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Baby boomers, silver surfers and first timers drive response

Baby boomers, silver surfers and first timers drive lively response to Greater Wellington proposals

Public interest in key regional projects is alive and well, based on the community’s response to Greater Wellington Regional Council’s 10 Year Plan and proposed Revenue and Financing Policy.

Consultation closed on 29 April, with the plan receiving 338 submissions and the policy 423.

More than 80 people are scheduled to attend hearings on the documents, which begin in Carterton where 40 Wairarapa residents will present their views to Councillors on Tuesday 22 May, followed by two days of hearings at the Council Chambers in Greater Wellington’s central city office in Walter Street.

“We’re impressed with the level of interest in what we plan to deliver to the community in the years ahead, and in the number of submitters who want to put their views directly to councillors in the hearings” says Greater Wellington Chair, Chris Laidlaw.

“From the outset we wanted to be challenged by the community. With 761 combined submissions across both of the documents it’s clear that the message has been heard and the community has responded.

“We’re glad to say first time submissions featured strongly, showing people feel strongly about the region’s future. We’re also happy that the balance of submissions favoured our position on further investment in the region. Responses to the Revenue and Financing policy were equally lively.

“Hearings on submissions will give people a further say and they will guide our discussion on the final 10 Year Plan and Revenue and Financing Policy. Both will be adopted by Council in late June.”

The 10 Year Plan asked residents how they felt about key issues facing the region including regional resilience, public transport and how Greater Wellington uses rates to fund these activities. A summary of community attitudes to the key questions asked during consultation is below:

Issue% Support % Oppose% No answer
Have we got the right balance between rates and services?35%29%36%
Should we significantly invest in the Wairarapa Line? 59%12%29%
Should we further investigate Wairarapa water storage options? 47%24%29%
Should we improve the capability of WREMO? 63%15%22%

Other key points of interest of interest in the community’s response to the 10 Year Plan were:

• There were a high percentage of first-time submitters on the consultation. 52% of all submissions were first-timers – “which probably reflects the multi-channel approach to engagement we used to drive consultation, as well as particular interest in some of the issues involved,” says Cllr Laidlaw.

• The majority of submissions were received via the on-line submission form – “Online engagement is growing and will increasingly shape how we and other councils communicate with communities. It’s not the preserve of the young, either, half of our submitters were over 45 and nearly a quarter over 65,” says Cllr Laidlaw.

• The older you are the more engaged you are: under 18 (1%), 18-24 (2%), 25-34 (10%), 35-44 (12%), 45-54 (14%), 55-65 (16%) and over 65 (21%).

• Engagement by district was highest in Wellington and Wairarapa followed by Kapiti.

Greater Wellington also consulted on proposed changes to its Revenue and Financing policy, which outlined a new model for allocating funding for both flood protection and public transport.

Under the proposed policy, funding for flood protection would move from an averaging model to a benefits based approach in which those who are most affected by flooding would pay a higher share of the cost. This is more in line with other regional councils across the country.

Consultation on both the 10 Year Plan and the proposed Revenue and Financing Policy closed on 29 April.


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