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Kawerau elderly awarded petrol money
25 November 2015

KAWERAU elderly were successful yesterday in their request for a guaranteed annual grant of $3000 to pay for transport to medical appointments in Whakatane, subject to them fronting up with financial documentation.

Kawerau District Council discussed the Kawerau Seniors Forum request at a meeting yesterday.
Deputy mayor Alistair Holmes, the council representative on the forum, excused himself from the meeting during the discussions request because of the potential conflict of interest.

Finance and corporate services manager Peter Christophers said the forum made the request after it was given $1500 in this year’s grant funding allocation.

Mr Christophers said it was half what had been asked for but that was because the applications received by the council exceeded the $17,900 budgeted for grants to community organisations.

He said if the council agreed to guarantee the annual amount then the forum would not have compete with other organisations.

Regulatory and planning manager Chris Jensen said the council gave guaranteed annual grants to two community organisations, which would be reviewed next time the long-term plan was revised.

Councillor Berice Julian said while she believed the initiative had some value, she was concerned that the forum hadn’t attached financial information with its request.

“There was no break-down of budget and that was quite an important part of the application form for community funding.

“I think it might be prudent of us to put key performance indicators behind these types of grants.”

Mayor Malcolm Campbell echoed Mrs Julian’s concerns, saying the documentation would provide much-needed financial information.

“I think they do a brilliant job but my concern is that they don’t have any details behind the financials. The whole idea is good.

We just need to have more accountability.”

The council voted unanimously to approve the request, subject to further documentation, after the motion was raised by councillor Carolyn Ion and seconded by Stephen Tuhoro.

Kawerau Seniors Forum chairman Colin Churchill said he was grateful for the council’s decision and the paperwork would be easy to provide.

“We get monthly reports from the lady that co-ordinates the transport system. We get a report on who has been taken and who the driver was.”

Mr Churchill said the transport service was established because there were some elderly in Kawerau who did not have transport to attend medical appointments.

“It was just something that was lacking. It is great news [about the council’s decision] because it saves us having to worry about trying to find alternative funding.

“We established it here because the older people are getting older and older; sometimes they get past the stage that they can drive a car and they need a bit of help.”

He said the service had proved popular among elderly Kawerau residents and he had even been contacted by Whakatane Hospital.

“I had a call from Whakatane Hospital two weeks ago asking whether we could take a woman from Whakatane to Tauranga Hospital.”

Source: Whakatane Beacon

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