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Masterton Monthly Wrap

Kia ora Masterton,

It’s wonderful to be back in the relative freedom of Alert Level 2 after a challenging three weeks. I am proud of the way Masterton responded during this lockdown but it is important we stick to the rules as we enjoy a taste of spring. And a huge thank you to our essential workers who have continued to provide for the community in very difficult circumstances.

I know that it has been tough for many of our local businesses, so please support them by buying local. Above all, please continue to be kind and understanding. This new way of operating can be very stressful for some in our community. Council sites are now open, with some changes to restrictions around mask-use, contact tracing, and social distancing from our previous Level 2 experience. Please check on these pages, or on the Council website, for new arrangements, particularly for our Queen Street office and Masterton District Library.

Council business has of course continued during lockdown. On 3 September we opened our Representation Review, an important opportunity to have your say on the make-up of elected members on the Council. We are required to have a review every six years but our decision to establish a Māori Ward required the current review to be brought forward from 2024.

Please take a few minutes to share what you think of the proposed make-up of the council which is a one Māori Ward councillor, four General Ward councillors, and three at-large councillors, plus the mayor. Submissions close on 4 October, with hard copies available at our Queen Street office and the library.

Have your say logo
Rep Review

Have Your Say on Councillor Numbers

Submissions are now open on the Council’s Representation Review proposal on how the Council should be made up for the next two local body elections. The proposal is for a council of eight elected members, down from the current 10, plus the Mayor, with four councillors elected from a General Ward, one councillor elected from a Māori Ward, and the remaining three elected ‘at large’.

Only voters on the Māori electoral roll (around 3,360) will be able to vote for candidates standing in the Māori Ward, with one candidate elected. Only voters on the general roll (24,200) would be able to vote for candidates standing in the General Ward, with four candidates elected.

All voters can vote for candidates standing ‘at large’ and for the Mayor.

The proposal aims to make sure we have fair and effective representation for our community. This arrangement provides the closest voting entitlements under the representation rules and with our current electoral roll numbers and district population.

Rules for the make-up of wards is set out in the Local Electoral Act. At least one other ward is required in order to implement the Council’s decision in May 2021 to establish a Māori Ward.

The proposal is based on feedback we received at public workshops we held last month and
discussions with current elected members.

“It is very important that the people of our district have a say in the way the council looks – and
that process is now underway,” Manager Strategy Angela Jane said. “Reducing the number of councillors means remuneration will increase, which may enable and attract more diverse candidates to stand. Having eight councillors is also within the range of elected members on other councils with similar land areas, populations and density.”

Submissions on the Representation Review 2021 proposal can be made through the Council
website, or in writing, using the form downloadable from the site. Submitters will have the opportunity to speak to their written submissions at a public hearing on 13 October.

Submissions close at 4pm on Monday 4 October. 

Building Connections During Lockdown

Masterton District Library staff worked hard during the Covid-19 lockdown, not only to reach out to customers online, but to ensure they were connected digitally. Library staff are enthusiastic advocates for the Skinny Jump service, which sees modems provided making 30GB download packages available for just $5 (with a 150GB monthly limit). The library provided 18 modems during lockdown, about twice the usual rate, which saw 165 provided in 2020/21.

Skinny Jump modems are available to families with children, job seekers, seniors, people with disabilities, refugees and migrant communities, and those in social housing. Cellphone coverage is required.

“We’ve really encouraged eligible people to get modems during Covid,” said acting Library Manager Tiffany Daubitz. “And staff have been fantastic during the recent lockdown, providing online stories and activities while working from home.”

Once connected, Wairarapa people have been able to connect with daily lockdown story-reading and challenges which have included chalk art, creating ‘shops’, baking, and costumes.

Life at Level 2

There are a few changes in place when visiting Council offices during the updated level 2, Delta version. When visiting our Queen Street office, you will need to wear a mask, scan in (or provide contact details), and maintain 2m social distancing.

Cash payments are being accepted but you can also make payments via the Council website.

At the library, you will also need to scan in or provide contact details. Masks must be worn at all times while in the library. Please use the hand sanitiser provided and remain 2m away from staff and other library users.

Use the self-checkouts for quicker, and contactless service. Visitor numbers in the library are being limited – please limit your visit to less than 30 minutes.

Only one person per table – furniture must NOT be moved. At Level 2, toys and children’s activities are not available, nor are other activities. Public toilets in the library are closed.

Burn Well for Our Community

Spring is here, and that means temperatures can vary significantly from day to day – it is not always necessary to have woodburners going. August saw a reduction in days of high pollution in Masterton, with five days of high pollution and just one of very high pollution.

If you’re running low on firewood, and looking to top up with wood to burn now, make sure it is dry. Using dry firewood is a good start when it comes to minimising smoke. A moisture meter to test firewood is part of the Home Health Self-Assessment Kit you can borrow from Masterton District Library.

Avoid burning coal. Coal creates more harmful pollution than wood. It contains sulphur and other elements, including mercury, lead, and arsenic. Coal is also a huge contributor to climate change.

Air Quality

Air quality measurements are based on daily levels of fine particle air pollution (PM2.5). The World Health Organization (WHO) guideline only allows three high pollution days per year.

What’s on

Monday 13 – Sunday 19 September
Te Wiki o te Reo Māori – Māori Language Week

Friday 17 September, 7pm The Black Box Sessions
Kickstart for Civic Facility – live concert via Zoom featuring a range of local, national and possibly international artists, available on Facebook through Wairarapa TV and other Facebook pages.

Monday 4 October, 4pm
Representation Review public submissions close.

Wednesday 6 October, 2pm 
Kiwi Room, Waiata House, 27 Lincoln Road
Infrastructure and Services Committee meeting

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