Saturday 10th October 2015
Ten Dannevirke flats up for public tender
The Tararua District Council has taken its first steps to selling off pensioner housing.
Ten council-owned flats on High St are for sale by public tender.
Council property assets and property manager Colin Veale said the 10 older units at Hovding Court were built in the 1950s.
The Dannevirke flats had simply aged with general wear and tear, he said.
"The houses are not really suitable for pensioner flats."
Some flats had steps leading up to the front doors which were not suitable for the elderly, he said.
The council owns three flats in Eketahuna, 15 in Pahiatua, 12 in Woodville and another 40 in Dannevirke, excluding the 10 for sale.
The public tender was the first step towards cutting council ties with the properties.
"What the council is doing is looking for a suitable housing provider to take on the flats.
"If we can obtain a suitable housing provider then yes, we will vacate the pensioner housing scheme," he said.
The Tararua council cannot access maintenance funding for social housing, but housing providers could.
It was possible the rest of the council-owned flats could be up for sale by the end of the year, he said.
Tararua mayor Roly Ellis said that timeframe could change, depending on the sale of the first tenders.
The flats being sold were the oldest, and the best option was to sell them, he said.
"We're not going to sell to any old provider. They must be an approved provider."
Elderly residents would still have flats to live in, but it was unlikely the council would own them.
Tenders for the first 10 flats close on October 22.
Tararua by-election voting open.
Voting opened Wednesday in the Tararua by-election sparked by councillor Warren Davidson's resignation in July.
Tararua District Council has eight councillors, four each in the northern and southern ward, and southern ward voters have until October 28 to complete their postal vote to fill the vacancy. The two candidates are Peter Johns, former councillor and current Woodville community board member, and Andy Thomson, an HR consultant living in Ballance.
Click here to view the two canididate profiles >>>
Thursday 27th August 2015
Former Tararua animal control officer says he was bullied
A former animal control officer for the Tararua District Council says bullying led to his resignation.
Since November last year, three animal control officers have resigned and the council has had to contract in services.
The bullying claim comes after Eketahuna-based councillor Warren Davidson resigned from his position last month, citing bullying.
At a council meeting on Wednesday, chief executive Blair King said the council had decided animal control should be more proactive, instead of always reacting to incidents.
The officers were entitled to say this change in focus wasn't for them and he said the
employees had resigned in light of the shift in approach.
King also said the lack of opportunity to progress from the role may have also been a factor.
However, one of the former animal control officers challenged that claim.
Cameron Tait, who worked for the council for 13 years, said he did not resign because of a shift in approach.
"I resigned my position of 13 years... due to what I considered to be a hostile and bullying environment."
Another animal control officer had been working for less than six months before resigning.
King said the feedback given by the two employees who resigned together in June this year had been taken into consideration.
The council is undergoing a Local Government New Zealand review of its governance and the results are set to be presented by the end of the year.
Since the two officers' resignations, the council has been contracting animal control services from the Horowhenua and Rangitikei district councils.
Chief financial officer Raj Suppiah said the council had "poached" an officer from one of the neighbouring councils, who accepted the role on Monday.
Ten dogs were impounded during the month of July and there were 126 calls to animal control.
In the year ending June, 15 dogs were labelled dangerous, 66 menacing and there were 38 recorded offences.
Fairfax NZ News
Thursday 20th August 2015
Tararua District Council seeks governance review
Tararua District Council has decided to seek an external review of its governance policies, systems and processes. This follows recent public comments on the operation of the Tararua District Council’s governing body.
Mayor Roly Ellis says providing an effective framework for opinions and public decision-making is critical to Tararua District Council.
"It is of paramount importance to our Council and its constituents that we provide a fair, transparent and safe environment for community views and public decision-making. We are undertaking this review to ensure our governing body meets these objectives," says Mayor Ellis.
Council is aware of comments made by a former councillor and it will be addressing those comments in due course.
"We have asked Local Government New Zealand to perform a review of its code of conduct and governance policies to ensure they are working as intended and are meeting governance best practice."
"This will include the Council’s approach to post-election induction; the use of elected member briefings on topical and emerging issues; and the use of techniques for assessing governance health," says Mayor Ellis.
LGNZ will undertake the review and report, with recommendations, to the Council before the end of 2015.
Friday 31st July 2015Armed Offenders Squad in Dannevirke
A man is being questioned by police after a firearms incident sparked an armed offenders squad callout in Dannevirke.
Police and the AOS were called to an address on Stanley Rd at 4pm on Thursday.
Police central communications acting shift inspector Chanel Chapman said the area was cordoned off after reports shots had been fired.
People were running from the area, she said.
AOS were at the scene for several hours before a man was found and taken in for questioning.
There were no injuries as a result of the incident, Chapman said.
Five-term Tararua District councillor's resignation shocks colleagues.
Tararua District councillors have expressed surprise at the resignation of their Eketahuna-based colleague Warren Davidson.
Davidson announced his resignation at the beginning of a council meeting on Wednesday, reading from a statement citing bullying and abuse from the chief executive Blair King and mayor Roly Ellis. Because of the councillor's resignation, a by-election, which could cost the council up to $20,000, will be held to find his replacement.
He told the Manawatu Standard he was sad to leave, but felt he had to. Davidson said he believed because he questioned council actions, he was targeted.
"We as councillors are able to ask questions and have those questions answered. Questions were actively discouraged."
Davidson claimed, as an example, that the chief executive would speak over him during meetings, but would not elaborate on further cases.
"I appealed to the mayor to deal with it, he did nothing."
Both King and Ellis declined to comment.
Davidson expressed regret of having unfinished business within the council.
He said he made it "very clear" to his fellow councillors that there were problems before his resignation, as well as the Eketahuna Community Board.
Board chairman Charlie Death said he was surprised to receive a call on Tuesday from Davidson, telling him of his plans to resign.
"I thought: woah, okay. I didn't realise it was so severe... [I] didn't realise things had deteriorated."
Death said Eketahuna and the rest of the southern ward would miss Davidson's representation on council, as they complete plans for the town centre's upgrade.
Council governance manager Richard Taylor said the by-election would cost up to $20,000 and the process to find a replacement councillor was underway.
The councillor will be elected from the southern ward, which encompasses Pahiatua, Woodville and Eketahuna.
Cr David Roberts said he was saddened by Davidson's resignation.
"It was a shock to, I think, most of us that he wished to resign.
"He's obviously had concerns and felt he couldn't continue."
Roberts said he always got on with Davidson.
It was "hard to say" whether he was aware of any of the bullying or abuse Davidson noted in his resignation. "It's not a word I use often."
Cr Jim Crispin said he was also surprised as he had no knowledge of the alleged behaviour of the mayor and chief executive.
"I have respect for Warren, he has been a very good representative for the council, a very good representative for the southern ward."
Friday 10th July 2015Blair King reappointed as Tararua District Council chief executive
Blair King has been reappointed in one of Tararua District Council's top jobs.
King was reappointed as chief executive of Tararua District Council this week, with his new contract beginning in November.
King has been in the job for seven years, after the council decided to extend his initial five-year contract for another two.
The council was then legally obliged to advertise the chief executive job.
King said the projects the council had on the horizon were a big reason behind why he had stayed on.
An engineer before moving into the council job, he felt he could use his skills for upcoming infrastructure projects like the continuing upgrade of wastewater services.
"It is nice being able to, in some ways, still be useful.
"It is a role I can still be successful at."
Coming from a farming background meant he was used to working on things "now" which would have an impact down the road, he said.
"That sort of thinking works well in a rural council, but would be different in a larger one."
King said the council's financial position was also attractive.
If you balanced the council's debts against its cash and investments, you would come out nearly
even, he said.
"That means the council is in a really good place to make decisions that are best for the district."
While some councils had made no rates rises some years, then had to balance them out later with high rises, the Tararua council had kept things steady.
That meant there was always money around to spend on projects which needed doing, ensuring the district remained an attractive place to life, he said.
"If the main streets are really bad and you don't take care of infrastructure, it makes it much harder for the hospital to get a GP to the right area, and harder for schools to attract students."
The mayor and councillors, while taking no part in the job interview process, had been extremely supportive during his first seven years as chief executive, he said.
Keeping his children in their schools also played a part in him reapplying.
Mayor Roly Ellis said King's reappointment was a good result after a rigorous three-month interview process.
Nineteen people had applied for the role, eight were interviewed and two were interviewed again, he said.
"We were looking for somebody who could carry on with the major infrastructure projects we have been going through the last five years."
King had been a big help during that time, and there was more work in that area to be done for at least the next three years.
"The councillors felt it was a good thing to have continuity."
Thursday 11th June2015Groundbreaking business in Dannevirke
A new technology company will soon be setting up shop at the Oringi business park near Dannevirke, in a first for manufacturing in New Zealand.
Charles Peterson is leading the team for the Intrepid group of companies, which is setting up a plant integral to the manufacture of diodes (computer chips) at Oringi, the site of the former freezing works.
Intrepid is backed by United States businessman Randolph Crockett, who is moving to New Zealand.
Crockett plans to set up a base for semi-conductor equipment development and manufacturing in this country.
The Dannevirke venture was a first for semi-conductor manufacture in New Zealand, said Peterson.
"What a great time to start a new industry.
"Oringi will be a diffusion plant," he said.
Peterson said he was pleased to sign the lease with the Scanpower-owned business park.
"The manufacture process uses heat and needs an awful lot of electricity," he said.
"We are coupling up with a partner whose business is distributing power. It was serendipity," he said.
Peterson said regional development was part of the team's thinking.
"We are delighted that we can incorporate regional development into our plans," he said.
Peterson was unsure how many new jobs would be created.
"Its not known exactly how many people will be employed at this stage, but we expect the business to grow" he said.
"This has the potential to become a substantial industry and exporter for New Zealand," he said.
Tararua District Mayor Roly Ellis has welcomed the initiative.
"It's extremely good news to have the new business in the business park at Oringi," he said.
"It's the type of business we have never had here before.
"We hope in the long term it will bring more employment to the district."
Scanpower chief executive Lee Bettles said the new facility had twofold benefits for his company.
"Scoring Intrepid as a client is significant, not only for the park, but also as consumers of energy," he said.
Peterson said people were assembling the first series of kit to build the plant.
He expected the business to get up and running next year.
Thursday 28th May 2015
Long Term Plan set for Tararua District Council.
Rural residents' dogged submissions have proven successful as the Tararua District Council wags proposed registration fees.
The council deliberated over submissions at their latest meeting, deciding on what the 2015 Long Term Plan will look like, but the district will have wait to find what the rates increase will be.
Chief financial officer Raj Suppiah will return with the appropriate rates increase, which is anticipated to be no higher than 3.19 per cent, at the end of June when the plan is adopted.
Council received 217 submissions before meeting on Wednesday to decide on the future of the services within the district.
Nine submissions were aimed at the council's plans for dog registration fees which objected to plans to create one category for domestics dogs, lifting the cost of domestic rural dogs by $40 and lowering the cost for urban domestic dogs by $13.
Submitters argued that the cost of animal control, the reason for the increase, was largely because of the behaviour of domestic dogs.
Cr Warren Davidson compared and calculated the number of complaints from rural and urban dogs.
"It appears about 80 per cent of the actions to address problems of dogs is urban and around about 20 per cent is rural," he said.
He said the costs equating from the equation showed rural domestic dogs could cost $10, while urban dogs cost $152.
Davidson proposal of a "token gesture" of a $2 increase and the council agreed upon the increase.
The council's highly debated idea of pulling out of pensioner housing was agreed upon by the council and the properties will be tendered to not-for-profit housing providers.
In the meantime, rents will be increased by $10 a week for the current tenants.
Over half the submissions to council debated the future of Woodville's i-Site, library and service centre.
Initially the council favoured demolishing their current locations and moving them into the Tararua Alliance building, but strong opposition forced the council to reconsider.
Chief executive Blair King was asked to present a proposal and cost summary for the earthquake strengthening and modification of the current buildings.
Cr Shirley Hull said the council had the chance to make the most of the opportunity.
"This is an opportunity for something really positive for Woodville," she said.
Building a permanent public toilet would also be considered within the plan. The surplus buildings would be disposed of, the chief executive said.
The staff could be moved temporarily to the Tararua Alliance building while the work on the current buildings were under work.
Woodville's cat problem was addressed but will be a matter for a forthcoming review of bylaws.
Council has also decided to pull out of kerb-side rubbish collection, subject to sufficient services from the private sector throughout the district's towns, at a competitive cost.
Pongaroa's water-treatment plant's upgrade will proceed, subject to a funding subsidy from the Ministry of Health. - Stuff
Monday 11th May 2015
More money needed to fix Saddle Rd
With at least another 18 months to go before the $4.5million upgrade of the Saddle Rd is complete, the Tararua District Council is putting together an application for more funding for the road, a vital link between the Manawatu and Hawke's Bay.
"The New Zealand Transport Agency's regional transport office is working with us on this application because two projects on the road have been deferred as they don't fit into the $4.5million envelope," Blair King, the Tararua District Council's chief executive, said.
Tararua Mayor Roly Ellis said he's had a chat with mayors in the region who believe the Saddle Rd is an important link in the roading network and should be treated very
seriously by those in government.
"We've asked Simon Bridges, the Minister of Transport, to come and have a look," Mr Ellis said. "We expect the Saddle Rd to be sorted out and we're forever hopeful."
Meanwhile, Tararua District Council member David Roberts has said he's concerned the Saddle Rd was starting to deteriorate already, as some of the new seal on the lower sections didn't stand up to the increased traffic when the Manawatu Gorge
road was closed.
Mr King said the original construction (by Stringfellows) was all right.
"But the original seal wasn't good under heavy loads," he said. "We would have liked to seal the section properly before traffic went over it, but unfortunately, it was quite fresh [when it became a detour route] and a lot of trucks and traffic went over the road."
The NZ Transport Agency is fully funding the Saddle Rd work, which is being managed by the Tararua District Council.
The three-year project began after the 15-month closure of the Manawatu Gorge as a result of a slip in August 2011 and involves widening the road, improving drainage and adding additional passing areas.
Work on the Saddle Rd began last year and Mr King said if the latest slip had occurred just a few weeks later crews would have been in a better position to cope with the higher traffic on the alternate route.
A few weeks on, the major deviation on the road would have been cut through, with a metal base put down and if heavy truck traffic had been able to travel over that it would have helped to compact the material. However, timing wasn't on the side of the contractors.
Local roads are also causing concern for the council and it's Tararua Alliance roading team, with Mr King in discussion with Chris Edsall, the Alliance manager following an initial "drive-over" of the district's roads. "Scoring of the roads was too narrow and they've now been given a wider grading range," he said. The grading range indicates where money should be spent and Mr King said Route 52 to Pongaroa and the Weber to Wimbledon Rd both drop down the [priority] scale because of a lower traffic count.
Councillor Roberts asked if Mr Edsall and his team thought the roads had become worse.
"There was no direct answer," Mr King said.
However, Mr Ellis said Mr Edsall's eyes had been opened to the state of Route 52 and the Weber to Wimbledon Rd.
And Councillor Shirley Hull has concerns about the upgrade of earthquake-damaged Pa Valley Rd at Alfredton.
"Have we run out of money because only half the road is tarsealed?" she asked.
Mr King said he would investigate the reason.
Tuesday 5th May 2015Teen injured in Dannevirke rugby match
A 19 year old has been airlifted to hospital after breaking a leg during a rugby match in Dannevirke.
The Palmerston North Rescue Helicopter was called to Rugby Park in Dannevirke on Saturday afternoon.
Rescue Helicopter spokesman Chris Moody said the teen, from Palmerston North, had suffered a badly broken leg during the Massey vs Dannevirke game, and was in need of urgent hospitalisation.
"The game was momentarily delayed while the helicopter was guided into the centre of the number one ground by local fire brigade members to allow the patient to be 'hot-loaded'," he said.
He was taken to Palmerston North Hospital in stable condition.
The Rescue Helicopter also attended a vehicle incident near Oueroa, east of Waipukurau earlier on Saturday afternoon.
Six people, believed to be duck shooters, were injured when their ute rolled down a steep hill.
The most seriously injured was a 24-year-old from Waipukurau who sustained pelvic and back injuries when he was thrown from the back of the rolling vehicle, Moody said.
The second patient, also 24, from Tikokino, sustained upper body injuries.
Both patients were airlifted to Hastings Hospital and the remaining injured were treated at the scene by road ambulance crews.Stuff
Tuesday 14th April 2015Dannevirke community vehicle launched
An exciting community vehicle service, which will help locals get around Dannevirke with ease, was launched today.
The Dannevirke Community Vehicle Trust, which is completely owned and operated by the community, has secured funding from a number of sponsors including Property Brokers, the Monty Fairbrother Charitable Trust and Infinity Foundation.
Horizons Regional Council road safety coordinator Debbie Webster said this funding has allowed the Trust to purchase a 2014 Ford Mondeo station wagon and get services underway.
“We have 21 volunteer drivers who have all been through a driving assessment and they will work on a roster system,” she said.
“The service will be available for the elderly, community members with disabilities, those who don’t hold a drivers licence and people who have no other means of transport. We are so excited to have this service underway as it has been in the pipeline since 2013.
“It’s been amazing to see the support from local businesses, community people and local organisations to get this service up and running.”
Ms Webster said the service is for non-medical transport only, such as trips to the local supermarket, as the very successful Dannevirke Health Shuttle provides a service for medical trips. Passengers will be expected to pay a small charge towards the running costs of the vehicle and must pre-book beforehand as well.
Chairman of the Trust, Bob Dresser, said “it’s really exciting to have this service as we have no bus or taxi service. Thank you very much to our sponsors, trustees and volunteers”.
Tararua district mayor Roly Ellis adds “thank you to Horizons for helping initiate the whole process. All the best for the future, I’m sure it’s going to be a great success”.
Horizons councillor for the Tararua, John Barrow, was also in attendance and said “what we have here is something that’s going to last for a long time. Thanks to Bob and his team for your efforts, this service is going to be a real asset to Dannevirke”.
The service will operate three days per week from 9.30am until 4.30pm initially. The area covered will be Dannevirke urban from Mangatera to Makirikiri, Tipapakuku (from Riversdale Road to Weber Road) and Adelaide Road. For more information or to make a booking please call the Dannevirke Information Centre on (06) 374 4167.
Providing transport options in the community also helps the sustainability of local infrastructure such as supermarkets and other businesses and keeps rural areas and small towns viable and thriving. Eventually it is hoped a similar service can be set up to meet the needs of residents in Pahiatua and surrounding towns.
Sponsors of the Trust include:
Dannevirke Community Board
Department of Internal Affairs
Monty Fairbrother Charitable Trust
Ngati Kahungunu Ki Tamaki Nui A Rua
Property Brokers Limited
Saturday 10th April 2015
Kiwi answer to Disneyland in Dannevirke Fantasy Cave
A film-maker is returning to make a documentary on Dannevirke's Fantasy Cave, more than 20 years after he first visited.
Matt Henley first came across the cave as a 10-year-old and has returned with co-producer Michelle Savill to create the short documentary.
The documentary on "New Zealand's answer to Disneyland" is one of 10 short documentaries created through Loading Docs, an initiative aimed at collating a range of diverse film styles and subjects.
Henley said the cave was not only one of a kind because of its location, but also because of the attractions.
"It's rural New Zealand, rather than urban. It's more personal," Henley said.
The cave is different to attractions like Rainbow's End as it was built over time, he said.
Started as a Santa Cave, the Fantasy Cave grew and about 100 volunteers have kept it alive for over 25 years.
"People just keep joining and keeping it alive. We were attracted to the community aspect of this place and the artworks," co-producer Savill said.
Savill toured the cave for the first time late last year and said the crafts and DIY aspects of the cave were attractive to her. The documentary would show why the volunteers, or Cave Dwellers, kept the place running, she said.
Savill has written, directed and produced short films, one of which won an award at the South By Southwest Film Festival in Austin, Texas.
Henley is traditionally a cinematographer and has worked on television advertisements for NZTA and music videos.
The duo are co-producing and co-directing the three-minute documentary this weekend. "This is sort of new for us," Savill said.
"[We will] make it a little more cinematic. It's such a visual place."
Savill said her favourite part of the cave was the space area, while Henley liked the giant mushrooms.
Ten-year volunteer John Hart said almost everything in the cave was custom-made, from the ocean scene to the space exhibit.
He said he had not been volunteering long, and some had been part of the attraction since it started.
The volunteers came up with all the ideas in the kitchen, he said.
"[We] sit around the table and magic happens."
The cave faced closure in 2011 when its host ANZ decided not to renew its lease on the company that owns the building. There was no written agreements between ANZ and the Fantasy Cave. For more than 20 years the Fantasy Cave operated free of charge.
NZCU Baywide sponsored the cave in 2012, keeping it open and expanding it further.
Hart said thousands experienced the cave last year and 172 people had already visited this month.
- Manawatu Standard
Saturday 28th March 2015
Mill job losses blow to town
News of more job losses at Dannevirke's Canterbury Spinners woollen mill, owned by Godfrey Hirst, is another blow to the fragile local economy, Tararua District mayor Roly Ellis says.
Godfrey Hirst's public relations spokesman Geoff Senescall has confirmed to the Dannevirke News "there is a process under way with the company in discussions with First Union".
On Wednesday Mr Ellis said he had heard rumours of the impending redundancies.
"I haven't much information, but this news isn't good for Dannevirke," he said. "We don't usually get much information from the company but I was initially told, unofficially, that five staff were to be laid off. Then I was told it could be eight.
"This is very disappointing when we were told last time after there were redundancies at the plant they would be the last."
In 2013 Godfrey Hirst laid off 50 workers, just 12 months after asking for 12 staff to take voluntary redundancy. At the time a company spokesperson said the economic climate had been a challenge and the prospects for the company depended on the world economy.
Four years earlier 10 staff lost their jobs at the plant and in May last year another three staff were laid off.
However, Mr Senescall said at this stage no decision on numbers had been made, but hinted market forces were to blame.
"It's a difficult market out there for carpets," he said.
The Dannevirke News understands approximately 31 staff remain at the plant and Suresh Patel, a High St retailer and chairman of the Chamber of Commerce, has expressed concerns about the mill's future.
"Unfortunately, when numbers start dwindling it's hard to know what will happen to the plant. News of these latest job losses are another blow to our town," he said.
"It would be nice if there were job opportunities here for any workers who are laid off, but jobs are few and far between at the moment."
Paul Watson, a spokesperson for First Union which represents the workers at the Dannevirke plant, told the Dannevirke News a meeting had been held between union representatives and the company on Wednesday night.
Dion Martin, the Palmerston North branch organiser for the union said he couldn't confirm how many mill staff would lose their jobs, but said anyone who wanted to put their hand up for voluntary redundancy would be considered first.
"We'll have the exact number of redundancies early next week, before Easter," he said. "At the moment the plant runs a three, eight-hour shift structure and it's likely the midnight to 8am shift will be dropped."
Mr Martin said the economic climate has forced the company into the latest redundancies.
"When I first began working with the company 180 staff were employed," he said.
"People are using flooring these days which may not be the same quality and although Godfrey Hirst had budgeted for reducing capacity, the production throughout New Zealand's yarn plants is dropping." By Christine McKay
By Christine McKay
Hawkes Bay Today
Tuesday 9th December 2014
Dannevirke Market & Christmas Pararde Day
Wow Dannevirke what a day!! Great weather along with loads of bargains and another awesome turnout for our Christmas Parade. The theme this year " Cartoons"
"Cat in the Hat"
Champion of Champion Float Dannevirke Tyres (Bridgestone) "Cat in the Hat". Christmas Float Melissa Martin Academy of Dannce " Christmas". Childrens Christmas Float Central Kindergarten "Frozen". Best Theme Float Whiplash "Smurfs".
Great stuff Dannevirke well done to everyone.
Check out the action from Market and Christmas Parade Day click here >>> Dannevirke NZ Facebook page
Roading company Infracon has been sold out of liquidation for an undisclosed sum to Higgins Group.
It was announced today that liquidators for PricewaterhouseCoopers, John Fisk and Tony Pattison, entered into a conditional sale and purchase agreement for the going concern sale of the Infracon business to Higgins Aggregates Limited.
Infracon was placed into liquidation in August by its shareholders due to ongoing financial loss.
Those shareholders were Tararua District Council and Hawke's Bay District Council.
The collapse of the company resulted in 98 staff being made redundant, leaving 112 on interim contracts with the liquidators.
Higgins Aggregates is a wholly owned subsidiary of Higgins Group Holdings Limited, a large scale civil engineering company with locations throughout New Zealand.
The offer included all the assets of the Infracon business.
Pattison could not disclose the amount the business had been purchased for, but said it was the best outcome.
Staff should receive part of the money owing to them within the next few weeks, Pattison said.
The part-payment amount to creditors was unknown at this stage, Pattison said.
"If the sale concludes as expected, secured creditors and all preferential claims will be fully paid.''
Staff are each entitled to a claim of up to $20,340 for wages, holiday pay and redundancy. Any claim more than that becomes unsecured.
The company owes around $3.6 million to unsecured creditors, Pattison said. There was still a pool of redundancy amounts that may exceed the $20,340.
''We think once we get this deal finalised and we understand the complete quantum of it a good portion of those unsecured creditors will be paid as well.''
The amount and timing of this distribution can only be determined once the sale is finalised, he said.
Retiring Wairarapa MP John Hayes said funding for the replacement of the Whakaruatapu Bridge was in place and designs had been completed.
"I am delighted that funding has finally come through for this bridge. It has been a major concern to many motorists and locals for a long time," Hayes said.
"Contract documents are being prepared at present by NZTA staff and tenders will be called early next month. The contract could be let as early as mid-June and the contractor could take control of the site from July. Depending on weather, the construction could be under way by September."
Tararua District Mayor Roly Ellis has described the narrow bridge on State Highway 2 as an accident waiting to happen.
Hayes said Ellis should be acknowledged for his "patience and perseverance in keeping this high-risk bridge at the forefront of NZTA's attention".
"A number of other locals have made submissions to Government as well as a petition organised by a local farmer and signed by 1300 constituents have all helped to achieve this outcome," Hayes said.
The NZTA had ranked the bridge last year as the second-highest regional roading priority after the upgrade of the Saddle Rd.
"We plan to flow test the well by the middle of this year," chief executive Garth Johnson said. "This testing usually takes two to four weeks."
He said flow testing was to see what quantities of oil, gas or both flowed out of the well.
The results would also determine whether hydraulic fracture stimulation, commonly referred to as fracking, would be an option.
"However, due to what we have learned already, it is highly unlikely for this well," he said.
Mr Johnson said Tag had not applied to Horizons Regional Council for a fracking consent.
Last week the company said earlier tests had shown the rock under Ngapaeruru-1 was naturally fractured, indicating there might not be a need for fracking.
"We didn't know the rock below Ngapaeruru-1 would be naturally fractured," Mr Johnson said. "We only found that out via the exploratory well.
"We don't know yet if it will be commercially viable and we will only find that out by flow testing . . . As we have said before, this is a methodical step-by-step process."
When Tag released its third-quarter financial results recently, it said an independent reservoir characterisation study had confirmed oil was being generated in the Whangai source rocks.
Encouraged by the report, the company said it would progress to the next stage of testing at the well, which it described as perforation and production testing.
That raised the suspicions of anti-fracking campaigners who were unfamiliar with the concept of perforation.
"Perforation is simply putting holes in the sealed pipe - called production casing - at the place in the rock the hydrocarbons will potentially allow oil and gas to flow from a specific formation," Mr Johnson said.
"When a well is drilled it is lined with layers of steel pipe and cement. The tubing is only perforated in the zones where there may be moveable hydrocarbons.
"These zones where hydrocarbons are found are themselves encased in layers of impermeable rock - which is why the hydrocarbons have stayed trapped in these zones for millions of years."
He said the company would expect to know if the well was commercially viable within weeks of testing. "However, as we have said before, this well was to learn more about exactly what is happening in the rock formations where oil and gas are being produced. It is the first step in our plan to discover if oil and gas reserves on the east coast are commercially viable."
Dannevirke police have launched their own email address in an effort to garner more crime tips.
Launched this week, the email address was another option for people to use without going into the station, Tararua CIB Detective Shane Brown said.
Emergencies or events happening immediately should be directed to 111, but other tips, like sightings of suspicious vehicles driving in and out of a road, for instance, could be sent in via email.
The email address would be monitored regularly. Anyone who wanted to remain anonymous could always use the Crimestoppers tip line, which has call takers based in Britain to guarantee anonymity.
Mr Brown said that, particularly at this time of year, cannabis growing season, people might be able to email a registration plate, time, date, place and a description.
Mr Brown said similar addresses had been set up in two other Tararua stations, Woodville and Pahiatua.
The email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
An opportunity to make your house warmer, drier and more energy efficient – react now!
The Government has announced the new project Warm up NZ (Tararua), which started on 1 September. Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority (EECA), which administers Warm up New Zealand: Healthy Homes, will work in partnership with EnergySmart in the Tararua District.
The free insulation scheme will run for three years and will be targeting low-income families, and those with illnesses that will be improved by having their homes insulated.
Lyn Tankersley, Wairarapa and Tararua Branch Manager of EnergySmart, advises that to meet the criteria, occupants must hold a Community Services Card (CSC) or Gold card with CSC endorsement, or be at risk from health conditions relating to cold, damp housing. If you can get a letter of support from your GP or Health Nurse then this will be even better.
Houses must be built before 2000 and there are also restrictions on the size of the homes. There are additional costs if the floor area is greater than 85 square metres, and if the floor and ceiling are both to be insulated. Government will fund 60% of the costs while the non-Government portion is being funded by Central Energy Trust in the southern Tararua, and MidCentral Health is sponsoring northern Tararua.
EnergySmart will be focusing on getting the message out to landlords, who will be expected to make a small contribution to the cost of insulation of their rentals, when tenants are low-income and at higher health risk. With Government introducing Warrant of Fitness’s for all rentals in New Zealand in the next few years, this is the time to get your rentals insulated.
React now, send your referrals through and get your tenants, friends and family warmed up. For all enquiries, contact Lyn by email: email@example.com
Two 123-year-old huia feathers worth up to $8000 each have been stolen from the back of a stuffed bird at a Dannevirke museum.
An expert has compared the incident to the theft of war medals from Waiouru's army museum.
The tail feathers were taken from one of two stuffed juvenile birds in a glass case some time last week, said Dannevirke Gallery of History volunteer Pat Mills.
"Someone's just prised open the front panel and grabbed two feathers. It's very sad," she said.
"We have informed police and advised a number of auction houses and antique dealers of the theft. We'd dearly love them back, but at the very least we'd like to thwart their sale by thieves."
The last live huia was seen in Tararua Range in 1907. The stolen feathers came off a pair of birds shot in Pohangina valley, north of Ashhurst, in 1889 and mounted for a local couple as a wedding gift.
The birds are owned by the local Galloway family, who had been told of their theft, Mrs Mills said.
The birds have been kept in a locked glass container in the museum for 25 years and had "definitely been our biggest drawcard".
They were noticed to be missing on Friday. A small group had visited the museum on Wednesday, but there were "no suspects as such", she said.
About 15 to 20 people a week visited the museum, which had no security systems. The items were not insured, she said.
In 2010, a feather similar to the stolen ones was sold for $8400 at Webb's Auction House in Auckland. At the time it was believed to be a world record for a bird feather. Several years ago a bald eagle feather sold in the United States for US$2800 (NZ$3433).
Huia feathers were traditionally used for adornment by chiefs, and attempts to slow the hunting of them began in the 1880s.
Colin Miskelly, curator of terrestrial vertebrates at Te Papa, said the theft was "an example of personal greed over the national value of intact species for future generations".
"At one level it's no different to the theft of medals from the Waiouru military museum."
While huia specimens were not uncommon, "it's very unusual to have bona fide provenance data like these ones. That saddens me even more that they've been degraded," Dr Miskelly said.