BOP Regional Councillor
The reform of local government will get underway later this year with some legislative change and work being done on how to get local government working better.
Let’s not forget that many of the cost drivers for local government have been beyond the control of local government and in fact sit with government to resolve. There is room for decluttering the regulatory framework and for finding solutions to cost of infrastructure. But we must also be cautious and be aware that the tensions between economic progress and environmental sustainability won’t be easily resolved. This is a time for wise heads and longer term thinking. Here in the Bay it is hoped that the spirit of cooperation amongst all 7 Councils will continue with the focus being on ways of working better for the BOP and the component local subregions.Its easy to get caught up in the Auckland juggernaut slipstream but we should focus on our place and the incredibly unique brand that we have
The recent community vote against the amalgamation of Nelson and Tasman is a timely reminder that at the end of the day it is the local communities who will decide who represents their interests and what structures they think are best. We are living through really difficult and constrained financial times. We know we have to be careful and, prudent whilst also trying to see beyond the short term and look at what will continue to make the BOP prosperous and environmentally safe and sound. The Regional Council has always tried to prioritise its spend across the Bay according to need and this includes addressing flood damage in the Eastern BOP and Lakes water cleanup in Rotorua for the coming financial year. The Council has introduced a Regional Infrastructure fund of $40m over the next 10 years to enable funding of regional infrastructure. We are all acutely aware that the Regional Council has different roles to those of the City and District Councils but that our various communities want to see fairness applied to regional spend.
There’s no doubt that the Regional Council is blessed to derive nearly one third of its revenue from investment income. This is public wealth which needs to be managed and spent with the utmost care. There will no doubt be lots of attention and discussion around the best use of such public wealth and open robust debate is healthy. To date the revenue of the Council has been applied largely to protecting and enhancing the environment .I’ll bet this coming weekend, across the Bay, there will be many who will be pleased that the places we enjoy so much are able to be respected and cared for.