Local Govt | National News Video | Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Search

 

Clear Information And Consultation Required

Your voice matters. The voice of the community matters. And it’s up to those you elect to represent your views and to act in the best interests of the community, region and nation.

It’s one of the reasons I backed Waikato Regional Council’s call for a pause on the Government’s Three Waters Reform programme at our September meeting.

The reform programme, led by the Minister of Local Government Hon Nanaia Mahuta through the Department of Internal Affairs, proposes to aggregate New Zealand’s 67 council water services into four large water services entities.

The Government has been moving at startling pace with its reform programme and, it seems to me, railroading decisions through.

While there’s a fundamental need for change, from the rhetoric in newspapers, and on television, radio and social media, there’s a clear lack of information, understanding and other options for delivery of this programme.

That’s why the Government must hit pause and take the time to carry out full community consultation that follows a proper process.

Some might wonder why a regional council is weighing into the debate when it does not own water services assets.

Well, as a regional council we do have an interest in the policies, oversight and regulation of the wider freshwater, wastewater and stormwater system, including how stormwater works in with flood management.

It’s a significant decision, and as regional leaders we have an obligation to foster a constructive dialogue and discussion about it.

Local government review

It’s my observation that the Government has perhaps got its sequencing out of order when it comes to three waters. The Future for Local Government Review would be the right place to have a deep discussion about the functions of local government, before jumping to a changed form such as that being pushed through three waters.

The local government review is being chaired by former Waimakariri Chief Executive Jim Palmer, and it will undertake a broad engagement process, with formal consultation and submissions from about October 2022. The final report is due in April 2023.

Its interim report has just been released. It’s no surprise that this first independent review of local government in 30 years has revealed that local governance of communities and their wellbeing has become quite complex.

It needs a thorough look – something it will get through this review. I welcome the opportunities to come to share my views on what successful governance could look like for the Waikato region in the future.

Improvements coming

As I write part of our region is, once again, operating under Alert Level 3 restrictions. Just as they have been for our communities, there’s no doubt the changing alert levels and boundaries have been a challenge for Waikato Regional Council too.

But staff have worked hard to ensure the level of service expected by ratepayers has been maintained, and decision making by councillors has still been able to happen.

That’s included on the future look of Te Huia. I’m immensely proud of our Waikato to Auckland passenger rail service, and it’s a huge disappointment that the Auckland boundary has temporarily stopped it in its tracks.

But staff and governors have been using this time wisely, looking at what improvements can be made to make this service a truly brilliant one.

Right now, some details are still to be ironed out and boxes ticked before I can confidently get into the details.

But there are some exciting changes we’re hoping to bring forward, which will make Te Huia a standout option for people wanting hassle-free travel into Auckland’s CBD. Watch this space!

Russ Rimmington is Chair of Waikato Regional Council. The views are his own.

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Government: Traffic Light Levels Announced


The levels at which different parts of New Zealand will move forward into the COVID-19 Protection Framework this Friday have been announced. Northland, Auckland, Taupō and Rotorua Lakes Districts, Kawerau, Whakatane, Ōpōtiki Districts, Gisborne District, Wairoa District, Rangitikei, Whanganui and Ruapehu Districts will move in at Red... More>>

ALSO:


Gordon Campbell: On Omicron, And The Bridges/Luxon Dilemma


At this early stage, the Omicron variant seems to be more infectious, and more able to bypass the protection offered by vaccines and by the antibodies generated by previous infection. The fact that it is being spread around the globe by travellers who were all presumably fully immunised and had pre-flight negative Covid tests is a bit alarming. Even so, it is still unclear at this point whether Omicron is likely to result in higher rates of hospitalisation and death than the Delta variant. Omicron will make you sick. But how sick..? More>>




 
 


Government: New Law Will Clear The Air For Tamariki In Vehicles
From today, it’s illegal to smoke or vape in most vehicles carrying children aged under 18 years old - whether the vehicle is moving or not. “Second-hand smoke poses an unacceptable risk to our tamariki and rangatahi,” Associate Minister of Health Dr Ayesha Verrall said... More>>



Government: Workplace Vaccination Requirements Extended To Cover Police And NZ Defence Force

Workplace Relations and Safety Minister Michael Wood announced today that workplace vaccination requirements will be extended to include the New Zealand Police and Defence Force in preparation for the transition to the new COVID-19 Protection Framework on 3 December 2021... More>>


RNZ: Judith Collins removed as National Party leader
Dr Shane Reti is interim leader of the National Party after Judith Collins lost a no-confidence vote. Simon Bridges was demoted and stripped of all portfolios over allegations of an inappropriate comment made five years ago at a party function. Judith Collins was voted out as National's leader today after the party was locked in a caucus for more than three hours... More>>



AUT: Aucklanders Are Less Concerned With Covid
In reaction to commentary that Aucklanders are at breaking point after more than 100 days in lockdown and that compliance with the rules is under threat, AUT Emeritus Professor of Sociology Charles Crothers says... More>>

National: Launches First Step To World-class Tech Sector

Leader of the Opposition Judith Collins says technology will create exciting careers and higher paying jobs and has the potential to transform the New Zealand economy... More>>

Council For Civil Liberties: Disgraceful Government Secrecy On Vaccination Certificates As Legislation Rushed Through
On the eve of legislation to enable vaccination passes being rushed through Parliament under urgency, the Minister has said it will not publish the relevant policy papers until ‘late January 2022... More>>

 
 
 
 
 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

  • PARLIAMENT
  • POLITICS
  • REGIONAL
 
 

InfoPages News Channels