Saturday, 25 May 2019


Thames Coromandel District Council is now taking applications for the 2014/2015 rates rebate year.

The TCDC Tairua-Pauanui office is holding two rates rebates clinics for anyone needing help applying or processing their rates rebate applications. The application form  can be downloaded from here or can be picked up from any of the TCDC offices. The closing date for applications is 30 June 2015.

The Rates Rebates Clinics are on -

Thursday 14 August 2014
9:30 am - 11:30 am
Pauanui Library

Thursday,14 August 2014
1:30 pm - 4:30 pm
Tairua Library, 2 Manaia Road

The Rates Rebate Scheme was established in 1973 to provide assistance to low-income homeowners on the cost of their rates. The Government increased the rates rebate thresholds for the 2014/15 rating year following a review that was recently completed.

The following changes came into effect from 1 July 2014 -

Maximum rebate has increased from $595 to $605.

Income threshold has increased from $23,870 to $24,250.

The additional income allowance for dependants will remain at $500 per dependant.

This means the income threshold for a full rates rebate for the 2014/15 year is $24,250 and is increased by $500 for each dependant in the household.

Although a ratepayer's income might exceed the income threshold, a rates rebate could still be available, depending on the rates amount and number of dependants.

Rates increase for Coromandel property owners

The Thames Coromandel District average property rate will increase by a projected 2.21% for this coming financial year (2014/2015).

This is less than what was forecast in Thames Coromandel District Council’s draft 2014/2015 Annual Plan, which was a projected increase of 2.6%

"I want to thank all the staff and our financial team who have worked hard to keep the rates increase to a minimum for our ratepayers, given that there's a lot of big ticket projects we're investing in, like the Coromandel Harbour and Coromandel Great Walks," said Mayor Glenn Leach.

"Development contributions have also been less than we hoped for, which means that the interest on the loans for some of our additional capacity infrastructure, like the three wastewater treatment plants, is being  passed on to our current ratepayers in the short term.

"We have been able to make some savings in other ways, through cost efficiencies in our operational expenditure and also reducing next year's capital expenditure budget by $4 million.”

Mercury Bay rates on a property with a value of $400,000 will increase from $2,521 to $2,561and in Tairua-Pauanui it will increase from $2,527 to $2,567.

Heart, Foreigner and Three Dog Night coming to Whitianga

Touring both the North and South Islands this coming summer, 2013 Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inductees Heart, along with legendary rock band Foreigner, will combine with the ever-faithful hit-makers Three Dog Night for the Summer Concert Tour 2015, a can’t miss opportunity for lovers of classic rock to get their latest fix.

Amidst the surrounds of Whitianga Waterways Arena - Greenstone Entertainment brings to audiences an incredible line up of musicians, much akin to their previous successful tours of Lynyrd Skynyrd, Starship and 10cc, Pat Benatar and Neil Giraldo, Bachman & Turner and America, The Doobie Brothers and Little River Band, CCR and Dr Hook.

Amanda Calvert, CEO of Greenstone Entertainment said, “We are excited to announce the inclusion of Whitianga as part of our successful Summer Concert Tour which also includes Taupo and Gibbston Valley Winery in Queenstown. We have entered into a 5 year agreement with Whitianga Waterways to host one of the shows each year and are starting off with an incredible line-up. It will be the first time that both Heart and Foreigner have toured throughout our beautiful country. These three legendry artists together, bring a huge song list and will have everyone rocking throughout the day. The afternoon concert ticks all the right boxes and combined with it being Auckland Anniversary long weekend should reach capacity crowds as it does in Taupo and Queenstown. We will be supporting local suppliers and businesses and have a limited number of local price tickets at only $89…”

2013 Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inductees Ann and Nancy Wilson first showed the world that women can rock when their band, Heart stormed the charts in the ‘70’s with hits like “Crazy on You,” “Magic Man,” “Barracuda,” “Straight On,” and so many more. Heart continued topping the charts through the 80’s and 90’s with huge hits like “These Dreams,” “Alone” and “What About Love.” Nearly 35 years after their first big hit, Ann and Nancy Wilson were back in the Billboard Top 10 in 2010 with Heart’s “Red Velvet Car” album and a Top 5 DVD (“Night at Sky Church”), followed by 2012’s “Fanatic” release. Later that year, the pair were asked to perform “Stairway to Heaven” as the finale to the 2012 Kennedy Centre Honours tribute to Led Zeppelin - visibly moving Robert Plant, Jimmy Page and John Paul Jones and bringing the entire audience to their feet.

Led by Songwriters Hall Of Fame inductee Mick Jones, and with ten multi-platinum albums and sixteen Top 30 hits, Foreigner is universally hailed as one of the most popular rock acts in the world, with a formidable musical arsenal that continues to propel sold-out tours and album sales, now exceeding 75 million copies.  In May of this year, the download versions of six of Foreigner’s hits were certified gold and platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America.  That is more than any other Classic Rock artist and illustrates Foreigner’s dominance of the genre in the digital era.  Responsible for some of rock and roll’s most enduring anthems including “Juke Box Hero,” “Feels Like The First Time,” “Urgent,” “Waiting For A Girl Like You,” “Double Vision,” “Hot Blooded,” “Cold As Ice,” “Dirty White Boy,” and the worldwide number one hit, “I Want To Know What Love Is,” Foreigner continues to rock the charts more than thirty years into the game.

Grammy-nominated Three Dog Night are not content resting on their legacy alone - a legacy that boasts over 50 million units sold and 21 straight top 40 hits, including the three number one Billboard singles “Mama Told Me (Not To Come),” “Black and White,” and “Joy To The World” plus chart-toppers “Shambala,” “Liar" and “One." Always working to expand their audience, the band have embraced and been embraced by 21st century music technology as new fans discover their music online as well as at the good old fashioned record store. While their catalogue releases from this decade alone have sold well over a million copies, the band also debuted their first new studio recordings in nearly 25 years with the "double-A sided", digital single “Heart of Blues/Prayer of the Children”.

Experience three of the world most definitive classic rock acts, kicking off the live music calendar in 2015 in spectacular fashion.

Heart, Foreigner and Three Dog Night will play at the Whitianga Waterways Arena, Whitianga on Sunday 25 January 2015 (Anniversary Weekend). Local tickets are limited - $89 (plus booking fee) at the Whitianga i-site, the Thames i-site, the Tairua Info Centre, the Pauanui Info Centre and Info Plus Whangamata. All other bookings are $99 (plus booking fee) through (0800 TICKETEK).

Along with our regular Mercury Bay news and articles, keep up to date with the latest events and happenings in the Whitianga, Pauanui and Tairui areas on our coming events page.


Council approves funding for rock walls to further protect Mercury Bay beaches

Work has been approved to preserve Buffalo and Cooks Beach from further coastal erosion following the severe storm that hit the Coromandel in early June.

Thames Coromandel District Council has approved $991,440 out of its Hazard Management Activity to complete the Stage Two extension of a rock wall at Buffalo Beach as well as construction of an extension to the Cooks Beach rock wall.

Council has approved these works after some sections of Buffalo Beach between the end of the newly finished NZTA wall extension and the Buffalo Memorial Area eroded up to 1m following the storm in early June. Large areas of the beachfront at Council's Purangi Reserve, Cooks Beach has also been lost to coastal erosion. The Cook Memorial at Cooks Beach had to be removed and a number of pine trees were also lost.

"People come to visit both these places because of the outstanding coastal lifestyle," said TCDC Mayor Glenn Leach. "This June storm isn't a one-off and what's frightening is the rate that these areas of beach are disappearing.  It's only going to get worse, so we need to do something about it.

“The work that's being planned to deal with this erosion is cost-effective and already part of our Coastal Management Strategy."

The work at Buffalo Beach will entail extending the existing rock wall another 120m, costing $633,100 with construction planned to start late 2014/early 2015 and be completed in 2-3 months, subject to resource consent being obtained.

At Cooks Beach an amount of $358,340 has been approved to carry out design and resource consenting for an extension of the existing rock wall.

Brophy’s Beach at the northern end of Whitianga has also suffered significant erosion during the early June storm. Funding has earlier this financial year been approved for a geotextile bag to be constructed at the beach to curb further erosion. Work is scheduled to start early in the TCDC financial year commencing 1 July 2014.

Learn more about the Cooks Beach area here.

Mercury Bay resident one of three recipients of 2014 Community Service Awards

Graeme Wood, Steve Hart and Jane Poutu are the recipients of our 2014 Community Service Awards, held every two years.

"This is a special occasion," said Mayor Glenn Leach, explaining why he was taking the rare step of wearing the Mayoral chains, "To recognise very special people in the Coromandel who work at making our communities better places to live, often as volunteers and with little recognition."

Fifteen people were nominated for the Community Service Awards, which was decided by Thames Coromandel District Council's Special Community Service Awards Committee made up of Deputy Mayor Peter French and Councillors Jan Bartley and Diane Connors.

Steve Hart is a Mercury Bay resident. He’s one of the founding members of the Kuaotunu Land Search and Rescue organisation and has played a critical role in the development of a highly effective search and rescue team.

Steve has been actively involved as a searcher, search manager and held the chairman's position for ten years. In this work he's made significant contributions to the Coromandel community and the welfare and lives of many individuals and their families.

He is also an honorary Fisheries Officer and a supporter of Mercury Bay Forest & Bird.

Steve was nominated for the award by Kuaotunu Land Search and Rescue.

Property values in wider Mercury Bay steady and stable

The performance of the wider Mercury Bay residential property market this year to date, compared to 2012 and 2013, makes interesting reading.

In Whitianga, 38 properties were sold in 2012, 60 in 2013 and 87 in 2014. Across the river, Cooks Beach saw the sale of 20 properties in 2012, eight in 2013 and 14 in 2014. Hahei had nine sales in 2012, four in 2013 and ten in 2014.

Matarangi had 14 sales in 2014, 41 in 2013 and 54 in 2014.

Tairua saw the sale of 24 properties in 2012, 28 in 2013 and 25 this year. In Pauanui 34 properties were sold in 2012, 65 in 2013 and 48 in 2014.

Most of the sales so far this year in Hahei, Cooks Beach, Pauanui and Matarangi were to people living in the bigger cities with the confidence to buy a holiday home, although some sales were made to existing residents who up- or down-scaled or even bought a second home to be able to accommodate their whole family for the holidays.

Matarangi had a big jump in sales in 2013 and 2014, partly because of the more realistic pricing of sections in the failed Hanover/Allied Farmers development. The development is now sold out.

Whitianga is showing that it’s benefitting both from people buying holiday homes and people moving into the area permanently. Many of the purchasers are looking towards retirement, buying now to make the move in a few years’ time. There are also working families selling up in the bigger cities and purchasing a less expensive home in Whitianga to enjoy a mortgage free lifestyle.

Tairua always had interest from a good mix of purchasers looking to live there permanently or to buy a holiday home. That trend seems to be continuing.

Property listings in the Thames Coromandel district are down almost 30 per cent on a year ago. That is reflected in the fact that it takes on average 137 weeks to sell a property in the district, almost a year down on the five year average of 185 weeks.

It’s fair to assume the general increase in activity and reduction in listings mean an increase in property values, but that’s not the case. "Residential property values are steady and stable," said Shane Rasmussen from Townshend Cullen valuers in Whitianga. "But with the Reserve Bank’s loan to value rules and increasing interest rates, most people have real difficulty to pay even for the cheaper properties coming onto the market."

Shane’s sentiment is shared across New Zealand by a number of industry experts. Shamubeel Eaqub, chief economist of the New Zealand Institute of Economic Research, said last week that the Reserve Bank’s latest raise of the official cash rate was a huge mistake. House prices across New Zealand fell by 21 per cent (after an adjustment for inflation) since 2007, while prices in Auckland are up by 20 per cent.

"Policymakers really will have to address the inequality between regions," said Shane.

So, what to make from the state of the property market in the wider Mercury Bay area? If you list your house at a realistic price, it will sell - and it won’t take too long. But you won’t be able to buy a place of similar quality in Auckland (not that you necessarily want to), not even remotely. That can change, of course, but it will take political will.

The question now is - should it become an election issue?


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Route for Gold Rush Rally of NZ finalised

The Coromandel round of  Rally NZ (now called the Gold Rush Rally of Coromandel) takes place on Saturday 23 August and is a new addition to the national rally calendar.

On Friday 22 August, cars and crews will be on display at a pre-event rally show in Blacksmith Lane, for everyone to get up close to the cars and stars.

On Saturday morning, rally teams will depart from the Mercury Bay Multi-Sport Park for nine special stages covering close to 140km of competitive distance.

The nine stages are -

1- From Ernslaw 1 (11.08km) just outside of Whitianga.

2- A tour down the coastline, through the 309 Road and a race against the clock for the first service of the day back at the Mercury Bay Multi-Sport Park.

3- 23kms of Tapu–Coroglen, starting at the Coroglen side.

4- Another coastline tour north to Castle Rock for the next stage, starting on the forestry road back to join the 309 Road for the second half of the stage.

5-6 - Another service back at the Sports Park before a repeat of this 47 kilometre loop.

7 - A spectacular tarmac publicity stage beside Whitianga Waterways.

8 - A repeat of the 11.08km Ernslaw One test.

9 - The final stage is a second pass of the Whitianga spectator stage, along a section of Joan Gaskell Drive, to thrill the crowds before the celebrations on the finish ramp just before 5:00pm conclude the event.

"We're really excited that an event of this calibre is being held in the Coromandel," said Thames Coromandel District Council mayor, Glenn Leach. "We're looking forward to hosting all the crews, as well as visitors and supporters who are coming here, for the event. This is a fantastic opportunity for people to see why the Coromandel is such an amazing place to visit and an excellent opportunity for our businesses to benefit from the influx of people coming in during the winter months.”

Some of the stages will entail road closures during racing. Public meetings are now being arranged for anyone who may be affected. TCDC, Rally organisers and Destination Coromandel will also meet separately with any local businesses that may be affected by any road closures.

The public meetings are planned for -

Monday 14th July - Mercury Bay Multi-Sport Park. Time 7:00pm.

Tuesday 15th July - Tapu Hotel. Time 7:00pm.

Wednesday 16 July - Coroglen Tavern. Time 7:00pm.

Meanwhile signs advertising the road closures will also be going up in early July.

The roads in this area were last used in a national event during the 1979 Motogard Rally of New Zealand. The contrasts of the Coromandel Peninsula ranges, rolling farmland and twisting coastline will provide a spectacular backdrop for National Rallying action.

Gold Rush Rally of Coromandel Clerk of Course, Steve Foster said the Coromandel's roads will provide a fantastic location for the competition. "Competitors will know they have been in a rally at the end of this event. There is everything from technical twisting sections in the hills, to fast flowing roads in the valleys," said Mr Foster. “We’ve had fantastic support from the Thames Coromandel District council in putting this event together. The combination of some great roads, the excellent Mercury Bay Sport Park facility as event base and Whitianga as the host town are set to make the Gold Rush Rally a real highlight of this year’s rally calendar.”

Busy time for Whitianga Volunteer Fire Brigade

A fire in the early hours of this morning destroyed a two storey house in Mill Road, Whitianga.

The house has a Lockwood-type wooden structure second storey on top of a block work ground level. The fire started upstairs.

About 20 members of the Whitianga Volunteer Fire Brigade responded to the call-out to the fire. When they arrived at the scene, the house was well-involved with the fire. They evacuated one person who was asleep downstairs before the fire was put out.

An inspection to determine the cause of the fire will take place later today.

About 9:00am this morning the Fire Brigade received a further call-out to a medical emergency in Whitianga.



Should Thames-Coromandel District Council sign the Local Government Leaders' Declaration on Climate Change?

The Mercury Bay Informer is a highly popular community newspaper, based in Whitianga. The paper is distributed throughout the Coromandel Peninsula, coast to coast from Thames to north of Colville.