12 September 2023
Media: Local Democracy Reporter
Topic: National's housing policy
Yesterday during an interview with the Rotorua Daily Post about National’s social housing policy, Mayor Tapsell mentioned she was also meeting with Minister Woods and representatives from MSD to discuss emergency housing. The reporter asked for an update following this meeting
Mayor Tapsell has today provided the following comments:
I requested this meeting to discuss that Rotorua is still experiencing issues with emergency housing motels which we wish to resolve. These issues are largely around community safety and reputational damage, uncontracted motels, and tenancies being set up in motels and backpackers.
I've requested urgent solutions and had a positive response with a willingness to build on the good progress that has been made to date. We agreed that we all want to see the fast tracking of our exit strategy from motels, and acknowledged this means building more appropriate housing options.
I reinforced the importance of working together to ensure solutions are locally led and benefit Rotorua locals.
All parties left the meeting with actions to follow up on to ensure we keep up the positive progress in reducing issues to date.
I hope to see more progress in this space soon.
Media: Local Democracy Reporter
Topic: Council CE resignation
Have seen on former councillor Raj Kumar's facebook a post that says Geoff Willaims has resigned. Is this accurate?
If so, when was the resignation?
What was the reason given?
Is this anything to do with the recent restructure?
When was his contract to end?
What was his salary?
Is there any payout associated with his leaving council? (details of this?)
Any other information or comment?
Subsequent from reporter:
Reporter requested an interview with Mr Williams
The reporter’s enquiry arrived just prior to Mayor Tapsell’s statement being issued re CE retiring from his role.
The reporter’s enquiry was referred to the mayor’s office.
The reporter was referred to the mayor’s statement and was informed the mayor had no further comment.
Mr Williams politely declined the reporter’s request for an interview.
Media: Local Democracy Reporter
Topic: Council executive restructure
In light of interview with CE re executive restructure being postponed, the reporter asked that instead she just be given information she had sought. She re-submitted previous questions, as follows:
I understand Anaru Pewhairangi has finished in his role and I had been told by the mayor the process would be finalised by the 28th.
There is a large amount of public interest in knowing what the council is doing about crime and community safety in the city, as well as how it is improving its finances in this tough economic climate.
If any, what cost savings are expected under this restructure?
The last restructure cost about $50,000, what is this one likely to cost?
What influence did community criticism of the structure have on this change?
The role of community wellbeing DCE has been disestablished and as far as I understand will be consolidated among the remaining roles. How will this work?
How have their job scopes changed?
What impact does the disestablishment of the role of community wellbeing dce have on council's priority to reduce crime?
What impact will it have on the community safety plan? With council's relationship with police and other parties involved in it?
When did the restructure begin and when was it finalised?
The following was provided, from Clint Brickhill, Director People and Organisational Development:
Re cost savings: These changes have not been recommended with the purpose of driving cost out of the organisation but to ensure that our executive team are not utilising resources that would better be used in directly serving our community. Some further realignment is required for existing roles that report to the new Executive Team so any salary savings can’t be confirmed at this stage.
Re cost of restructure: Consultancy costs are currently $3K for the first stage and are budgeted to be $10K once the next stage of Council’s role realignment (reporting to new roles) is completed.
Re did community criticism of the structure have on this change?: This change did not come about due to community criticism – it is a change that was needed for our organisation to align with our Council’s priorities and carry out operations effectively.
Re role of community wellbeing DCE being disestablished and distribution of that work among remaining roles:
Active and Engaged Communities portfolios including sport will report to the Group Manager – Infrastructure & Environmental Solutions (formerly DCE Infrastructure & Environmental Solutions)
Rotorua Library, Te Aka Mauri will be included in the Community and District Development Group which recognises the importance of having a strategic focus to address community issues. Taking community safety into the same group has the added benefit of keeping our regulatory functions together to help us deliver high-quality service to our customers and citizens.
Confirmed Executive team structure:
Infrastructure & Environmental Solutions
Group Manager Infrastructure and Environmental Solutions – Stavros Michael
Provide infrastructure solutions that promote growth, resilience and enhance our environment
Community & District Development
Group Manager Community & District Development – Jean-Paul Gaston
Create community wealth and sustainable economy
Group Manager Corporate Services – Thomas Colle
Support the business to achieve our goals
EXECUTIVE DIRECTORS & DIRECTOR
Corporate Planning & Governance
Executive Director Corporate Planning and Governance – Oonagh Hopkins
Engage, plan, communicate and support effective governance
Te Arawa Partnerships
Manahautū, Te Arawa Partnerships – Gina Rangi
Partner effectively with Te Arawa to achieve enhanced outcomes for iwi and community
People & Organisational Development
Director – People & Organisational Development – Clint Brickhill
Lead and align the people processes and practices, to build a strong culture to deliver the organisation’s strategies and commitments.
Re how have their job scopes changed?: As outlined, some teams that were previously under Community Wellbeing have moved into the new groups but these roles are still deemed to be similar in scope to the previous positions.
Re what impact does the disestablishment of the role of community wellbeing dce have on council's priority to reduce crime?: We believe that having the Community Safety portfolio under the Group Manager for Community and District Development recognises the importance of having a strategic focus to address community issues.
This is evidenced by the Mayor’s recent announcement of a community safety hub to be established within two months and located in the CBD.
The hub will form part of the inner-city revitalisation programme and it is envisaged that other community support services including customer service, crime prevention and public information could be provided from the hub.
Re what impact will it have on the community safety plan? With council's relationship with police and other parties involved in it?: There should be minimal impact on the community safety plan as Council has experienced staff with well-established networks within the Police and community groups. These staff will continue to work with all our community safety stakeholders to ensure Council’s security staff, Police, and other community services are working together to support and protect our community.
Re when did the restructure begin and when was it finalised?: In early July 2023 (following the adoption of the draft Annual Plan), a change proposal was presented to the Executive Team for consultation, proposing a new Executive Group structure. A consultation period followed within which feedback on the change proposal was gathered. The Executive Team structure was finalised on 28 August but as previously stated, there may be some further changes to roles that report to the new executive structure.
Media: Local Democracy Reporter
Kia ora all, have the below from Restore Rotorua member Tracey McLeod about litter she has been picking up and was hoping someone could please help with some response and answers to a few questions
Between February and August she had collected six trolleys of litter, averaging one a month.
She believed since she had started picking up the rubbish the issue and worsened; both in quantity and in what she was finding.
The most recent pick-up included used condoms and used sanitary pads, things she believed had been thrown from car windows.
She felt neighbouring Taupō did not have the same problem, and attributed this to a litter bylaw and attractive bins - things she thought Rotorua could adopt.
She felt there was enough cleaning happening in the city centre, but it was neighbouring and busy roads that were worse. An example was Pererika St.
The last time she cleaned up around here, at the end of August, she sent Rotorua Lakes Council a request for service to pick up a bag she coudn’t fit in the trolley.
She wheeled the trolley to the council building.
McLeod believed school children were part of the problem.
She was not sure if there were not enough bins around or whether they were just not visible enough.
To combat the latter she suggested a bin design competition school children would enter to “foster pride in the appearance of Rotorua”, or litter-pick ups as a fundraiser idea for school sports teams.
Some present “kermit-frog green” bins were missing lids or were cracked , she said, and were past their use-by date. She knew the litter was being collected in the city centre but wondered if the service needed extending to surrounding streets, including near schools.
“I think it needs to be a community joint venture, whether it’s between the council, the schools, the residents.
“I think it to be a combined effort because I think the problems got quite massive and I mean, presentation’s quite important with it being a tourist town.”
Can I ask how the council keeps the city clean at the moment?
Are there any problem areas?
Has there been any concern from the community about rubbish in the last six months? (and details of these please)
Would any of these suggestions above be considered at any point? (Why/why not)
How many requests for service for removing rubbish has the council received for each of the last six months?
Is there any trend of litter amount or location at present? (up, down, in the city, around parks etc)
How many public bins are there in the CBD?
How many public bins are there in the city?
What is spent on keeping the city litter free?
Has this changed in the last year? (If so, when, by what?)
From Rotorua Lakes Council Group Manager Infrastructure and Environmental solutions, Stavros Michael:
Rotorua Lakes Council encourages everyone to dispose of their waste responsibly. Illegal dumping impacts the environment, as well as increasing Council and the general community costs.
Our current approach focuses on education and working alongside schools and groups at community level to support community-led initiatives. A number of community groups engage with Council and get involved in helping to keep our city clean.
An example is the community of Lake Rotomā, they regularly organise volunteers to clean up in and around the lake. Council supports these groups with bags, gloves and disposal of the rubbish. These groups are shining examples of kaitiakitanga (guardianship).
Illegal dumping/littering is a community problem and not specific to one area. People have to take personal responsibility for doing the right thing in disposing of the waste they generate. Council has not seen any increase or decrease of littering in Rotorua.
Every household has been supplied with a waste bin that gets collected weekly and there are hundreds of litter bins in public spaces. So there is no excuse for illegal dumping or littering.
In the last six months Council has received 107 request from the public regarding litter. There were three requests to remove litter, two request for bins to be installed in an area, an illegal dumping of house hold rubbish in a litter bin and the other requests relate to bins needing emptying.
Litter Enforcement in the Rotorua District is covered by both the Litter Act 1979 and the Solid Waste Bylaw 2016.
Offences against the Litter Act 1979 are subject to an infringement. RLC has adopted a fee of $400 for litter offences. Serious offences may warrant prosecution. If convicted, offenders face an infringement not exceeding $5,000 for individuals or $20,000 for body corporates. If the nature of the offending is likely to be injurious to health, the penalties can increase and may include a custodial sentence.
Offences against the Bylaw that are not covered by the Litter Act are subject to a penalty as set by Sec. 242 of the Local Government Act 2002.
There are 150 litter bins in the CBD and 656 bins throughout the city.
Litter is handled in a variety of ways in the Rotorua district:
- Our waste collection contractor Smart Environmental also empties public litter bins and handles litter around some of the suburban shopping centres
- The Mall, supermarkets and other big box retailers take care of litter around their environs
- CDB litter is handled by Infracore
- Litter on our suburban berms and streets is either tidied up by neighbourhood locals or when the road sweeper goes through under the roading contract
- Litter at parks and reserves is handled by Infracore
The cost of keeping the Rotorua District litter free for the last 12 months
Servicing litter bins and responding to Illegal Dumping = 891,813.87
Kerbside all services Rubbish and Recycling = 5,099,838.31
Drop Site (collection points) Servicing = 334,264.09
This excludes Intracore’s CBD cleaning services and the regular road sweeping. The overall contracts cost has increased by 6.7% over the same period.
Note to reporter: for council to give an entire breakdown would be a labour intensive exercise and would need to be done under a LGOIMA process.