12 Feb 2009

Northland council backs down over moving staff

6:49 pm on 12 February 2009

The Far North District Council has backed down on a controversial proposal to move council staff from Kaikohe to Kerikeri, after vigorous public protest.

More than 50 people marched through Kaikohe and into a meeting at the council chambers on Thursday in protest at the move.

Councillors at the meeting resolved to review the issue.

Planning and consent staff were moved to Kerikeri last year, with the council saying it made sense to have them in a developing area.

The council had flagged the idea of moving up to 40 more workers to Kerikeri with the aim of saving money on repairs needed to the old Kaikohe headquarters.

Community leader Dot Field said the move would be the death knell for Kaikohe.

She said Kaikohe shops had been closing one by one, and if the council office is shut down only the prison, courts and dole office will remain in the town.