Time to lobby your de­ci­sion mak­ers

South Waikato News - - Your Paper, Your Place - ALAN LIV­INGSTON

After the rigours of 2016’s lo­cal body elec­tions, we’ll shortly be get­ting into the hurly burly of the run up to this year’s gen­eral elec­tion.

While, for some, the cap­i­tal is sim­ply a far off place swept by po­lit­i­cal winds the re­al­ity is it’s where we need to have in­flu­ence to en­sure op­ti­mal re­gional pros­per­ity.

The Waikato’s abil­ity to be heard at the high­est lev­els in Welling­ton has been given a boost with the el­e­va­tion of Hamil­ton MP David Ben­nett to join Taupo’s Louise Up­ston in min­is­te­rial ranks.

David and other Gov­ern­ment and op­po­si­tion MPS from our re­gion are all pas­sion­ate about ad­vo­cat­ing for the Waikato and lo­cal gov­ern­ment lead­ers will con­tinue to work closely with them.

The pre-elec­tion pe­riod will pro­vide op­por­tu­ni­ties for the Waikato to get even more closely in the ears of the var­i­ous po­lit­i­cal par­ties.

As we do this, it will help to have the many parts of the Waikato speak­ing with one voice, in­clud­ing lo­cal gov­ern­ment, busi­ness and other in­ter­ests.

Through the Waikato May­oral Fo­rum and other mech­a­nisms, we’ve done much on this front al­ready through the strong co­op­er­a­tion that has de­vel­oped amongst lo­cal gov­ern­ment lead­ers and oth­ers over the way ahead for the Waikato.

The con­sen­sus has led to greater lo­cal gov­ern­ment and busi­ness ef­fi­cien­cies, and is due to pro­duce even more ben­e­fits this year and into the fu­ture.

That sol­i­dar­ity and solid per­for­mance helps en­sure we are at­tract­ing at­ten­tion and be­ing lis­tened to by Gov­ern­ment.

For ex­am­ple, just re­cently Eco­nomic De­vel­op­ment Min­is­ter Steven Joyce came to Hamil­ton to launch The Waikato Story, a tool­kit of re­sources to help drive eco­nomic growth by build­ing a strong, con­sis­tent pro­file of the mighty Waikato.

The Waikato Story de­fines what’s unique about the Waikato and pro­vides a frame­work to help bet­ter com­mu­ni­cate the re­gion’s value to po­ten­tial busi­ness in­vestors, work­ers, vis­i­tors, stu­dents and fam­i­lies, in New Zealand and around the world.

It is a key pri­or­ity of the Waikato Means Busi­ness strat­egy de­signed to lift re­gional eco­nomic per­for­mance.

The strat­egy’s fo­cus goals in­clude in­creas­ing me­dian house­hold in­comes to above the New Zealand av­er­age and tak­ing the Waikato into the up­per third of re­gions for eco­nomic per­for­mance.

Be­sides the Waikato story, ex­am­ples of Waikato Means Busi­ness projects in­clude boost­ing ties be­tween schools and em­ploy­ers, draw­ing up a Ma¯ori eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment ac­tion plan, and look­ing to strengthen eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment gen­er­ally.

A new Waikato Plan – help­ing the re­gion to bet­ter talk with one voice on the key pri­or­i­ties and is­sues it faces – is due to be fi­nalised next month and then go out for public con­sul­ta­tion.

This will be the first time such a plan has been achieved in the Waikato.

It aims to join the dots within the re­gion and is be­ing keenly awaited by Waikato stake­hold­ers, as well as those fur­ther afield (in­clud­ing cen­tral Gov­ern­ment de­ci­sion-mak­ers).

I am con­fi­dent all this col­lec­tive work will reap even more solid re­wards over time.

The pre-elec­tion pe­riod will be a chance to in­flu­ence de­ci­sion mak­ers.

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