Telecom money for plantings

A $75,000 "goodwill gesture" from Telecom will go towards native plantings at Harbour Cone, Middlemarch and Warrington, in Dunedin, after the company sought to make amends for the failures of its XT system.

But the company's problems do not appear to be over, as thousands of users north of Taupo experienced problems yesterday with calling, text and data services, following yet another outage.

The Dunedin funding was part of $250,000 the company last month promised to South Island community projects in the wake of network problems earlier this year.

The Dunedin City Council will vote to confirm the details of how it will be spent next week.

A report to a Dunedin City Council community development committee meeting next Tuesday said Telecom had originally suggested the total amount be allocated to Harbour Cone and neighbouring rural communities.

But following discussion with community and recreation services staff, it was decided Harbour Cone, bought by the council in early 2008 for $2.6 million, would get $35,000, while $15,000 would go towards plantings in Warrington, and $10,000 worth to Middlemarch.

Other planting projects that were part of the council's Let's Grow Native International Year of Diversity programme would get $15,000, to go to projects in areas including Tomahawk, Te Rauone, Long Beach, Waikouaiti and Ocean View.

Community and recreation services would liaise with community boards over specific details of the plantings.

Dunedin Mayor Peter Chin said the goodwill gesture was "tremendous", and would pay for initiatives that were planned, but for which funding had not been identified.

"It's helped plantings to happen sooner than they might otherwise have."

The XT network outage yesterday, affecting the top of the North Island, began at 9am, and the service was back to full operation by 1pm.

Telecom spokeswoman Katherine Murphy said the trouble seemed to have originated at individual cell sites linked to one of the Auckland-based radio network controllers.



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