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South Waikato heads to Parliament to seek long term co-investment

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South Waikato District Council, local iwi Raukawa, community and business representatives took South Waikato to Parliament on Wednesday 31 August, to advocate for long term co-investment to address multigenerational inequalities.

South Waikato District Council Mayor Jenny Shattock says the small district – population 25,500 and with main towns of Tokoroa, Putāruru, Tīrau and Arapuni – is achieving remarkable growth, but is still the fifth most deprived community in New Zealand. 

“Delivering enduring change cannot be achieved through short term funding,” says Mayor Shattock. “We are not asking for a handout but greater collaboration between Government agencies and local stakeholders. We are keen to have Government support for expedited processes, consents and other non-cash incentives.”

Mayor Shattock says new multi-million-dollar projects announced over the last two years and now being built in South Waikato include the Ofi dairy processing facility in Tokoroa, Better Eggs’ free range forest farm, set to become the country’s largest egg producer, the 254 villa Putāruru Country Estate retirement village and the South Waikato Trades Training Centre in Tokoroa.

South Waikato is also home to major existing industries including Oji Fibre Solutions’ Kinleith wood pulp and container board mill, Fonterra’s Lichfield facility that employs 230 people and serves 322 dairy farm suppliers, and Waratah, a world leading developer and supplier of mechanised wood harvesting machinery.

“We are delivering growth. Our challenge is to ensure it benefits all. Only a true partnership between Government, Council and iwi can achieve the change MPs came into politics to deliver.”

Raukawa Tumu Whakarae (General Manager) Maria Te Kanawa says “Ko Raukawa te tangata.  Ko Raukawa te iwi.  The iwi Raukawa are the tangata whenua of the South Waikato District, and our tūpuna settled in this rohe over 400 years ago. 

“Our commitment to the hauora of our whenua and our iwi is expressed in our role as kaitiaki for this rohe.  Raukawa has been providing health, social, cultural and environmental support services for over 30 years, and will continue to do so as we aspire towards our vision of Raukawa kia mau kia ora – a thriving Raukawa iwi.”

South Waikato Pacific Islands Community Services Trust Chief Executive Akarere Henry says the Pacific people of South Waikato are very resilient. “Pacific people have contributed significantly to the growth and development of our amazing community. We aspire to realise the moemoea of our tupuna through partnerships with sustainable investment.”

South Waikato community groups that support people’s wellbeing were an integral part of the delegation. They included Raukawa Charitable Trust, South Waikato Investment Fund Trust (SWIFT), South Waikato Pacific Island Community Services, Momentum Waikato, the Generation Programme, Impact Hub Waikato, the Waikato Wellbeing Project, WORKIT, Te Waka, Trinity Lands, Trinity Koha Dental Clinic, Transform Aotearoa, Pokaiwhenua Catchment Group and Halo Charitable Trust. The South Waikato delegation’s visit to Parliament was made possible thanks to funding from SWIFT.

SWIFT Chief Executive Amanda Hema says it’s an exciting time for the South Waikato district. “We’re growing at a rapid rate, and we are delighted to support this new era of development for our community.

“Being able to showcase that growth and vibrancy to decision makers and potential partners is critical to ensuring the momentum continues and that our community benefits from opportunities as they present themselves.

“We are at the start of a new era for South Waikato and continued investment is required to maximise the outcomes for our community.”

Mayor Shattock says South Waikato’s strategic advantages for business include its central location with strong road and rail links to the Golden Triangle of Auckland, Hamilton and Tauranga that accounts for 60 per cent of New Zealand’s gross domestic product. 

“Companies appreciate we are a business-friendly local authority that is actively investing in infrastructure to facilitate the establishment and relocation of businesses.

Other companies that joined the South Waikato delegation to Parliament were integrated logistics provider Lincoln Logistics and worm composting company MyNoke.

Mayor Shattock says, “The participation in this Parliamentary roadshow by the Council, Raukawa, our local and regional community partners and businesses illustrates our belief that partnerships are the only way to improve wellbeing outcomes for our community.

“The organisations here are delivering local place-based solutions. The scale, scope, and impact of these is only constrained by the availability of funding.”

The South Waikato District Council, Raukawa, community and business groups exhibited their products and services to Parliamentarians in the Grand Hall of Parliament House on Wednesday 31 August from 5.30pm to 7.30pm. South Waikato’s Members of Parliament, the newly appointed Speaker Adrian Rurawhe, MP for Te Tai Hauāuru, and Hon Louise Upston, MP for Taupō, will introduced Mayor Shattock, who will welcomed MPs to the event.

Paul Bowden, Jenny Shattock and Susan Law.

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