Busy week starts with LTP feedback

Larry Foster

COLUMN

We have a full-on week with Long Term Plan (LTP) hearings on Monday and Tuesday, then a council meeting on Thursday.

After the very successful What’s The Future Tairawhiti? (WTF) campaign, which engaged with most areas of our community with meetings, event presentations and social media, it is now time to listen. There were 18,000 draft LTP documents distributed to households, 1900 consultation documents distributed to the public, 26 community meetings, and 25,334 social media interactions including Facebook posts, views, likes, comments and shares.

Now we hear the feedback via the 347 submissions received, with 77 of those wanting to be heard at our LTP hearings. We will be deliberating each day after hearing the submissions.

I would like to thank all the submitters for their great contribution to the LTP process. The 10-year Long-Term Plan is the backbone from which the council plans and funds its future. It is one of our most important documents, and is a huge undertaking by staff who dedicate many months to completing it.

The LTP is reviewed every three years to make sure we are on track or need adjusting, before going back out to the community for consultation. Councillors are your elected voice and ears, so it is very important for us to hear your concerns and your vision to support a thriving and safe Tairawhiti.

The agenda for the full council meeting on Thursday comprises the representation review final proposal, an LTP decision report, committee recommendations to council, the Local Government Wellbeing Amendment Bill, brown marmorated stink bug biological control contingency application, the adoption and operative date for changes to the Tairawhiti Plan, and the chief executive’s activity report.

Last Thursday we heard submissions on the representation review, which determines the way our region is democratically represented. Rick Thorpe from the Tairawhiti Residents Association gave his submission supporting community boards and fewer councillors as a possible scenario for the future of fair representation. We face a big dilemma with a declining population in our rural areas, which now do not meet the requirements of the Local Government Commission for fair representation. Our population is actually now increasing, but mostly in the city.

We looked at all possible boundary and ward changes to comply with the commission, but they did not in any way future-proof our electoral system. We spent hours deliberating many possible scenarios, with one becoming more and more appropriate as we ran through the pros and cons.

As you probably already know, we have recommended a momentous change to the way our region could be represented at our next election. This recommendation of eight to 10 councillors representing and being voted by the whole region, with three community boards representing the Coast, the western region and the city, will be discussed on Thursday with staff feedback.

There are many community boards throughout New Zealand, some more effective than others, so we will make sure we get the right fit to suit our region’s requirements.

If this scenario is approved it will mean voters will vote for the region’s councillors and also community board members. As an example, the make-up of a community board could be four elected members who co-opt four other community members on. The ultimate situation would be to have a good mix of area, gender and age representation. Exciting times are ahead, and feedback is very welcome.

We have a full-on week with Long Term Plan (LTP) hearings on Monday and Tuesday, then a council meeting on Thursday.

After the very successful What’s The Future Tairawhiti? (WTF) campaign, which engaged with most areas of our community with meetings, event presentations and social media, it is now time to listen. There were 18,000 draft LTP documents distributed to households, 1900 consultation documents distributed to the public, 26 community meetings, and 25,334 social media interactions including Facebook posts, views, likes, comments and shares.

Now we hear the feedback via the 347 submissions received, with 77 of those wanting to be heard at our LTP hearings. We will be deliberating each day after hearing the submissions.

I would like to thank all the submitters for their great contribution to the LTP process. The 10-year Long-Term Plan is the backbone from which the council plans and funds its future. It is one of our most important documents, and is a huge undertaking by staff who dedicate many months to completing it.

The LTP is reviewed every three years to make sure we are on track or need adjusting, before going back out to the community for consultation. Councillors are your elected voice and ears, so it is very important for us to hear your concerns and your vision to support a thriving and safe Tairawhiti.

The agenda for the full council meeting on Thursday comprises the representation review final proposal, an LTP decision report, committee recommendations to council, the Local Government Wellbeing Amendment Bill, brown marmorated stink bug biological control contingency application, the adoption and operative date for changes to the Tairawhiti Plan, and the chief executive’s activity report.

Last Thursday we heard submissions on the representation review, which determines the way our region is democratically represented. Rick Thorpe from the Tairawhiti Residents Association gave his submission supporting community boards and fewer councillors as a possible scenario for the future of fair representation. We face a big dilemma with a declining population in our rural areas, which now do not meet the requirements of the Local Government Commission for fair representation. Our population is actually now increasing, but mostly in the city.

We looked at all possible boundary and ward changes to comply with the commission, but they did not in any way future-proof our electoral system. We spent hours deliberating many possible scenarios, with one becoming more and more appropriate as we ran through the pros and cons.

As you probably already know, we have recommended a momentous change to the way our region could be represented at our next election. This recommendation of eight to 10 councillors representing and being voted by the whole region, with three community boards representing the Coast, the western region and the city, will be discussed on Thursday with staff feedback.

There are many community boards throughout New Zealand, some more effective than others, so we will make sure we get the right fit to suit our region’s requirements.

If this scenario is approved it will mean voters will vote for the region’s councillors and also community board members. As an example, the make-up of a community board could be four elected members who co-opt four other community members on. The ultimate situation would be to have a good mix of area, gender and age representation. Exciting times are ahead, and feedback is very welcome.

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