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Local Government

Long Term Plan Four main submission areas

As you read this, WRC will be in deliberations for four days considering the Long Term Plan. On the fifth day, is a full Regional Council meeting with an agenda of 153 pages. My sincere thanks to all of you who took the time to make a submission, and to those that made the time to present their submission in person or online.
 |  Warren Maher  | 

We have had about 2,000 submissions with 156 people indicating they wished to be heard. Contrary to the opinion of some, your submissions are heard and will be considered in the deliberations. It is a tough balance to keep the rates rise as low as possible recognising the current cost of living pressures, while also committing to levels of service under inflation pressures, plus the ever-increasing challenges in the biosecurity and biodiversity spaces.

The feedback on the five main submission topics now drops to four with the imminent closure of the economic development agency Te Waka. This does leave the question of what an economic development agency for the Waikato Region will look like in the future.

This then leaves the Natural Heritage Rate, Region Wide Public Transport Rate, Regional Development Fund and Primary Industry Compliance Rate as the main items, alongside several other topics raised in the submission process. So, this is what your 14 WRC Councillor’s will be debating over the next week, with the final decisions being made and publicized on 25 June, 2024.

Thank you to all that have emailed me with your support for the continued running of the Thames Connector Bus Service. This has been a successful trial of a long-awaited service between Thames and Coromandel put in place as a trial with Government funding. Waikato Regional Council has included this service in its low-cost, low risk funding application to Waka Kotahi, and we are hopeful, as an existing service, it will receive Government backing when they announce the funding round in mid June. There are also proposed services for the east coast towns of Tairua/Pauanui, Whangamata, Whiritoa and Whitianga to Thames, but with the indication from the Government to pull back from public transport, I don’t feel confident. Perhaps a letter to your local MP may help.

Finally, the next round of hill country erosion funding is opening with letters being sent out to 508 landowners and managers. This funding pool is available to help with fencing and planting and means you could receive up to 70% for works to reduce soil erosion and protect forest remnants on steep land. Anything we can do together to prevent silt entering our rivers and streams, and ultimately our oceans, has to be an improvement.

warren.maher@waikatoregion.govt.nz

Waikato Regional Councillor for Thames Coromandel