Stratford Press

Council in great shape for the future

- Ka mihi nui ki a koutou katoa, greetings to you all. David MacLeod, Chair

This will be my last 'Chairman's chat' as I prepare to say farewell to Taranaki Regional Council after serving as an elected member for 22 years, the last 15 of those as chairman.

I want to start by thanking everyone who has supported and helped me over those years including my fellow councillor­s, the amazing staff and, of course, the public. It's only from working as a team that we have managed to achieve so much over the last two decades and that comes down to the kotahitang­a I have seen again and again from the people of Taranaki.

As the Māori proverb says:

He aha te mea nui o te ao What is the most important thing in the world?

He tangata, he tangata, he tangata It is the people, it is the people, it is the people.

It is the people who made my time on the Council such a pleasure. It is people who have made it a privilege to serve. It is people who have and who will continue to take our region forward.

A huge amount has changed since the early 2000s as the Council has worked hard to improve lifestyles and support livelihood­s across the region. There are too many programmes to list all of them but I'm particular­ly proud of the work to improve our waterways through riparian planting and the efforts to control pests like possums through our Towards Predator-Free Taranaki programme.

I've also been pleased to see how the Council has moved towards a partnershi­p approach with tangata whenua and stepped up to fix Yarrow Stadium when it was discovered the East and West Stands were earthquake-prone.

There is an enormous amount of change to come such as freshwater reforms, Three Waters reforms, Resource Management Act reforms, local government reforms and adapting to climate change but I know the Council has the right people and right approach to meet all of these challenges and opportunit­ies.

Ngā mihi maioha, thank you with appreciati­on.

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