Western Leader : February 22nd 2011
20 WESTERN LEADER, FEBRUARY 22, 2011 NEWS Draft plan on rates increase By FRANK NELSON The first steps have been taken in a long process to determine how deep rate- payers will dig into their pockets this year. An increase under 4.9 percent is sought by Auck- land mayor Len Brown, who has instructed council staff to seek savings and find other ways of meeting that target. Last week, Auckland Council's strategy and fi- nance committee and the full council addressed this year's draft annual plan. It's a blue- print setting out how much money the council will raise and how it will be spent. We need to strike a bal- ance of continued investment in the future of our region, while making sure any rates increase does not put undue pressure on ratepayers,'' Mr Brown says. We have brought together the plans of all the former councils and committed to retaining them while we set our new direction for Auck- land.'' A media release from the meetings said the council inherited a projected rate increase of 8.9 percent from the former councils. This year's process for setting the rates is the first under the reorganised supercity local body struc- ture which has ushered in a system of co-governance between local boards and the Auckland Council. Local boards have their own budgets and works programmes tucked into the draft plan. The plan will be circulated for public comment at the end of this month when copies will be available in libraries and council service centres. It will also be posted at www. aucklandcouncil.govt.nz. In addition, a summary of the draft plan will be delivered to every household. It will contain a feedback form for people to tell the council what they think. Con- sultation closes on April 1. In the first year local boards and the council are constrained in terms of what they can do having inherited certain programmes, budgets and fund allocations from the previous local authorities. This year's draft plan has been particularly challenging as it was the first bringing together of the plans of the previous eight councils and it had to be agreed within 10 weeks rather than the normal five months,'' Mr Brown says. In late April or early May the council will look again at the draft and hear public submissions. Councillors then come up with a final annual plan. That version, containing the rate increase and budget for the year's work programme, will be ratified at the June meeting. GUIDELINES To be included, contact us at least two weeks before your event. Email firstname.lastname@example.org or write to What's On Guide, PO Box 21167, Henderson. This section is for community groups, charities and non- profit organisations providing free or low- cost events. NOTICES Free seminar, February 23, 7pm on speaking with confidence and performing professional presentations. Bookings required. Contact Glen Eden Community House on 818-2194 for further details. Family forum, for whanau to give confidential feedback on local mental health services, February 23, at Massey Community House, 4pm to 7pm. Contact Noelene for information, 486-1491 ext 7548. Working from home, Connecting0604 is a net- working group for business professionals who work from home. Next meeting February 25. Contact Liz 817-5189 or visit www.connecting0604. co.nz. Probus, Ladies Probus Club of Avondale, next meeting February 25, 10am, at Avondale Baptist Church, corner New North and Blockhouse Bay roads. Speaker John Eadie on the history of St John Ambulance organisation. Visitors welcome. Phone 626-5675. Volunteers, for Whau estuary clean-up, February 26. Contact Sandra 021-295-0302 for details. Seminar, on fibromyalgia, February 26, 9.30am- 12.30pm at Kelston Community Centre, free to Arthritis NZ members, $10 for non-members. Phone Sue 835-9653. Speedway, at Rosebank Park, February 27, 1pm. Qualifying starts noon. NZ solo championships, support motorcycles, sidecars and midget cars. Budgeting course, a three- week course on Tuesday evenings, March 1, 8 and 15, at St Michaels Anglican Church, 425 Great North Rd, Henderson from 7.30pm to 9pm. Proven, simple and effective budgeting and money management course run by trained money coaches. For further details and registration phone 834-4540. Scottish country dancing, every Tuesday from March 1 at Kelston Community Centre, corner Great North and Awaroa roads. Beginners 7pm, regular dance 8pm. First four nights are free, thereafter an annual fee of $50. Phone 838-7263. Folk dance group, Wednesdays, 11am-2pm, New Lynn Community Centre, starting March 2. Contact Claire, 817-6472. Cost $3. Fellowship group, Dove Catholic Fellowship for Women, March 1, 7.30pm at St Anne's Catholic Croatian Mission Hall, 3 Cole Place, Te Atatu South. For more infor- mation call Anne Marie 832-1155. Lupus support group, March 2 in room one, New Lynn Community Centre, Totara Ave, 130pm to 3pm. Guest speaker is Liz Jamieson- Hastings, author of the book Still Standing. Come along and bring a friend. Phone Louise on 817-2060. Speaking skills, Waitakere Powertalk. A non-profit group where you can grow your confidence using speaking skills in a safe and fun environment. First and third Wednesday of the month. 730pm, level 2, New Lynn Community Centre. Phone Helen 816-8475. Elevenzees, group for women, every Wednesday, 11am-1pm. A new group for communi- cation, development, friend- ship, Te Atatu Community House. Phone 834-5827. Probus, Ladies Probus Club of Te Atatu meets second Friday of each month, 10am, St Johns Hall, Edmonton Rd. Phone Audrey 834-5115. Free counselling on Fridays, other days are fee-paying days. If you can get to Margan Ave, New Lynn, call Bruce on 027-448-0148. Girl Guiding, Glen Eden, New Lynn, Laingholm, Oratia and Titirangi units are looking for new Pippins, Brownies, Guides and Rangers. Girls get together each week to learn, and develop self- confidence.Visit www.girlguidingnz.org.nz or phone 638-9076. Grandparents raising grandchildren, third Wed- nesday of the month at Oratia Playgroup Hall, 12.30pm. Phone Debbie 818-7828. Volunteer budget advisers, help others and learn a new skill. Henderson budget service needs volunteers to work with local families. Training starts in March. Phone 836-4141 and leave a message or email gwen@ budgeting.org.nz. Ex-pupils, Rosebank School in Avondale is to celebrate its 50th jubilee. Register to receive information about events for the weekend of November 11 and 12. Email email@example.com or visit the school office or go to www. rosebank.school.nz. Laughter yoga, weekly sessions of gentle exercise and breathing. Tuesday afternoons, 1.30pm at Massey Leisure Centre. Gold coin donation. Contact Louise 444-7247. Volunteers wanted, to visit people who have had a stroke for one hour a week to help them practice and gain confidence in communicating again. Training available in March. Volunteers especially needed in Titirangi, Glen Eden, Henderson and Ranui. Phone Volunteer Stroke Scheme, 441-8959. Heather calls it a day after 40 years Fond farewell: Heather Neal is retiring from her position in Waterview Primary School's office after 23 years. Photo: CATHERINE HEALY By CATHERINE HEALY Heather Neal is not your ordinary school office lady. For 23 years she has dealt with everything from deliveries to sports teams and blood noses. Now she is clearing her desk at Waterview Pri- mary School and train- ing her replacement in preparation for her fare- well tomorrow. It's a job of inter- ruptions -- you've got to be adaptable,'' she says. Mrs Neal started at Waterview in 1988, just as the Tomorrow's Schools policy was coming in. It was quite a big change, We had to learn to use a computer and do all the accounts.'' Before working at Waterview, Mrs Neal ran the office at Tirimoana Primary School in Te Atatu South for 17 years. Having given 40 years of service to students and teachers, she's a well-known face in west Auckland. I knew whole families at Tirimoana. People comeuptomeinthe mall and give me big hugs and tell me what they're up to now.'' Waterview principal Brett Skeen says Mrs Neal will be sorely missed because she is a bit of a mother figure. I guess that's true,'' she says. I'll growl at the kids if they're being disrespectful but then they'll come and give me a hug a few minutes later.'' Now in her 75th year, Mrs Neal is looking for- ward to getting some reading done in her retirement. I'll miss the social aspect and all the people here. Brett did his teacher training with my daughter. We have some great discussions.'' A keen sportswoman in her younger days, Mrs Neal has coached various sports teams for Tiri- moana and Waterview over the years including gym and netball. She was also the staff rep- resentative on the board of trustees for the dur- ation of her 23 years at Waterview. Raise the drinking age -- report Family First New Zea- land has launched the research report Young People and Alcohol. It will form part of the organisation's sub- mission on the Alcohol Reform Bill. National director Bob McCoskrie says it shows the country would ben- efit from a single legal drinking age of 21. He says new medical evidence links delaying the age of young people having easy access to alcohol to reduced harm to their health and well- being. This report provides compelling evidence that the politicians should immediately increase the drinking age to 21 in the best interests of our young people and society,'' he says. It is time for pol- iticians, parents and communities to stand together and present a united position on the drinking age based on this new generation of medical evidence.'' The report was pre- pared by UK psychol- ogist Dr Aric Sigman. Report findings in- clude: Evidence shows a range of new-found effects of alcohol on young people While children legally become adult at the age of 18, a child's brain doesn't reach physical and functional adulthood until almost 25. Visit www.familytrust. org.nz for more on the report. Proposed changes include: Minimum age for purchase of alcohol -- 18inbarsand20in supermarkets and liquor stores Local authorities to have more say on outlets Limit sale of alcohol to grocery stores of more than 1000 square metres Limit the alcohol content in ready-to- drink products Make irresponsible promotion an offence Give parents more ways to manage their children's access to alcohol and place other restrictions on supply of liquor to minors Extend the kinds of public places where drinking is banned. Visit www.legislation. govt.nz for more information.
February 18th 2011
February 24th 2011