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Will this port weather the storm?

Fonterra and Maersk sail into the Port of Tauranga as their North Island hub.

But Doug Owens sees storm clouds on the horizon.

Doug Owens, Regional Councillor and son of a founder of the Port, acknowledges the announcement by Fonter-ra consolidates the clear vision of the port’s owners and sound local management that has delivered continued growth for it over the last 50 years.

“The storm clouds, however, include proposed Central Government reforms of Local Bodies and the RMA”.

“The divide and rule nature of the Government’s Local Body Reform legislation is pitting one council against another, community against community and this is simply the wrong approach”.

“I am seeking support from the community to defend the current ownership of the Port against any raid by Treasury to tap into this asset for politically inspired purposes, dressed up as reforms. Nationally, these strate-gic economic assets must be retained by the communities that built them”, he said.

“The Regional Council environmental protection provided to all Bay of Plenty communities is also being under-mined with changes to the RMA, which is a step backwards.”

“The RMA needs to be amended and strengthened rather than gutted, as proposed by the Prime Minister, in favour of unbridled development for a few industrialists who seek to extract ever higher returns from our in-creasingly fragile land and water”.

Cr Owens said “The proposed dumbing down of the Regional Council through changes to the RMA, forced amal-gamation and corporatized unitary councils are a threat to the environment and the leadership of our commu-nities”.

“This clumsy and expensive process of forced amalgamation will not unite the BOP, which will be an opportunity lost”.

“I am joining with other regional and local councillors and concerned residents of the Bay of Plenty and New Zealand, to propose incremental positive reforms”.

“We should strengthen our local democracies while removing duplication and the wasting of resources by adopting a co-operative approach to common services, such as IT and the use of public capital“, Cr Owens said.

“We must offer alternative approaches that, over time, will build up and strengthen all of our communities”.

(The graphic below is the work of Doug Owens and is not representative of the views of the BOPRC or the other BOP Councils.)


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