Healthy Rivers plan change af­fects all

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

Re­gional col­lab­o­ra­tion on two ma­jor projects that will have a cru­cial bear­ing on the Waikato’s fu­ture is en­ter­ing a key phase.

The Waikato Plan is an over­ar­ch­ing blueprint for boost­ing re­gional pros­per­ity, while the Healthy Rivers Wai Ora Re­gional Plan Change 1 is de­signed to pro­tect the health of the Waikato and Waipa rivers.

Both have in­volved lo­cal gov­ern­ment, iwi and key stake­hold­ers putting in a mas­sive amount of work to­gether.

Now we’re needing to hear what the pub­lic thinks be­fore we col­lec­tively move to the next phase.

At time of writ­ing, a joint com­mit­tee in­volv­ing lo­cal gov­ern­ment lead­ers and stake­hold­ers was due to sign off a draft Waikato Plan for con­sul­ta­tion.

The Plan process was kicked off by the Waikato May­oral Fo­rum, in­volv­ing may­ors and the re­gional coun­cil chair.

The Plan is de­signed to be a cat­a­lyst for a step change in re­gional per­for­mance, en­abling coun­cils, busi­ness and stake­hold­ers to speak with one voice on key is­sues in dis­cus­sions with the likes of cen­tral Gov­ern­ment.

It’s the first time our coun­cils and part­ners have joined up to col­lab­o­ra­tively ad­dress the large scale eco­nomic, so­cial and other chal­lenges - and op­por­tu­ni­ties the re­gion faces.

It re­flects a se­ries of agree­ments be­tween agen­cies on the top pri­or­i­ties for ac­tion and lays the foun­da­tion for a de­tailed and co­or­di­nated process to im­prove re­gional well-be­ing on a va­ri­ety of fronts.

High-level pri­or­i­ties ex­pected to in­clude:

· plan­ning for pop­u­la­tion are change (growth and de­cline)

· con­nect­ing com­mu­ni­ties through tar­geted in­vest­ment · part­ner­ing with iwi Maori · ad­dress­ing is­sues around the al­lo­ca­tion and qual­ity of fresh wa­ter

· ad­vanc­ing re­gional eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment.

Some of the top ac­tions due to be out­lined in the Waikato Plan in­clude col­lab­o­ra­tion on a re­gional de­vel­op­ment strat­egy, iden­ti­fy­ing re­gional pri­or­i­ties for ser­vice and tech­ni­cal in­fra­struc­ture, in­te­gra­tion of the Waikato and Auck­land trans­port net­works and on­go­ing im­ple­men­ta­tion of the Waikato Means Busi­ness eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment strat­egy.

As a may­oral fo­rum mem­ber, it’s ex­tremely sat­is­fy­ing to see a lot of hard work by a lot of peo­ple start­ing to bear fruit.

We know the Plan it­self won’t be some sort of magic wand. But, im­ple­mented as an in­te­grated pack­age, we can ex­pect the Plan to make a real dif­fer­ence, in­clud­ing mak­ing the Waikato an eas­ier place to do busi­ness and help­ing cen­tral Gov­ern­ment and in­vestors un­der­stand our pri­or­i­ties.

The pub­lic sub­mis­sions process is due to open in March so keep an eye out for a chance to have your say.

Mean­while, the Healthy Rivers Wai Ora pub­lic sub­mis­sions pe­riod is due to close very soon on 8 March.

We’ve been get­ting a good num­ber of sub­mis­sions al­ready and we know in­dus­try sec­tors have been hav­ing in­for­ma­tion meetings. We en­cour­age peo­ple to use these and other in­for­ma­tion sources to get in­formed and let us know your views.

This pro­posed plan change for the rivers has ma­jor en­vi­ron­men­tal and eco­nomic im­pli­ca­tions so it’s es­sen­tial the hear­ings com­mis­sion­ers hear clearly what peo­ple’s views are to help them make the best de­ci­sion on what’s fi­nally adopted.

· Alan Liv­ingston is chair of Waikato Re­gional Coun­cil and the Waikato May­oral Fo­rum. The views are his own.

Waikato Re­gional Coun­cil chair­man Alan Liv­ingston.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from New Zealand

© PressReader. All rights reserved.