Waikato Plan is close to launch

Matamata Chronicle - - Out & About - LAWRENCE GULLERY

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.

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