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Earthquake regulations review to benefit Central
Earthquake regulations review to benefit Central

20 April 2024, 5:15 PM

The Government is giving owners of earthquake prone buildings four extra years to do any required strengthening work.That extension, along with a review into the regulations, was announced earlier this week, which has been welcomed by Local Government New Zealand (LGNZ).Among those who support the move is Central Otago Mayor Tim Cadogan, who is on the LGNZ Zone 6 committee.“I think the most important part is the pause to allow a full review,” he said.“Many of our community halls are used very infrequently and I wonder if the answer lies not in spending huge amounts of money on strengthening such buildings, the reality of which may be unaffordability causing demolition, but in individual responsibility.”He said if a building was clearly shown to be earthquake prone, people could potentially make their own assessment as to whether they chose to hire it or enter it, something he described as a “more practical and mature approach”, instead of putting our heritage at risk.LGNZ advocated for the decision the Government came to this week as part of a remit led by Manawatū District Council.Building and Construction Minister Chris Penk made the announcement on Thursday, including the fact work on the review would start immediately.“Our Government is focused on rebuilding the economy. A key part of our plan is to cut red tape that gets in the way of doing business and getting things done.”He said without change, a significant number of buildings could sit empty, which would have a devastating impact on the economy in cities such as Wellington and provincial towns across New Zealand.“While there is already a review scheduled for 2027, the Government has decided to bring this forward to provide greater certainty and this work will begin immediately.”He said terms of reference will be agreed on next month.“The review will be extensive and consider the appropriate risk settings to protect safety while ensuring the rules are workable to support businesses, increase economic activity and create jobs.”The review will also look at the way overseas jurisdictions manage earthquake risk.

What is legal aid? (sponsored)
What is legal aid? (sponsored)

20 April 2024, 5:00 PM

Legal Aid, provided by the Ministry of Justice, offers government funded legal representation to those who meet the applicable financial thresholds and circumstances. Despite common misconceptions, Legal Aid is not free, rather it is considered a loan; those in receipt of Legal Aid may need to repay some or all of the fees under their grant of Legal Aid. In some situations, if you own a home, you may have to authorise a charge over your home as security for your Legal Aid, any debt owing under your grant of Legal Aid would likely need to be repaid upon the sale of that home.Legal Aid is available for an array of areas of law, including but not limited to, Civil Law, Criminal Law, Employment Law, and Family Law. Firms who offer Legal Aid may do so in one or more of these areas of law. Usually with Criminal Law, where you are facing a charge or charges carrying a maximum penalty of less than 10 years imprisonment, you would be assigned a lawyer upon the approval of your Application for Criminal Legal Aid, whereas with Family Law, you can approach a lawyer who provides Family Law Legal Aid and ask for them to be assigned on your matter(s).Legal Aid is a great resource that allows you to get the legal advice and representation you may require, whilst taking into account your financial and personal circumstances. At Checketts McKay Law we offer Legal Aid for Criminal and Family Law, so it always pays to ask whether you would qualify for Legal Aid, so we can best assist you. 

Properties for Sale @ Tall Poppy Real Estate (sponsored)
Properties for Sale @ Tall Poppy Real Estate (sponsored)

20 April 2024, 3:15 PM

Family approved!9 Kohinoor Lane, CromwellEnquiries over $1,035,000Nestled in the coveted Prospectors Park, in Central Cromwell - an easy walking distance from Lake Dunstan, Heritage Precinct, Golf Course, Shops and more. Our latest listing will excite families looking for a home with space, flexibility and all the mod cons in a central location. Click here for more information or to contact the agent Keeley Anderson and Siobhan Ramage.Discover Cromwell Living Today!7 Electric Place, CromwellDeadline SaleStep into luxury through an enticing entrance to your newly expanded garage, perfect for all your vehicles and storage needs. Fully fenced for peace of mind, your furry friends can roam freely in the lush, landscaped yard, kept vibrant and green with efficient irrigation. Click here for more information or to contact the agent Kate Andrew.Contemporary Home With Ample Space!30 Ethereal Crescent, Mount PisaDeadline SaleStep into a modern contemporary masterpiece offering fabulous views and an expansive living experience. This remarkable home, built approximately in 2018, is perfectly situated close to the serene lake and scenic Dunstan trail, in Pisa Moorings, just 15 minutes from Cromwell and approximately 50 minutes from Wanaka and Queenstown. ensuring both convenience and tranquility. Click here for more information or to contact the agent Kate Andrew.Good Starter Or Holiday Home7 Old Bridge Road, AlexandraDeadline SaleA family home nestled in a peaceful neighborhood. This property offers a comfortable and convenient lifestyle, with easy access to the river and cycle trail. Click here for more information or to contact the agent Stacey Waldron and Rebecca Ireland.Classic Appeal In Prime Location10 Mayfair Grove, AlexandraEnquiries Over $850,000Welcome to 10 Mayfair Grove, Alexandra, where modern comfort meets classic charm. This beautifully crafted home is a true gem nestled in a private setting, perfect for those seeking a balance of peacefulness and convenience. Click here for more information or to contact the agent Stacey Waldron and Rebecca Ireland.Downsize Into Prime Location14 Schaumann Street, AlexandraEnquiries Over $715,000Discover the perfect blend of comfort and convenience at 14 Schaumann Street. This inviting home boasts two spacious double bedrooms, plus a versatile single bedroom or office space - ideal for modern living. Click here for more information or to contact the agent Peter Hishon.Cromwell Lifestyle Opportunity94 Pearson Road, CromwellDeadline SaleWelcome to 94 Pearson Road. Ideal for those seeking an orchard lifestyle with income potential, as well as homeowners yearning for a harmonious blend of comfort, sustainability, and breathtaking natural surroundings. Click here for more information or to contact the agent Kate Andrew.Modern Living At Its Finest!30a Monaghan Street, CromwellEnquiries Over $890,000Setting the standard for chic, modern living, this contemporary low maintenance home will impress and inspire. Located in sought after Old Cromwell and surrounded by mountain views. Its conveniently across the street from popular Cromwell Primary and an easy walk to the Heritage Precinct, Lake Dunstan - ideal for first-home buyers, investors and more. Click here for more information or to contact the agent Keeley Anderson and Dimple Tuteja.A Spectacular Luxury Pisa Home!39 Missy Crescent, Mount PisaEnquiries Over $1,525,000Behind the private high fence is a spectacularly luxurious family home located in affluent and desirable Pisa Moorings, one of the most admired and sought-after areas in the region, nestled on the edge of Lake Dunstan - a short drive from Cromwell, Queenstown, and Wanaka. Click here for more information or to contact the agent Keeley Anderson and Siobhan Ramage.Families Get Excited!69 Wallis Drive, CromwellEnquiries Over $1,265,000Families looking to upsize or relocate to Central will get excited with our latest listing in popular Prospectors Park. A short walk to Lake Dunstan, the Cromwell Golf Course, Schools, supermarket, and more - this four-bedroom modern and substantial home will exceed expectations. Click here for more information or to contact the agent Keeley Anderson and Siobhan Ramage.A Step Onto The Property Ladder!2 Gavan Street, CromwellEnquiries Over $650,000Welcome to this charming and versatile 1960's gem with LIM available, offering something for everyone - whether you're a first-time buyer, investor, or holiday maker. Click here for more information or to contact the agent Kate Andrew.Rural Oasis: The Station Retreat In Omakau11 Half Time Close, OmakauEnquiries Over $1,000,000Escape to your own rural oasis at "The Station" retreat in Omakau. This exceptional property offers a perfect blend of rustic charm and modern luxury, providing a sanctuary for relaxation and leisure. Click here for more information or to contact the agent Peter Hishon.OPEN HOMESOpen HomesNOW SOLD

Excitement building for 2024 Alexandra Blossom Festival
Excitement building for 2024 Alexandra Blossom Festival

19 April 2024, 5:45 PM

Plans are well underway for this year’s Alexandra Blossom Festival, after its annual general meeting (AGM) last week.Festival manager Martin McPherson said they have had an outstanding response already from vendors securing market sites, with 50 per cent of all food and beverage sites already sold.“The biggest fear is that people will miss out,” he said.Committee chair Sharleen Stirling-Lindsay welcomed and thanked returning committee members Rachael Lovering, Michelle Davies, Ian Gare, secretary Cathy Marsh, treasurer Tim Coughlan and Vincent Community Board representative Tony Hammington at the AGM.The 2023 Blossom Festival on September 22 followed one of the most successful blossom festivals on record in 2022, which was the 65th anniversary event.The committee was conscious of the fact 2023 attendance numbers would likely be down on the previous year given the significance of the 65th festival.  In a press release, the committee said as such, the budget was set assuming a more normalised level of attendance would be achieved in 2023.  This ensured entertainer/supplier costs were maintained at a sensible level to avoid the risk of any material cash deficits being incurred. The festival returned a surplus of $5360 for 2023 compared to $5867 in 2022. Last year’s Friday night Mardi Gras had to be cancelled last minute due to the weather in the run up to the event.  As such, early bird ticket sales were down on previous years. On a positive note, the weather came right on the day for Saturday in the Park, which resulted in strong on-the-day-sales and attendances at the event.While we estimate parade and attendance numbers to be 15 per cent down on the 2022 event, this was broadly in line with the committee’s forecast expectations, and given the poor weather in the run up to the event - and the fact Friday night’s events were cancelled -  the committee was extremely happy with the outcome of the event in the end, the press release noted.Treasurer Tim Coughlan said the impact the weather nearly played on the main Saturday in the Park event further reaffirmed how important its key sponsors were to the event, “and how important it is for the committee to have sufficient cash reserves set aside to deal with any unforeseen issues/cancellations.”Sharleen acknowledged the passing of Karen Peterson - the festival’s original Blossom Queen, “many of you would have had the privilege of meeting Karen when she returned to share her Blossom Festival stories with us in 2022, her passion and love for this festival and understanding of the positive impact it had and continues to have on our community was evident.  If you haven’t checked out her interview as she takes us down memory lane, I encourage you too, the float on fire story is a must hear,’’ she said. 

Engineer chipping away at new fruit wood by-product
Engineer chipping away at new fruit wood by-product

19 April 2024, 5:30 PM

A Central Otago engineer has found a niche market producing barbecue wood pellets, using waste cherry wood from orchards.New Zealand has been producing biomass wood pellets for years as a by-product of the timber and forestry industries, but these are just used to heat homes and fuel industrial kilns.Jacob Freeman discovered there was a huge gap in the market for locally manufactured barbecue wood pellets, and will be one of the first in New Zealand to produce them.3 Kings Cherries Orchard manager Tim Paulin offered Jacob some space to help progress his ‘Southern Smoke’ business, and supply him the cherry wood. While the project is small, Tim said he was happy to work alongside Jacob. “The business shows potential and hopefully this will benefit both parties in the future.”In September 2023 Jacob ordered the chipper, hammer mill and pellet mill from China - personally funding the $25,000-$30,000, and has been experimenting with the cherry wood to make the perfect pellet.“I saw I could make a viable business and decided to take the plunge.”The machinery is capable of producing 300kg of pellets an hour - the great thing is, you can also use barbecue pellets in home fires, opening up the New Zealand market even further.Jacob Freeman (left) and 3 Kings Orchardist Tim Paulin with the chipper and hammer mill imported from China to make a new wood fruit by-product. PHOTO: The Central AppCherry wood is unique in enhancing the natural wood smoke flavour produced by the pellet barbecue, but many other fruit woods, along with natives such as manuka, red beech and rata were also popular.“I need a bit of diversity, so apricot and apple trees work well too, and I plan to mix some manuka in there as well at some stage.”Naturally, in a new business, there have been setbacks along the way - no instruction manual from China made life interesting, and despite the communication barrier with the overseas machinery company, Jacob was determined to push through the initial teething issues. “Cherry wood is quite hard, and I figured out it wasn’t being compressed enough by the current die that I was using. Compression is what generates the heat that forms the pellets by ‘melting’ the natural lignins in the wood.”The moisture content of the wood chip was also important - too high and the pellet ends up like a piece of popcorn, too low and they crumble.He’ll keep chipping away at his project until the perfect barbecue pellet is perfected, and then all going to plan, will launch his product on the market in the next few months.As well as the opportunity from 3 Kings, and being able to use abundant waste fruit wood onsite, Jacob also collaborated with a Cromwell developer turning an orchard into residential development, by harvesting 300 - 400 cherry trees that would’ve otherwise been sent to landfill.

Central dancers perform at Wānaka event
Central dancers perform at Wānaka event

19 April 2024, 5:15 PM

Young dancers from Central and across the South Island came together last weekend for a four-day dance competition at the Lake Wānaka Centre. The inaugural ‘Tititea Performing Arts Competition’ included more than 110 dancers and 550 items, in what organisers described as “a celebration of dance”.The competition was organised by the Tititea Performing Arts Trust (TPAT), formed recently by four local women; Maxine Frazer, Leigh Cohen, Maria Hearle and Gillian White. TPAT wanted to organise an annual event to foster a welcoming, supportive and enjoyable culture for performers from all backgrounds, geographical areas and abilities. Founding trustee Maxine Frazer said the event set out to promote wellbeing and learning for young dancers. “Competitors were given detailed feedback, support, guidance and even impromptu mini workshops from our highly experienced adjudicator. This included technical guidance on dancing safely, advice on looking after your body, tips to reduce pre-performance nerves and encouragement to focus on finding joy in dance.“We were delighted to see dancers from across the South Island supporting and encouraging each other right throughout the competition.”Achievements were recognised across all age groups and categories, with the youngest dancer five years old.Young ballet performers wait backstage. PHOTO: Supplied Dancers from Central were Lucy Anderson (Alexandra), Madelyn McCallum (Clyde), Riley Cochrane (Tarras), Sophie Hunter (Cromwell), Sophie O’Dwyer (Bannockburn) and Violet Lindsay (Cromwell). Third place in the little champions category was Clyde’s Madelyn McCallum (pictured in the centre). PHOTO: SuppliedAlexandra’s Lucy Anderson on stage. PHOTO: Supplied Categories included ballet, contemporary, hip hop, jazz and self choreography. There were solo performances, along with duos and groups dancing together. Professional adjudicator Sarah Knox said that the standard of dancing had been high, and judging the final category, modern championships, was tricky. She said there was a superb atmosphere of collaboration, inclusiveness and support at the competition.Organisers were supported over the weekend by a large team of local volunteers and the backing of local sponsors.“It has been wonderful to see dance parents, enthusiasts, supporters and local businesses come together to help bring the event to life. We simply couldn’t have delivered this event without their generosity,” Maxine said.

Kiwi curlers in Sweden for world mixed pairs and senior teams
Kiwi curlers in Sweden for world mixed pairs and senior teams

18 April 2024, 5:45 PM

New Zealand’s mixed curling pair from Naseby Anton Hood and Courtney Smith will be testing their skills against the world’s best in the World Mixed Doubles Curling Championships (WMDCC) in Sweden from tomorrow, April 20.The tournament also includes the World Seniors Championships where New Zealand has both men's and women's teams participating.Courtney and Anton, known as Team Smith Hood, played in this event in 2021 and finished 12th. They qualified for this year’s WMDCC at a qualification event held in December last year in Dumfries, Scotland.A nail-biting last game against Finland that went to the last stone, meant they secured two of their final three playoff games to gain entry to WMDCC.Pictured are (from left) Anton Hood, coach David Ramsay and Courtney Smith. PHOTO: Supplied The 20 WMDCC teams are divided into two groups, and there will be 18 sessions of round robin play followed by semifinals and finals.New Zealand is in group B with Australia, Canada, China, the Czech Republic, Korea, Netherlands, Scotland, Sweden and the United States. The pair face Canada, Netherlands, the Czech Republic and Sweden during the first few days of the tournament. View their schedule here.The first WMDCC was held in 2008, at Vierumaki in Finland.The seniors’ competition will see 25 men’s teams and 18 women’s teams competing for medals and the world title. The event is open entry and players must be aged 50 or over on July 1, 2023. The New Zealand senior teams are women: Joanna Olszewski, Elizabeth Matthews, Sandra Thomas, Merran Anderson, Pauline Farra and coach Dean Fotti and the men are: Peter Becker, Richard Morgan, Nelson Ede, Murray Pitts, David Greer, and coach John Sanders. View the senior men’s schedule here.View the senior women’s schedule here.The Kiwi women are in group C with Australia, Denmark, England, Scotland and the United States. The men are in group B with Germany, Ireland, Nigeria, Poland and Scotland.The tournaments are held in Oestersund, located in Jamtland, in the middle of Sweden. The city is home to over 50,000 people and is the region’s cultural and economic centre.Oestersund has hosted several world curling events including the World Junior Curling Championships in 1999, 2008 and 2012, the World Junior-B Championships in 2017, the World Mixed Doubles Championship and World Senior Championships in 2018 and most recently, the Le Gruyère AOP European Curling Championships 2022.The 2024 World Curling Championship season has marked a milestone for New Zealand teams. For the first time, the women's, men's and mixed doubles sides will all compete, and be able to earn 2026 Olympic qualification points.Anton is also the skip of the NZ men’s team, who failed to win a match at the World Curling Championships (WCC) in Switzerland earlier this month. It is the second consecutive WCC for the side. In 2022 they finished at the tail of the competition in 13th place,"We had higher expectations of ourselves . . . we have lots of learning and more opportunities to grow as a team. This highlights the work we must do to compete at this level consistently. It showed what we can achieve when we do play well and put ends together.”NZ men’s curling team and coaches, pictured are (from left) coach Carolyn McRorie, coach and reserved player Peter de Boer, Hunter Walker, Brett Sargon, Ben Smith and Anton Hood. Absent is coach Warren Dobson. PHOTO: seixeiro photographyDespite finishing 13th again, the NZ men have earned an Olympic qualification point, and although the chance of earning direct entry to Torino 2026 is low, like the NZ women they will have a pathway to the games via other qualification events.Follow Team Smith Hood on Facebook to keep up with their progressRead more: Men’s curlers leave retirement residence, World Champs nextRead more: Curlers into worlds, gain international media attention Read more: Top curlers extend winter for competition, training

Public transport may be trialled in Central Otago
Public transport may be trialled in Central Otago

18 April 2024, 5:30 PM

Central Otago residents had the opportunity this week to talk with Otago regional councillors about the proposed rates increases and what that money would likely be spent on.Drop-in sessions were held in Alexandra, Wanaka and Queenstown, where estimates projected an average Central Otago home worth $700,000 would increase $72/year to $322 in 2024-25.The ORC also outlined its plans to potentially trial public transport using regional bus trails in several towns including Alexandra, Clyde and Cromwell. The Long-Term Plan (LTP) provides the public the opportunity to provide feedback on their willingness to support a public transport investment. Subject to the response council gets, ORC will then work with and seek feedback from the local council and communities on the design of the services. Design considerations will include the route, the location of stops, frequency of services and running times over the day/week. ORC also estimates $315 million needs to be spent on flood and drainage protection over the next 30 years; including $67 million during the first 10-years of the LTP. Areas proposed to receive this investment include Alexandra, the Leith (North Dunedin), lower, east and west Taieri, Tokomairiro, lower Clutha and lower Waitaki River areas. For many areas, there will be changes to flood protection, drainage, and river management rates, which will see the current targeted rates decline by more than $500 across around 2100 properties in most flood and drainage-defined areas.But, the general rate rise moves up between 10 per cent to -20% in the areas impacted; Alexandra, Leith, lower Clutha, lower, rast and eest Taieri and Tokomairiro. ORC proposes to implement a new region-wide (general) rate of 20% of the amount required for flood protection and 10% for all drainage schemes. Proposed targeted rates for river management will see decreases in Dunedin (-33.9%), Whakatipu (-28.2%) and Wanaka (-19.2%) but Central Otago, with large waterways, would increase 40.2% and Waitaki will go up 57.5%. The proposed average rates impact for households would see possible increases of 18.6% for 2024-25, 11.2% for 2025-26 and 9.4% for 2026-27.ORC’s chair Gretchen Robertson acknowledges ratepayers have a strong interest in the types of services we undertake and what is affordable.  “There are options up for discussion and we’re urging people in the community to make submissions now as the work programmes being discussed will have effects on them for the next 10 years ahead,” she said.Submissions, either online or by post, can be made until April 28.“With 10 rating changes being proposed that will likely affect some component of rating in your area, we need to know now whether you agree or disagree with these proposals,” Cr Robertson says. Central Otago will also have its own targeted rate for river management, such as willow removal and river maintenance, resulting in an increase of 40% in the amount collected from Central Otago for this activity. There will also be a new air pollution strategy. 

Teachers worry about curriculum, NCEA changes amid staff cuts
Teachers worry about curriculum, NCEA changes amid staff cuts

18 April 2024, 5:15 PM

Teachers are concerned about the roll-out of curriculum and NCEA changes amid drastic staff cuts at the Ministry of Education.The Ministry of Education on Wednesday announced a proposal to cut 565 jobs, including nearly 90 regional and front-line roles directly supporting schools. RNZ understands 225 roles of the jobs are vacant.Post-Primary Teachers' Association president Chris Abercrombie told Morning Report the cuts were "absolutely" going to affect teachers and principals."No principals or teachers will lose their jobs in these cuts, that's really clear, but the work that they do is supported by the curriculum centre, by the regional offices, by those positions."Post-Primary Teachers' Association president Chris Abercrombie. Photo: RNZ / Angus DreaverThe Government plans to make changes to the English, maths and science curriculum and the NCEA level two and three refreshes were yet to be rolled out.Abercrombie said he was "really worried" about the ramifications of the cuts on those."Any changes like that . . . is going to need a workforce to do it."It's either going to be pushed back onto teachers, or contractors are going to be brought in, or the work is just not going to get done, or it's going to get done poorly."He also questioned cuts to jobs in regional offices, saying they were front-line roles that schools dealt with daily."These aren't some bureaucrats at the headquarters in Wellington, they're in offices in Invercargill, in Napier and New Plymouth, that's who these people are, and they're the ones who schools deal with every single day."Education Minister Erica Stanford was adamant the job loses at the ministry were part of a deliberate shift to move resources to the front-line.Among the cuts were those involved in the NCEA changes which been delayed pending a review, she told Morning Report."For the most part, the Curriculum Centre proposed changes are around the NCEA change programme . . . there are a few in the curriculum area."What I'm not going to do is hold on to resource that we could be directing to the front-line for a year or more that we don't need while we are reorganising."Education Minister Erica Stanford. Photo: RNZ / Angus DreaverDespite more than 200 jobs going at the curriculum centre, Stanford said there would actually be new jobs created in the regions to help teachers with the curriculum changes.She couldn't say when they would be created.

Cromwell MenzShed closer to fulfilling dream of new facility
Cromwell MenzShed closer to fulfilling dream of new facility

17 April 2024, 5:30 PM

The Cromwell MenzShed was once housed in a dilapidated shed, but members are one step closer to their new purpose-built 300sqm facility on Bannockburn Rd.Recently securing $120,000 from the Otago Community Trust, combined with $200,000 from Central Lakes Trust in 2023, the group of almost 60 members also managed to raise $70,000 - $80,000 from the paid work it does in the community.But, they are still $400,000 short and the current site is “completely maxed out” and almost a health and safety issue, trustee and funding co-ordinator Russ Fowler said.It currently operated out of two 40-foot containers and rotated the morning tea breaks to fit everyone inside.The new shed will allow the organisation to expand its membership and increase the number of community projects its members can take on, from building wheelchair ramps to constructing mud kitchens for schools.The new building will have a meeting room, which could be hired by other groups, toilets and an office as well as a large workshop.“The MenzShed is integral to the community network . . . it creates an environment where topics such as personal wellbeing, and other men's health issues, can be safely discussed either one on one or as an organised group session,” he said.Cromwell Foodbank has a set of new shelves, carefully crafted by members of the Cromwell Menz Shed. PHOTO: SuppliedMade up of mostly retired tradesmen, along with others looking to learn new skills, the reason for the ever-growing membership was due to a lot of people retiring to Cromwell and needing an escape from ‘underfoot syndrome,’ Russ said. “Even though there is a lot of work going on in Cromwell, these people have done their time and want to give back to the community,” he said.Bigger and more ambitious projects are on the horizon - “they are all about looking for the next community project, and that’s what they get out of bed for every morning.”The ambitious $900,000 project has already been designed and signed off, and the group was working with the Central Otago District Council on the requirements for the consent.Then there will be more funding to apply for, projects to keep on with - helping both the community and individuals in need, and making a little bit more income for itself.

Teamwork on Cromwell Primary’s ecological building project
Teamwork on Cromwell Primary’s ecological building project

16 April 2024, 5:45 PM

Tamariki at Cromwell Primary School (CPS) have been working as a team from the ground up displaying school values as part of an enviroschools project.The ecological building project is a cob wall made of mud and it has taken two terms to construct.It has been led by CPS student enviro-warriors group with the support of Enviroschools facilitator Lucy Francke and CPS year five and six teacher Barbara Caughey. Barbara said the wall was nearly at completion and the next stage would be to investigate how mosaic tile designs could be incorporated. “Park Güell in Barcelona was the inspiration [originally] . . . if anyone in the community has expertise in mosaic tiling, I’d love to hear from them. [The plan] is next term to do an art unit on mosaics.”Students working on the wall are (from left) Phoebe Lucas, Kelsey Speight, Paisley Salmon, Ariadne McDonald. PHOTO: Supplied Barbara said that in term four of 2023 all of the children were rostered on to take a turn contributing to the wall.“It’s become a whole school project . . . it’s been a wonderful activity for those who are more creative.”CPS’s cob wall nearly completed. PHOTO: SuppliedSome students have contributed in their own time and she said getting their hands dirty and stomping in the mud, sand and water has “become their happy place.”Benefits to tamariki have been improving teamwork skills, mental and physical wellbeing, tuakana teina (older children helping the younger ones), and embedding the school values of respect (whakaute), honesty (pononga), excellence (rawe) and contribution (hoatutanga). “It’s also been a learning process, [following] the mud recipe and getting the correct consistency. There’s been problem solving too as the irrigation came on and washed some mud away.”For more information email Barbara at [email protected] 

Desexing cats made easier in Central with SPCA campaign
Desexing cats made easier in Central with SPCA campaign

16 April 2024, 5:30 PM

SPCA has launched a new Snip ‘n Chip campaign for cat owners in Central and some other South Island areas.From April 10 until June 30, 2024 SPCA is working with local participating veterinary clinics to offer a heavily discounted service to cat owners who are struggling with the cost of desexing and microchipping.Vouchers help those in need get their cat desexed and microchipped for $30. There are a limited number of vouchers available and it is dependent on participating vet clinic capacity.SPCA’s National Desexing Programme Manager Rebecca Dobson said the overpopulation issue is widespread.“SPCA is just one of the organisations that struggle with the sheer volume of animals coming into our care. Animal shelters around the country are constantly battling to create space for thousands of animals that need our help every year,” Rebecca said.“By making desexing more accessible to pet owners who may be struggling, we hope to bring down these numbers substantially, so we’re very pleased to be able to offer these vouchers.”Over 10,000 Snip ‘n’ Chip vouchers will be provided over 2024, with more locations being added as they become available. In August 2022 SPCA began a two year campaign to combat the overpopulation of companion animals in New Zealand. Aiming to desex more than 30,000 animals over the two-year period, the charity estimates that this will ultimately result in preventing more than 100,000 unwanted animals being born.Microchipping, included in the voucher, is a great way for owners to be reunited with their lost pets. Bookings need to be made online For information on desexing, see SPCA’s FAQ section.

NZ shearer breaks merino solo record in Western Australia
NZ shearer breaks merino solo record in Western Australia

16 April 2024, 5:15 PM

An Australia-based shearer from small Central Otago horticultural township Ettrick has become the first person to shear 500 merino ewes in an eight-hour solo record attempt.Luke Vernon, 28, has surpassed the previous record by just three ewes, bearing out Hawke's Bay shearer Lou Brown's record of 497 ewes over the 480 minutes, in 2019.From the ringing of the bell at 7am on Friday at Thornton Park in Wandering in Western Australia, Luke Vernon had successive runs of 120, 125 and 125, entering the last two hours two-down.But a dramatic final run with the biggest-ever two-hour run in merino ewes records history needed to get him over the line, was successful.The team was made up with mentor Michael-James "MJ" Terry at his side, the current two-stand record holder, set in 2003 with brother Cartwright, and woolhandlers Maria Ormsby, originally from Rotorua, and Raven Waitere, Cyaniquah Rangawhenua and Santi Hemopo, and Pope Hick."A week off, back into the gym, and keep myself ready," said Vernon.The former boarder at Dunstan High School in Alexandra turned shepherd at Miller's Flats in Central Otago, made the move to Australia looking for farm work.There, he has worked at planting trees, wool pressing and other gigs before studying at shearing school and getting on the stand."There's always an opportunity around the corner. Honestly, I can't rule anything out," Vernon said.Vernon said he was planning to head back to New Zealand for pre-lamb shearing in Central Otago.The nine-hour record of 540, shorn by fellow New Zealander Floyd Neil in West Australia a year ago, dangles tantalisingly within reach based on Friday's hourly rate of 62.5 an hour or one ewe every 57.6 seconds.His latest record, better than any tally achieved in the woolshed, was the latest in a series of nine successful solo shearing record attempts in Australia and New Zealand over the last 16 months, dating back to breaking of the men's solo eight-hours strongwool lambs record twice in two days in New Zealand just before Christmas 2022.The World Sheep Shearing Records Society has two more solo strongwool record attempts booked for August in England, with English shearer Nick Greaves targeting New Zealand shearer Jack Fagan's eight hours lambs record of 754 and Scottish shearer Una Cameron chasing the women's nine-hours ewes record of 458 set in in the South Island by King Country shearer Sacha Bond in February.

Important Tax & Regulatory Changes for NZ Businesses, April 2024 (sponsored)
Important Tax & Regulatory Changes for NZ Businesses, April 2024 (sponsored)

16 April 2024, 5:00 PM

There were several regulatory and legislative changes that came into effect on 1 April 2024.It's important to note these changes because they could have a big impact on your business or investments, depending on how they affect you specifically.Below is a summary of some key changes to be aware of:Tax laws for rental properties in 2024 The Government is in the process of reversing current legislation and allowing any interest on loans used to acquire residential investment properties to be deductible for tax purposes again. Before this law change reversal residential property landlords were limited on what loan interest could be deducted against the taxable income the property made.  So, in simpler terms, the Government is changing a law to make it easier for landlords to deduct loan interest from their taxes when they buy rental properties.From 1 April 2024, 80% of all interest incurred on loans associated with residential rental properties will be deductible for tax purposes, and from 1 April 2025, this will increase to 100%.This change in legislation is expected to significantly increase the profits that certain residential property landlords will receive in the future. For instance, let's say a landlord paid $30,000 in interest expenses on a loan for a rental property during the 2024/25 tax year. Under the new rules, $24,000 of this amount (which is 80%) will be allowed as a deduction for tax purposes. As a result, the landlord would pay approximately $7,000 less in taxes compared to the previous year. This alteration in tax laws will lead to a significant boost in cash flow for many residential rental property owners going forward. The minimum wage increaseThe adult minimum wage increased by 2% to an hourly rate of $23.15 from 1 April 2024. For those who employ a number of staff on the minimum wage rate, this could impact your profit margins materially.As a business owner, you may need to complete a forecast for your business to better understand the exact impact on your business and if you need to consider changing your business strategy to cover this cost increase and mitigate the underlying impact on cash flow.Road user charges for electric vehiclesFrom 1 April road user charges will be charged on both full and battery electric vehicles. The cost works out at $76 per 1000km for EV’s and $38 per 1000km for plug-in hybrid vehicles. The reduced hybrid rate reflects the fact this type of vehicle already incurs a road user charge for the petrol engine component of the car.Overall, it is estimated that road user charges for EV vehicles will increase by $1,000 per annum. If you have a fleet of EV vehicles, this could result in a significant cost increase for your business. Therefore, you may need to consider adjusting your business plan to mitigate these higher costs and minimise their impact on your cash flow. 39% trust tax rate changeThe tax rate on profits earned through trusts has been increased to 39%, up from the previous rate of 33%. This change could have a notable effect on your cash flow. If you generate a substantial income through a trust and haven't already done so, it would be a good idea to consider seeking advice tailored to your circumstances. This will help ensure that a trust structure remains suitable for both your business and investment endeavours in the future. SummaryThose are just a few of the regulatory and legislative changes which came into force on 1 April 2024. Some of the changes may result in a material uplift in underlying cashflow for people, but others may also result in a material decline in cashflow generation.If you haven’t done so already it may be prudent to review your forecast business cashflows in detail for the next 12-month period, and potentially take some advice where required to make sure you are fully across the changes and the potential impact on you and your business.If you'd like some assistance or need some professional advice, BDO is here to offer support and leverage our expertise to help you adapt to these regulatory and legislative adjustments.

Dawn ceremony for Cromwell Memorial Hall
Dawn ceremony for Cromwell Memorial Hall

15 April 2024, 5:45 PM

The Cromwell Memorial Hall will receive an official farewell, with a dawn ceremony and blessing to be held on Monday, April 29.The green light was given to build a new hall and event centre for Cromwell at the Central Otago District Council meeting in February, with Naylor Love awarded the demolition and construction contract. Plans were put in motion to organise a farewell for the old hall, to enable the building to be demolished in May so that construction work could begin.Following the Cromwell Community Board meeting in April 2024 where the hall farewell was discussed, board chair Anna Harrison said it was important that people, many of whom had, had a long association with the hall, had a chance to say goodbye.“Since it was built in1960, the hall has been [a] focal point in Cromwell and served the community well. Now the time has come to replace it with a new facility that is fit for purpose and future-proofed, for a growing population and a greater range of activities.“People told us they wanted this new facility, and we are pleased to now be in a position to offer it, while also paying our respects to the old hall.”The blessing and waiata to be conducted by iwi, will begin at dawn to signify the first light of a new day and era for Cromwell and the wider Central Otago district. Sunrise is due at 7.36am. The community is welcome to attend the event and should aim to arrive 10 to 15 minutes beforehand.The blessing will be followed by speeches from dignitaries including Anna, former Mayor of Cromwell Peter Mead (1980-1986), and Cromwell RSA president Denis Ryan. Other members of the stakeholder group and interested parties have also been officially invited.Do you have a memory or a photo of the old hall from days gone by that you’d like to share?To upload go to “Memories of the Cromwell Memorial Hall” on Let’s Talk: Cromwell Memorial Hall & Events Centre | Let’s Talk Central Otago.Read more: Memorial hall farewell ceremony in the planning

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