Milestone: 3066 Homes Visited

One of my goals in preparation to become a Tauranga City Councillor is to visit 4000 homes before the election in October.

I set this goal to ensure that I learn what’s on people’s minds, what their ideas are for the city, what their concerns and worries are.

Not only is this knowledge of enormous value to me, I adore meeting new people and hearing their stories.

I’m proud to announce that as of last night I have visited 3066 homes. Continue reading

The 17 Most Interesting Bits Of The Local Government Act 2012

A friend of mine suggested that I should read the Local Government Act 2012, so I did.

This document is 442 pages (although 39 of those pages is a list of repealed Local Acts and Enactments).

It has 12 parts and 22 “Schedules”.

The 12 Parts Of The Local Government Act 2012

  1. Preliminary provisions
  2. Purpose of local government, and role and powers of local authorities
  3. Structure and reorganisation of local government
  4. Governance and management of local authorities and community boards
  5. Council-controlled organisations and council organisations
  6. Planning, decision-making, and accountability
  7. Specific obligations and restrictions on local authorities and other persons
  8. Regulatory, enforcement, and coercive powers of local authorities
  9. Offences, penalties, infringement offences, and legal proceedings
  10. Powers of Minister to act in relation to local authorities
  11. Regulations, other Orders in Council, and rules
  12. Consequential amendments, repeals, revocations, transitional provisions, and savings

Continue reading

Solved: The Mystery Of The Midnight Doorbell

On Wednesday night I came across a shared driveway of 9 houses.

I had a good chat to a husband and wife and then visited their neighbours a few doors down, but found they were out.

As I was leaving that property, the first couple came out to see me again and said excitedly “You’ve just solved a mystery for us!”

“For a few months now our doorbell has been ringing in the middle of the night, which wakes us up, but we find no-one is outside and the sensor light hasn’t even turned on.

“But when you visited our neighbours just now, our doorbell rang at the same time you pushed their button, so they must be on the same signal!”

We had a good laugh about that. 🙂

strange-doorbell

Milestone: 1873 Matua Homes Visited (100%)

I’ve got a little story to tell you about a doorbell, but first, a quick update from me.

You may know by now that when I made up my mind to become a Tauranga City Councillor, I set a goal of visiting 4000 homes before the election in October.

It’s important to me to do this because I’m learning so much about what’s on people’s minds, what their ideas are for the city, what their concerns and worries are. This is valuable knowledge for me, and above all it’s really fun meeting people and hearing their stories.

I’m proud to announce that on Wednesday night I finished visiting EVERY house in Matua: All 1873 of them. Continue reading

My Summary of SmartGrowth 2013

Here is my summary of SmartGrowth 2013 (184 pages. 20Mb .pdf).

What is SmartGrowth?

  • SmartGrowth is the “spatial plan for the western Bay of Plenty sub-region”, what this means is that it looks 50 years into the future and identifies the impact that our growing population will have on our city.
  • Particularly, the stress on infrastructure that will result from an increase in urban density, and what farm land we will need for new suburbs, industrial areas and commerce, and what investment will be required to supply those new suburbs with essential services (water, waste water, storm water and more).

Continue reading

Walkable City: How Downtown Can Save America One Step At A Time – Jeff Speck

walkable-city-jeff-specHere are my notes on the book “Walkable City: How Downtown Can Save America One Step At A Time” by Jeff Speck.

On the surface this book is about urban planning, but really, it’s about marketing the downtown area of the city in which you live.

Don’t let the word “America” put you off. These principals apply to every city in the world.

So how do you make inner-cities more desirable for people? How do you encourage shoppers, visitors, tourists, residents, cyclists? Continue reading

For the Love of Cities by Peter Kageyama

for-the-love-of-citiesHere are my notes on the book “For the Love of Cities” by Peter Kageyama

Chapter One: Why Lovable Cities Matter

“Arts and culture are what make a city fall in love with itself,”

I believe that if you examined who really builds, contributes to and essentially “makes” a city, you would find that those citizens who have an emotional connection with their city make the difference.

The city, as a whole, is made by a relatively small number of “co-creators” who – in their roles as entrepreneurs, activists, artists, performers, students, organizers and otherwise “concerned citizens” – create the experiences that most of us consume. Continue reading

What Do Our Rates Pay For In Tauranga?

Some of the residents I’ve met with share with me how painful it is to pay their rates invoices.

I understand what they’re saying, it’s painful for me too!

Many of them are on fixed incomes and every dollar counts. They may have assets such as their family home, but those funds are locked away for now and their day-to-day cash-flow is low.

It hurts to pay thousands of dollars every year to the council, and sometimes it feels like we get very little in return.

You may have seen this diagram before, but it’s a wonderful visual way of seeing what our rates are spent on. Continue reading

Kerbside Recycling & Kerbside Rubbish Collection, Should They Be User-Pays Or Rate-Payer Funded?

That is the question that Tauranga City Councillors are looking at right now.

It’s a question that all the councils in New Zealand consider every 6 years as per the Waste Minimisation Act 2008.

Right now, it’s Tauranga’s turn.

tauranga-city-waste-problem

 

The current arrangement is:

  • Rubbish collection: User-pays
    • Purchase council issued bags as required
    • Or, pay 6-monthly / annually for wheely-bins from private contractors
  • Recycling collection: User-pays
    • Optional. Your choice of 4 contractors

Councillors are using the 147 page Joint Waste Management and Minimisation Plan (24Mb .pdf) to inform their discussion.

The most interesting parts of this document were: Continue reading

My Summary of the TCC Vegetation Strategy 2006

This is article #16 in my 16 part series summarising Tauranga City Council strategy documents.

Here is my summary of the Tauranga City Council Vegetation Strategy 2006 (70 pages. 5.4Mb .pdf).

“Growing Tauranga Green: Vegetation Management Strategy for Tauranga City”

“Vegetation is an important contribution to the look and feel of the city’s character and identity and the wellbeing of its residents.”

Growing Tauranga Green focuses on: Continue reading