Howick and Pakuranga Times
Botany and Ormiston Times : Howick and Botany Times Wednesday November 12 2014
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BEST VALUE MONEY TENT ON THE MARKET FREE SUNWALL EA now 127064-V2 A caring support service Megan Mullin is helped out of the Manukau East shopping shuttle by volunteer driver John Skelton. Times photo Wayne Martin By Marianne Kelly UNTIL about three years ago, Megan Mullin was an independent senior citizen, but her sight failed and she could no longer drive her car. Now, the Howick woman is par- tially sighted and also widowed, so has no-one to drive her to shop- ping centres. Consequently, like many others, she’s grateful that a minibus serv- ice is available to pick her up at her door every Thursday for an alter- nate visit to Pakuranga Plaza and Botany Town Centre. The Manukau East shopping shuttle is operated by Manukau East Council of Social Services (MECOSS) and is a godsend for those using it. It operates a morn- ing pick-up, two hours shopping and an early afternoon return to people’s homes. The $5 charge covers the Auck- land Council minibus rental mile- age fee for a return trip and a cup of coffee or tea on arrival at the shopping centre. The pick-up area covers Buck- lands Beach Peninsula, Pakuranga, Howick, Botany, Dannemora, and Chapel and Stancombe Roads. At this stage it doesn’t cover Flat Bush. But MECOSS secretary-treas- urer Peter Hancock says: “If there’s a growing need, the service could be extended, especially as the area is opening up. “But we want people to know it’s available. Numbers on the shop- ping shuttle have been falling off and we’d like to boost them again. But many people are not aware of the service. “These people are quite house- bound. So it gets them out and gives them time to chat and walk together.” John Skelton is one of the shop- ping shuttle drivers and is assisted by co-driver, his wife Adele, on board to help people on and off the vehicle. Companion shoppers and mobil- ity equipment can be booked by those needing extra assistance. Mr Skelton has been a shuttle driver for about six years. “I’m doing it for the community,” he says. “I’m retired and have lived in Howick for a long time. “Not many know about the service. It’s very worthy for many people without transport. It’s a pity numbers on this service have fallen off.” MECOSS is more well-known for its twice-daily Monday-Friday patient transport service to Botany and Manukau SuperClinics and Middlemore Hospital. It receives a contribution from Counties Manukau Health and its pick-up area includes Buck- lands Beach Peninsula, Pakuranga, Howick, Dannemora, Botany and Flat Bush. Some people on the patient shut- tle are regulars, Mr Hancock says. “People are more aware of it because there’s a lot of information in places, such as doctors’ rooms. But the shopping shuttle has not been to the fore. “It’s about getting people where they want to be and out of their houses.” Bookings for the shopping shut- ■■ tle must be made a minimum of four days in advance of each Mon- day. To book, phone 0800-632-677 and leave a message if there is no answer. Bookings for the patient trans- ■■ port service are recommended as soon as a clinic letter is received and must be made a minimum of two working days in advance of travel. Return trip fares are $10 with a Community Services card, $15 with a Super Gold card, $20 for all other adult patients, $10 for one accompanying adult, and free for up to two children under 14 accompanying an adult patient. Clients should be mobile enough to enter and exit the shuttle bus independently with minimum help and wheelchairs cannot be accom- modated in the vehicle. For more information, timeta- ble and to make a booking, phone 0800-637-284, 9am-5pm Monday to Friday. COUNCIL RATES Looking for fairer way of rating F■ ➤ romPage1 “Percentage-wise is the only way we can judge and there is a diverse range of increases in values, which suggests there are probably no grounds to specifically lift the UAGC,” he says. “ To stick with the status quo has the least impact on the greatest number of ratepayers. “Otherwise why not go straight to the $900 ceiling?” Mr Brown continues to call for a change to the way rates are set and a committee of Local Government NZ, chaired by Auckland councillor Penny Webster, is looking at options used around the world to find a better and fairer way. “ We have a serious challenge in our ability to fund a city going forward,” he says. “Smaller towns throughout the country have no rating capacity to replace their wastewater systems. We’re looking long and hard about how to get a sustainable level of funding.” Ideas being discussed include a property sale uplift percentage, a tourism tax on hotel room rates, and a standalone city tax based on income. “I’ve always argued that the GST the council returns to the Government from rates is a tax on a tax,” Mr Brown says. “So 15 per cent of the rates take is GST and goes to the Government – no point at all.” Auckland Council decisions made on November 5-6 form the draft of the LTP 2015-2025, which will be developed for adoption on December 18. Public submissions will be called for from late January to mid-March and amendments will be made. The final LTP will be adopted in June next year.
Howick and Botany Times Wednesday November 5 2014
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