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Wairarapa councils join regional forum

Wairarapa councils join regional forum

Wairarapa’s local authorities have thrown their weight behind a plan to ensure the Wellington Region remains internationally competitive.

The Masterton, Carterton and South Wairarapa Councils have decided to join the region’s six other local bodies to co-ordinate the Wellington Regional Strategy for growth. The involvement of the Wairarapa councils was confirmed at a Forum meeting last week (31 March).

The Wairarapa councils, working with the Wellington, Hutt, Porirua and Upper Hutt cities, the Kapiti Coast and the Greater Wellington Regional Council, will ensure that the region’s future economic and population growth is sustainable.

Masterton Mayor Bob Francis, speaking of behalf of the three councils, said the future of the Wairarapa was inextricably linked with Wellington. He welcomed the chance to develop a vision for the combined region, which had already successfully adapted to significant economic and social changes in the past 20 years.

But it was time to look forward 10, 20, even 50 years, and think about the integrated economic, transport, infrastructure and environmental decisions needed to continue that success.

Wellington Mayor Kerry Prendergast said the project will protect the region’s sense of place, and the values and communities that contribute to the region.

“The Regional Strategy project is the perfect opportunity for our local government leaders to think outside the boundary – both metaphorically and geographically. We have to think genuinely in a regional sense, rather than on a council-by-council basis if the region is to continue flourishing, and we have to plan and work as a team if we want to foot it – and win – globally.”

The Regional Strategy will take two years to develop at a cost of around $1.1 million. An initial framework for consideration is expected by June this year.

The regional economic development agency, Positively Wellington Business, is heavily involved in the project. Wellington businessman Murray McCaw was last year appointed Chairperson of the Forum, which comprises two elected representatives from each of the six councils and an appointee to represent the three Wairarapa councils. The Forum will meet about six times a year to co-ordinate work on the strategy. Mr McCaw’s role is to act as an independent Chair of the Forum.

A Strategic Partners Forum of representatives of sectors such as business, infrastructure providers and the Government will act in an advisory role. Ara Tahi, the iwi liaison group of Greater Wellington, will be invited to act as advisors on matters of significance to tangata whenua.

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