Waikato Plan is close to launch
A plan which aims to provide a single voice for the Waikato on important regional issues is now two months away from being launched.
Matamata-Piako District Council meets this week to decide whether to adopt the Waikato Plan.
The initiative involves the region’s councils and identifies key projects and problems to tackle.
A leadership group will be formed to decide which initiatives will be tackled first and its proposed Hauraki deputy mayor Toby Adams act as the council’s representative of that group.
The council’s acting senior policy planner Niall Baker’s report on the Waikato Plan said MatamataPiako would contribute $35,873 for the 2017/18 year towards the Waikato Plan.
The council has $50,000 for regional co-ordindation projects such as the Waikato Plan.
All councils were asked to consider adopting the plan by August and it would be launched in August or September.
The plan’s initial focus will be on 10 key actions, some of which were already in progress, such as the Waikato Hospital Medical School, commuter rail from Hamilton to Auckland, Waikato Expressway extension from Cambridge to Piarere, with connections to the Bay of Plenty.
There was also ‘‘aligned planning’’, which was to prepare Waikato councils for changes to the Resource Management Act, economic development, regional facilities funding project and partnering with iwi.
Overall the Waikato Plan would aim to provide the region’s communities with a stronger voice when it came to lobbying the Government on important issues, and no doubt, for central funding.
It would enable the region to deliver the right rural social services to support population retention and economic development.
It would identify the top priorities for the next 30 years, be able to respond to the changing needs of communities, Baker’s report said.
There was also a focus on making sure Maori aspirations were integrated into joint initiatives, and land, water and natural environmental and heritage places were ‘‘recognised as precious and finite’’.
‘‘We want the Waikato to be nationally and internationally connected so we can continue to contribute to New Zealand and the world,’’ the report said.
Baker’s recommendation was for the council to adopt the Waikato Plan.
Hauraki deputy mayor Toby Adams.