Formerly New Zealand's High Commissioner to the Cook Islands and MP for the Northland Electorate of New Zealand.


Moving forward together

20 February 2020

Positive news for Kaitaia

I was very pleased to see Kaitaia residents had achieved significant water savings of 11.25 per cent last week. This shows the community understands the seriousness of the current drought and how this is impacting our water sources. Thank you Kaitaia for working hard to conserve this precious resource, and according to our latest figures, we are on track to equal or surpass those savings again this week.

I also have good news to share. Last week, the Council signed an agreement to take water from an aquifer bore that will allow us to remove bulk water carriers from the town supply during this drought. Bulk water carriers provide a vital service to our rural and remote residents who rely on rain water tanks for all their domestic water needs. This drought has seen many tanks run dry and for most of these residents, the Council's treated water supplies are the only alternative source. Demand has risen dramatically. In January we provided 1,444 cubic metres of water to bulk water carriers compared to just 80 cubic metres in September. Currently, bulk water carriers account for around 7 per cent of the treated water we produce for Kaitaia.

The bore we have accessed is about 8km west of Awanui and contractors have started building a pipeline to a roadside access point. To get this supply up and running as quickly as possible, the Council is borrowing a portable water treatment plant from Watercare in Auckland. This will ensure the water we supply meets all applicable health standards. We aim to supply water from the bore in about three weeks relieving pressure on Kaitaia's primary water source, the Awanui River.

This is just the beginning of efforts to find supplementary supplies for Kaitaia. We are talking to the owner of another bore that has the potential to be a second supply for Kaitaia. Despite these efforts, flows in the Awanui River continue to drop and this waterway is now at record low levels. We partially dammed the river last week to ensure there is enough water at the treatment plant intake pipe so we can continue an uninterrupted supply of water.

This week we applied our highest water restrictions to Paihia-Opua-Waitangi and Kawakawa-Moerewa. These communities are now on Level 4 water restrictions, limiting water use to drinking, cooking and washing only. To have four water supplies operating under Level 4 restrictions demonstrates just how serious this drought is. The last 12-month period has been one of the driest on record and, according Civil Defence, many Northland rivers are at their lowest flows in 50 years.
We have had success in finding short-term and long-term supplementary water supplies, but the best way to avoid serious interruptions to your water supply is to conserve the water we already have. We need to achieve 25 per cent reductions across the district and we all need to play our part.

Concert at the Station - Sunday 1st March - 1.30pm for a 2pm start

Good day all and - yes - it's me again. I just can't keep quiet on the fantastic opportunity there is for the community to be part of the audience at this year's Concert At The Station!

What a line-up we have for you! The energy and discipline of the Bay of Islands College kapa haka group, the magnificent harmony of the Bella a Capella singers, the extraordinary talent of the young man in the Te Whanau group which will be a big surprise for you, the terrific musical power of the Kerikeri Ukelele Group, the wonderful voice of Carleen Still, the nostalgic and haunting string music talent from the Martin Family capped off with the powerful Country-style singing and playing from Jack Tane - no, not the announcer on TV.

But don't just believe me - you have to come and hear for yourselves. And in doing so you will provide tangible support to the Bay Of Islands Vintage Railway which is a taonga for the region, and which desperately needs your support at this time.

Doors open at 1.30pm, the Concert starts at 2.00pm. Oh, and you need to bring your own chairs if possible.



My Columns
Media Reports
Photo Gallery
Press Releases