Support For Ruapehu Communities To Get Through Changes
Mayor Don Cameron said that a primary focus for Council in the year ahead will be to support our communities to get through and adjust to some of the major changes coming their way.
"There are a number of significant issues that we need to face at a district, regional and country level that are going to be very testing for Council and our communities over 2021,” he said.
"It will be a challenging year for both central and local government balancing the need for significant infrastructure investment while responding to global issues such as climate change and COVID-19.
In addition to staying on top of major infrastructure spending requirements notably in roading and 3 waters we need to be taking greater account of climate change impacts in our decision making.
The release of the Climate Change Commission’s draft plan for slashing New Zealand’s emissions states that we will all need to engage in "strong and decisive action now".
With Government stating that they are committed to picking up the pace there are a number of significant implications for predominately rural economies such as Ruapehu including reducing animal numbers, changes to animal, pasture and feed management, and a new approach to forestry.
We also have other issues such as the housing crisis that we need to urgently start addressing if we are to avoid its growing social and economic implications.
Mayor Cameron noted that the underlying challenge for Ruapehu communities was the cost of responding to these changes.
Many of these challenges are being driven by global trends or events largely outside our local control, and we believe that Government should provide greater financial support to help Council and our communities, including greater targeted assistance and support to low-income communities.
The silver-lining at this time is that the cost of money has never been cheaper and Government should be taking full advantage of this to catch-up on the backlog of investment and support councils such as ours.
We will be continuing to work hard with Government to obtain the financial assistance we need and ensure that our residents and ratepayers don’t need to pay for everything,” he said.