Thursday May 24, 2018
inbrief news Students to go phone free Persistent use of cellphones by drivers has prompted students to take a stand on distracted driving, with a national campaign starting tomorrow. Students Against Dangerous Driving (SADD) has organised a national “PhoneFree48” campaign, whereby participating students will go without their phones from 6pm Friday to 6pm Sunday, sponsored by family and friends. SADD spokesperson Piper Young says the campaign aims to show people if you can survive without your phone for a weekend then not using it while driving isn’t actually a hard ask.
More art wanted in capital: Survey A recent survey shows Wellingtonians are proud of their city’s creativity, and are backing investment in art and culture to make it a vibrant and interesting place to live, says Mayor Justin Lester. Creative NZ has released the results of a nationwide survey on how people engage with the arts, showing Wellington as the top “hot spot” for access to the arts. Half of Wellingtonians agree that access to the arts is a reason they live in the city, well above the national average of 30 percent.
Call to end sexual violence More than 100 survivors, students, and helping professionals have signed an open letter to the Government calling for greater investment in preventing, reducing, treating and ending sexual violence. It asks for all secondary, primary and ECE schools to be given training for all teachers and administrative staff and the implementation of universal, bestpractice, culture- and age-appropriate primary prevention sexuality education. The open letter marks the launch of a national campaign led by Wellingtonbased movement ActionStation.
Council votes to extend library hours on trial basis By Jaime Adams
Newtown Library is set to have its Saturday hours extended – for at least a year anyway. Wellington City Council voted unanimously in favour of keeping the library open until 4pm on Saturdays at its City Strategy Committee meeting last Thursday. It came after local “agitator” Bernard O’Shaughnessy organised an e-petition calling to extend the hours until 4.30pm. The petition received 66 signatures. “Our little library is loved by many people. Newtown is a busy place and I want to encourage children to use the library,” Bernard told councillors. He noted that despite the size and important location of the suburb, its current midday closure was not consistent with libraries in Tawa, Johnsonville, Karori and Kilbirnie, which all remain open until 4pm on Saturdays. Employing library staff for longer obviously would come at additional cost; the bill for keeping it open until 4.30pm on Saturday is estimated to be
$13,103 a year, or $11,465 to keep it open until 4pm. Each councillor took turns at expressing support for the proposal, though some were more cautious than others. Both southern ward councillors Fleur Fitzsimons and David Lee agreed a trial beginning on June 1 would be fair. “Libraries are a beacon of free public space,” Fleur said. Eastern ward’s Simon Marsh was supportive but said there was no point in extending the hours if “only five people” were to be there during the afternoon. Peter Gilberd had reservations but agreed with a trial as the library was of particular value to the Newtown community. “If it doesn’t work and it doesn’t pull in those casual people looking for a place to be then it would be withdrawn,” he said. “Let’s monitor it properly and make sure it is used.” Diane Calvert said Newtown was “a key suburban centre”, so it made sense to keep the library open longer. She also noted the libraries were now a place away from
Bernard O’Shaughnessy. PHOTO: Cook Strait News File
home for some people. As well as voting for the trial, councillors also voted to allow officers to conduct a review of the overall library strategy for the 2021 Long Term Plan. If the trial was to be made permanent, additional funding would have
Budget will assist Wellington’s housing work, says Mayor Wellington Mayor Justin Lester has welcomed the Government’s move to spend more on social housing, and a programme aimed at helping the long-term homeless. Budget 2018 has allocated an additional $1 billion for housing, including $369 million in capital funding. It means an additional 6400 state houses over four years – or 1600 a year. Funding has also been made available for insulation grants for low income owner-occupied homes. An extra $142.5 million
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is available for insulation. Wellington City Council wants 750 affordable and social homes built in the capital over the next 10 years and has budgeted $27.5 million to assist that. “The Government has recognised there is a need for more housing for those less well-off, and help for those who struggle to find homes,” Mayor Lester says. “Any money they spend in those areas will complement and boost our own efforts.” Wellington is among the cen-
tres where an additional 550 places will be made available in the Housing First programme, which aims to house and support the long-term homeless. It has been piloted in Auckland and Hamilton, and will now expand to Wellington, Tauranga and Christchurch. The Council is planning, with government agencies, to set up Te Whare Okioki, the country’s first home for homeless people who suffer from chronic addictions. “It’s fantastic that Housing First will come to Wellington,
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to come from next year’s annual plan. Bernard says he is “delighted” with the result and is “absolutely” confident the trial will be a success. “Once it’s known it will get high utilisation.”
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and there will be more support for the homeless,” says Mayor Lester. The mayor also welcomed the Government allocating $50 million for metro rail projects in Wellington. The money is “catch up” investment which will enable sustainable operation of the network. “Thousands of Wellingtonians rely on trains to get to work and to get around the region. Having a reliable train service is absolutely crucial to the health of the capital.”
Cook Strait News 24-05-18