Waikato Plan reaches ma­jor mile­stone

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The first full draft of a ground­break­ing plan for the en­tire Waikato is aimed at cre­at­ing a pow­er­ful new ‘‘voice’’ for the re­gion and es­tab­lish­ing a solid base to boost its well-be­ing.

The ini­tial draft – which fo­cuses on a wide range of projects and ac­tions – was on Mon­day re­ceived by the Waikato Plan joint com­mit­tee made up of coun­cil lead­ers and key stake­hold­ers.

‘‘The Waikato Plan is the first time coun­cils, cen­tral govern­ment and other agen­cies in our re­gion have worked to­gether to cre­ate one plan that speaks with one voice about im­por­tant is­sues.

‘‘It is a mile­stone doc­u­ment,’’ said the joint com­mit­tee’s in­de­pen­dent chair Mar­garet Devlin.

The com­mit­tee con­firmed the gen­eral ap­proach the draft plan was tak­ing and pro­vided feed­back on the de­tails of it.

That will be taken into ac­count in the fi­nal draft put out for public con­sul­ta­tion next year.

The draft plan iden­ti­fies re­gional pri­or­i­ties and de­tails how these can be achieved by out­lin­ing who is re­spon­si­ble for what, and in what time­frame.

‘‘The Waikato Plan, for the first time, joins the dots to en­sure that com­plex is­sues, which don’t sit neatly with one agency, will be ad­dressed sys­tem­at­i­cally by work­ing to­gether,’’ Devlin said.

Four pri­or­i­ties are out­lined in the draft plan: plan­ning for pop­u­la­tion change, get­ting in­vest­ment right, part­ner­ing with iwi Maori, and ad­dress­ing is­sues around the al­lo­ca­tion and qual­ity of fresh wa­ter.

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