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Deferral of $25m on hold

Last updated 05:00 15/01/2013

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Whangarei Leader

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A decision to defer $25 million of district council spending during the current financial year will have to wait another month.

The spending on roading, water, waste and community services along with parks, libraries and support services will be done in 2013-14 assuming property sales go ahead as expected and that no unforeseen financial surprises occur in the meantime.

But discussions over deferring a capital grant of $1m for Northland Hockey to build a third turf proved too complicated in the last full meeting of 2012, with councillors deciding to let the entire deferral issue "lie on the table".

Councillor Merv Williams asked for council to include a guarantee to Northland Hockey that the grant would be in the 2013-14 financial year. The commitment would help Northland Hockey secure bridging finance, he said.

But other councillors were unhappy with the timing of the request and saying other groups affected in the carry forward list were equally deserving.

"What of the other projects deferred - roads, waste, water. We have to live within our means," councillor Sue Glen said.

Meanwhile young advisers are starting to share their thoughts and experiences with the council.

The council's youth advisory group is making solid progress since it was set up early last year to inform and advise on youth matters, according to a report at the same meeting.

Brad Olsen and Andrew Simpkin made a presentation to councillors about the group's activities to date which included regular meetings, surveys and a successful Facebook page.

They expect to give council input early this year on some of its key projects like the Hundertwasser Arts Centre and future of the car park area at the Town Basin.

The aim of the youth advisory group is for the council to have better youth engagement, as well as young people learning more about how local government works.

The council already has two advisory groups, one for people with disabilities and the other for older people called positive ageing.

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- Whangarei Leader

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