Let's get on with it, says Taranaki Regional Council Chair
Let's get on with it, says Regional Chair
29 October 2013
David MacLeod, re-elected today as Taranaki Regional Council Chairman, says the region’s economy and environment are both in a good space and the challenge now is to keep the momentum up.
Elected unchallenged for his third term as Council Chairman, Mr MacLeod (pictured) says although Taranaki enjoys New Zealand’s highest regional per capita GDP, at $78, 000 a year, and its environmental indicators are good to outstanding, the region cannot rest on its laurels.
“We need to be ambitious, we need to be optimistic and we need to continue making good decisions,” he says.
He says the region’s economic well-being and generally good-quality environment is the result of hard work and smart thinking across the whole community – its people, organisations, businesses and councils.
“This includes the Taranaki Regional Council. The Council’s slogan – working with people, caring for Taranaki – is more than mere words. It’s what we do. And Council remains firmly focused on its mission: to work towards a thriving and prosperous Taranaki.”
He says the Council is committed to financial responsibility and has a strong balance sheet, no public debt and the lowest rates per household in New Zealand. “Although I know we will always be opened-minded about the cost versus benefits of any proposals that come before us, I also know that we will work hard to maintain our proud financial record.”
The Council’s priorities in the coming three years include:
• Finalising a new Regional Fresh Water Plan in place that will maintain and enhance Taranaki’s resources while efficiently providing for their use and development by some of New Zealand's most important industries. “This will have to be achieved giving effect to the new National Policy Statement for Fresh Water and proposed changes to the RMA, and in many respects a more polarised political environment,” says Mr MacLeod. “Building on the collaborative approach that was pioneered here in Taranaki, I know that we will get a best-practice outcome and I am looking forward to the challenge.”
• Production of the next five-yearly Taranaki state of environment report.
• A peak in fencing and planting as the Council’s flagship Riparian Management Programme moves towards completion. This project is transforming the Taranaki landscape. Progress will also be ramped up in the Council’s other major programmes including the Self-Help Possum Control Programme, the biodiversity programme and hillcountry and erosion control programmes.
• Maintaining an efficient and comprehensive approach to processing, monitoring and where necessary enforcing compliance with hundreds of resource consents. “We already publish more detailed compliance monitoring information than any other local authority as we aim to let people know how consent holders are behaving,” says Mr MacLeod.
• Reviewing the region’s pest animal and pest plant strategies and combining them into a single strategy, taking into account an amended Biosecurity Act and a National Policy Directive that is yet to emerge.
• Completing a major and complex upgrade of the Waitara flood control scheme. “As a Council we are determined that Waitara should have a similar level of protection to other urban communities.”
• Regularly reviewing the region’s passenger transport services, and continuing to push for Taranaki to receive a fair slice of the national funding pool for road.
• Cementing in an effective partnership with New Plymouth District Council to maintain Yarrow Stadium as a top venue, and implementing a new asset management plan for the world-class Pukeiti property.
• Ensuring Port Taranaki Ltd continues to have excellent governance and an effective relationship with the Council, given the port’s prime role as a business enabler in the region.
At today’s Council meeting, Cr David Lean was elected unopposed as Deputy Chairman, his third term in the role.