PFW Midsummer News

January 21, 2019

With the end of the school holidays looming, we can reflect that as well as  creating heavy traffic and crowded beaches, the influx of visitors has given the island’s economy a big boost. And so far, we have managed to avoid the water crisis we experienced in the 2017-18 peak holiday season due to the heavy rainfall we received in December. Because of the water conservation campaigns of Project Forever Waiheke and the Waiheke Resources Trust, homeowners and renters now have the tools to help guide people's water consumption in times of future drought.

Early in the New Year, many were astonished to see the large cruise ship Seabourn Encore anchored just outside Matiatia, with passengers delivered to shore by lighters, to enjoy organised tours or get themselves around while on the island. One way to take the pressure off the ferry service…

However, locals and visitors alike have experienced numerous delays to Fullers services due to vessel breakdown, as well as congestion at Matiatia and confusion around the downtown locals’ lane, which is currently not working satisfactorily.

Several initiatives are underway to address some of our most pressing traffic and transport issues. The Waiheke Transport Forum had its first meeting  on December 6, with a mandate to look at ways to improve the island’s roads, cycleways, car parks marine transport and footpaths. And the Waiheke Pathways Plan released by the Local Board last month sets out a 10-year programme of upgrades, improvements, new paths and maintenance that should make getting around the island safer for cyclists, pedestrians and horse riders.

Since mid-December, Project Forever Waiheke has been monitoring use of the Explorer buses, the numbers of vehicles arriving on selected Sealink sailings and the traffic flow along Belgium Street, and will be providing the data to the Local Board at the end of February.

The Local Board is also working hard to establish a more open and collaborative relationship with Auckland Transport in 2019. Cheers to that!

Meanwhile, Waiheke holiday-home providers are continuing to fight a potentially crippling local body rates increase, and many local low-income earners are feeling the pinch due to recent increases in rent, rates, ferry fares, car parking and petrol.

On a more positive note, two no-waste nomads from The Rubbish Trip will bring their zero-waste message to islanders on 31 January and 3 February. A pilot citizen science project to assess and regenerate kelp along the north shore of the island will begin this March. Auckland Council is for the first time providing a floating waste barge to help boaties dispose of their litter and debris correctly. And a dotterel chick that hatched on the High School field took to the sky on 13 January, thanks to the efforts of everyone involved in protecting the nesting site.

Finally, here’s an idea that could be pertinent, from one of the most over-touristed places in the world: Venice to charge day-trippers up to €10 to enter city.

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Taxing tourists makes perfect economic sense now

Taxing tourists makes perfect economic sense now

Opinion: a levy on incoming tourists should be seen not as a revenue-grabbing tax, but as user pays congestion charge, writes Tim Hazledine.

Since when is a border tax on an export industry a good idea, asked Brian Fallow in the New Zealand Herald last Friday.

I can answer that. March 4, 1985. That's the day the NZ dollar was freely floated on the foreign exchange market. Before that, we had a fixed exchange rate along with controls on imports to protect domestic import-substituting industries.

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Fundraising for Rangihoua wetlands via bespoke murals

Fundraising for Rangihoua wetlands via bespoke murals

Ongoing efforts into the restoration of Rangihoua wetlands are to be undertaken by the Sustainability Network’s Million Metres restoration programme, Waiheke Resources Trust, and an American eco-friendly products company breaking into the New Zealand market.

When donations are made through millionmetres.org.nz this company will match donations dollar for dollar up to $25,000.

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Changes to national tenancy laws won't go far enough for Waiheke

Changes to national tenancy laws won't go far enough for Waiheke

Waiheke Budgeting Services manager, Amelia Lawley, looks at the home rental market on the island and assesses the likely effects here of proposed changed to national tenancy laws.

A young couple with a three-year-old live in a two-bedroom house in Rocky Bay. The rent is $520 per week - when they moved in it was $450, but there have been two rent increases in the 15 months they have lived there.

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Summer staff shortage could pose problems on Waiheke

Summer staff shortage could pose problems on Waiheke

The Waiheke Island Tourism Forum expects a summer staffing crisis is just around the corner: At a recent meeting with Immigration New Zealand and the Ministry for Social Development, local business owners could count about 100 vacancies between them going into summer - and the tourism forum expect the problem to be double that number.

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