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Consultation season

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We’re very fortunate in New Zealand to live in a fairly stable democracy.  The flip-side of this is that we’re generally becoming more apathetic, and often only engage with political issues after decisions have been made that affect us negatively.  We then typically ask why there wasn’t more consultation.

Phil Mackay

Well right now, in local government at least, there’s more consultation than you can shake a stick at.  Local councils are facing a perfect storm of cost inflation, increased interest rates, and a drop in revenue, leaving a significant hole in their finances.  They are therefore in the unenviable position of proposing double-digit rates increases, and seeking public feedback on a range of initiatives to reduce costs and increase revenue.

Paula Southgate wants the long-term plan to be as community developed as possible

Hamilton City Council is consulting on its 2024-2034 Long Term Plan, closing on April 21.  Alongside the LTP, the council is asking for feedback on their revenue and financing policy, rates remissions and postponements policy, development contributions policy and growth funding policy.

Some key points of interest from Hamilton City’s consultation include feedback on the proposed walking and cycling bridge, part of a contract with the Infrastructure Acceleration Fund which delivers $150 million of central government funding for HCC.

There is also a proposal to remove two hours free parking in the central city area and introduce ‘demand responsive pricing’ with new technology. Proposed Development Contributions are a significant increase, particularly in the Peacocke growth area and some infill areas.

Tourism at Hobbiton is one of the priorities for Matamata-Piako

Matamata Piako District Council is also consulting on their Long Term Plan until April 21. It includes a range of proposals to limit new spending, while highlighting a few key projects that they view as priorities.

Waikato Regional Council is about to begin consultation (April 2 – May 2) on their Long Term Plan, which covers a host of environmental issues, Public Transport, flood protection and natural hazard infrastructure.

In Waipā District, council have opted for an “enhanced annual plan” process, which enables them to defer the Long Term Plan decision-making until next year.

Waipā is consulting to April 26 on proposed fees and charges and Cambridge Connections

Of particular note is the Cambridge Connections transport plan.  Waipā is seeking feedback on options, which include potential locations for an additional bridge in Cambridge and the proposal to limit the existing Victoria (high-level) Bridge to pedestrian and cycle traffic only.

Likewise, Waikato District Council is presenting an enhanced annual plan which is also open for feedback until April 26.

Whether you’re concerned about increased rates or rent, or worried about service cuts or key projects, I strongly suggest you take the opportunity to have your say on the decisions that are being made by our local councils right now.

They can be easily found on most council websites, and while I’ve covered a few of the councils around the Hamilton Metro area here, other councils in the Waikato are also consulting.

Waipā Mayor Susan O’Regan speaks with residents in Rukuhia about the draft spatial plan.

 

 

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About Author

Phil MacKay

Phil Mackay is Business Devolpment Manger at Hamilton-based PAUA, Procuta Associates Urban + Architecture