 2,074
Martin Lucas 1,427
David Ogilvie 2,395
Total votes 3,986

 

Golden Bay Ward Councillor (2 members) [Total eligible voters = 3,869]

Candidate Number of Votes
Sue Brown 1,075
Richard Cox 225
Brian Ensor 730
Bryony Pearson 662
Paul Sangster 1,063
Reg Turner 313
Total votes 2,225

 

Lakes Murchison [Total eligible voters 2,609]

Candidate Number of Votes
Stuart Bryant elected unopposed
Total votes 1146

 

For me, the election is now over. The time for rolling up sleeves now begins.

Expenses

I can disclose that my election expenses were $30, which I had to pay Grey Power, to participate in the “Meet the Candidates” evening held at Club Waimea on 14 September 2016.

Councillor business cards are normally provided by TDC after being elected. However, I prefer not to use TDC branded business cards, or incur ratepayers the expense of providing me business cards. Thus, during my 3 years on council, I have preferred to purchase my own “councillor” business cards. You may have seen some of these cards during my election campaign. I hope to update these cards (with my new election photo) for my second term on council.

Meetings

The Inaugural Full Council meeting will be held on 20 October 2016 at 11.00 am at the Richmond Council Chambers. The first Full Council meeting will be held on 27 October 2016 at 9.30 am to 4.00 pm at the Richmond Council Chambers. A series of workshops are normally held in the intervening period.

Farewell speech from Cr Higgins

With Michael’s permission, I have reproduced his farewell to councillors and candidates. Michael had hoped to make some closing remarks on the last day of council, but since that opportunity was not provided to him (by the mayor), I thought I would.

I wish to congratulate the successful candidates for the Richmond Ward, Trevor Tufnell, Kit Maling, Dana Wensley and Mark Greening, and wish them well in this term of Council.

Also, congratulations to Mayor Kempthorne for a forth consecutive term … a rare achievement.

I wish to thank the electors of Richmond for the opportunity to represent them on the TDC for six years. While my votes in this election have risen, it was not enough for success. It was a formidable lineup of candidates, any four of whom would serve Richmond well.

I was first elected to local Govt in 1980, and have contested all 13 elections from that time, winning most of them, and serving in local Govt consistently for 36 years. They have all been challenging years, in a period of massive change. Beginning with the Tasman Electric Power Board … becoming Tasman Energy, from 1980-97.

I was elected to represent the Waimea Moutere Ward on the TDC in 1992, serving six years before losing a mayoralty contest by a small margin. I served 1998-2001 as chair of the Wakefield community Council, and was re-elected to the TDC 2001-2007. That year, in order to refresh myself with a change, and to enable a change in Waimea Moutere, I stood for Richmond and topped the poll … a tide of change. The term 2007-10 saw a massive workload that led me to let the election go and in the years 2010-13, I served as a TDC member on the NRSBU and Nelson Airport Ltd Board. After encouragement late in the piece, I was re-elected to Richmond 2013-16. I had intended to retire gracefully but with nearly half the Council retiring, chose to stand and provide continuity for Richmond. However, retiring it is.

I wish to thank Jan and my family for their support and tolerance in all of these years. I also wish to thank my staff and customers who have accommodated my commitments. Growing a business as well as serving on Council is a big ask, but it kept me aware of reality. My principles of allowing costs to lie where they fall, to encourage competitive pricing & to keep Council out of private enterprise did not change. I have nevertheless supported community ownership of key infrastructural assets, and placing them in Company structures.

I appreciate the good working relationship with staff, often working through challenging issues. Involvement in governance has enabled me to grow beyond my expectations, to enjoy challenge to the limit of my ability, and to make a difference in the Tasman district.

Thank you.
Michael Higgins.
(9 October 2016)

References

www.tasman.govt.nz/council/media-centre/public-notices/2016-preliminary-election-results-second-count/