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Local Government

Waikato Regional Council Update

Happy New Year – what a great start to summer we have had on the Coromandel Peninsula; the Kopu-Hikuai road opened, the weather stayed fine with just enough rain to keep the farms, lawns and gardens growing and water restrictions kept to a minimum in most areas.
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Last week Councilors returned to the chamber to work through a scheduled 5 day Long Term Plan process. This sets the WRC Budgets for the next 10 years with a detailed focus on the next 3 years. The Council signed off on the proposed budget to go out for consultation with an average rate rise of 6%, 8% and 3% for each of the next 3 years.

Good news for the Coromandel is the increased investment proposed for Biodiversity and Biosecurity including work programs around Wilding Pine, Kauri Dieback and Coastal Marine and an increase to Marine services and Regional Transport. The Natural Heritage Fund structure with increased investment into, is being looked at to continue to provide support for all the dedicated Community groups we have out there doing so much good work for the environment.

I congratulate WRC staff for being able to show savings across the organization when pressured with inflation and a desire by myself and some other Councilors to keep rate increases to a minimum. Residents and Stake Holders will now have the opportunity to submit on the proposed Long Term Plan and I urge everyone to take this opportunity to have your priorities heard. The 8% in year two is partly due to the possibility of WRC incorporating a Regional Public Transport rate in our budget while removing it from the Territorial Authorities rates. The business case states this should improve efficiency, and better enable inter-district and inter-regional services, so we need to hear your opinion.

Finally, I would like to acknowledge Regional Manager Emily O’Donnell and her team for their exemplary hard work in securing $642,000 for flood resilience work on the Coromandel as part of the $2.286 million funding for the Waikato, which was received from the Government Flood Investment Fund. Not only do we see the fantastic work staff do on the ground, but this shows the commitment behind the scenes to secure as much Government funding for the region as possible.

So as life gets back to normal after the summer break, please do not forget to make time to walk your local beach or bush tracks and take time to enjoy this beautiful part of the country we live and play in.