The Herald supports discounts for late consents:
The Government has now provided details of the stick intended to “incentivise prompt processing” of consents. If the process exceeds statutory timeframes, a council must apply a discount of 1 per cent per working day, up to a maximum of 50 per cent.
The initiative is highly welcome. Figures released by the Environment Minister, Nick Smith, illustrate how the problem has become progressively worse over the past decade.
During that period, late consents increased from 18 to 31 per cent, despite a ninefold increase from 3 to 28 per cent in consents where councils allowed themselves a 20-day extension. …
Before these regulations, councils had no incentive to process resource consents on time. Given that, it is probably unsurprising that almost a third of applications are being dealt with outside the statutory time limits.
Discounts may not deliver total satisfaction to ratepayers but, at the very least, they are a substantial step in the right direction.
I am confident the incentives to process on time will have an impact.
The Press talks volcanic gloom:
The nightmare the international aviation industry has feared for years has come to pass with the eruption of the Icelandic volcano Eyjafjallajokull.
Iceland’s apparent isolation from the busiest air corridors in the world counted for little once upper-level winds conspired to blow the volcano’s massive plume of potentially damaging ash directly across much of the British Isles and on to parts of mainland Europe.
It seems preposterous for the whole world to be held to ransom by what, in geological terms, is a pipsqueak volcano.
The Dom Post looks at the UK election:
On May 6, they must decide if they want another five years under Labour, and Prime Minister Gordon Brown, or to throw in their lot with his rivals, the Tories’ David Cameron or the Liberal Democrats’ Nick Clegg. Until last week, opinion polls showed the Conservatives at or about 38 per cent, Labour about 31 per cent and the Lib Dems on about 20 per cent. Things changed markedly, however, last Friday.
That was when party leaders engaged in the first of three live TV debates, a first in Britain. Opinion polls since show a remarkable shift. This week, a Populus poll for The Times, for example, showed Mr Clegg’s party had risen 10 points in a week to 31 per cent, Labour down five on 28 per cent, and the Tories down four on 32 per cent.
The latest daily YouGov poll has Conservative 34%, Lab 29%, Lib Dems 28%. This would give Labour the most seats.
Even if the Lib Dems do not do major damage to the Tories on May 6, Mr Cameron’s party reportedly needs a national swing greater than any modern leader has achieved, in order to win even a single-seat majority.
It will be tough for them to get a majority, rather than just a plurality.
The ODT fights for Dunedin Hospital:
The threats to Dunedin Hospital and consequently to Dunedin itself, the Dunedin School of Medicine and the people of the South keep recurring.
Dunedin regularly has to staff the ramparts and fight for its hospital’s advanced status and that battle might soon begin again. Neurosurgery services, so often threatened in the past, are under fire with proposals that all six South Island neurosurgeons be based in Christchurch. …
As Dunedin School of Medicine dean Dr John Adams said this month, the loss of neurology has the potential to affect the whole teaching environment.
The service deals with about 350 patients a year, including scheduled surgery and, most significantly, emergency treatment. In accident situations, for example, it is a very long way from Te Anau or Invercargill to Christchurch, even by helicopter, when half an hour can be crucial to survival.