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Rural Auckland has a voice

17 December 2010

Rural Auckland has a voice

The Mayor has established a Rural Advisory Panel to ensure the rural community has a say in Auckland’s future.

In the lead-up to the amalgamation of Auckland councils in November, many rural residents were concerned that their voice would be lost. To ensure they are heard, Len Brown has established a panel which will be chaired by Franklin Ward Councillor Des Morrison.

The panel, which met for the first time today, is part of the Mayor’s commitment to roll out 100 projects in the first hundred days of the Auckland Council.

Its role is to advise the Auckland Council on issues affecting rural residents and ratepayers.

The rural communities will be represented by Councillor Morrison, Rodney Ward Councillor Penny Webster, Rodney Local Board Chair Bob Howard and Franklin Local Board Member Bill Cashmore.

Rural-based industries will also have input, with representation from Federated Farmers, New Zealand Forest Owners, Fonterra, New Zealand Winegrowers, Rural Contractors Federation and the equine sector.

“The willingness of the rural sector to be involved is very encouraging,” says panel chair Cr Morrison. “The sector members wanted to meet before Christmas, and high on the agenda was the Auckland Plan. This is the Spatial Plan required by the legislation setting up the Auckland Council."

“The Auckland Plan will have a profound impact on the future of Auckland’s rural areas,” says Len Brown. “It is critical that rural viewpoints are taken into account early in the process.”

Federated Farmers Auckland vice-president Wendy Clark says the panel is a golden opportunity to have a rural perspective involved in regional planning.

“This is a really positive start because people are talking to each other at the beginning of the Spatial Plan process. We don't want to repeat the mistakes of other regions where the dialogue only started after decisions had been made.

"There has been a lot of goodwill among all the participants and that's what is needed to make Auckland work. The rural industry representatives have been mandated by the Rural Industry Group to represent their sector and as land-based businesses, we have a vested interest in getting it right.”

ENDS

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