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Council Celebrates Successful Long Term Plan Hearing Of Oral Submissions

It's been a significant week for Horowhenua District Council as we wrap up the Long Term Plan (LTP) 2024-2044 hearing of oral submissions. We extend our heartfelt thanks to the community members who participated, sharing their insights and advocating passionately for the issues closest to their hearts.

"This year's oral submissions were marked by unprecedented involvement from parts of the community that we typically see less, if at all, during these consultation processes. Students from Levin Intermediate School took a brave step to present their visions for the future of Horowhenua, highlighting their hopes and the support they wish to see from Council," says Mayor Bernie Wanden.

In addition to our younger residents, various community groups contributed their voices bringing forward messages of hope and urgency despite the challenging decisions that lie ahead for Council.

This broad community engagement is vital and it enriches Council's decision making process and ensures that a wide range of perspectives are considered. The hearings are part of the LTP process. Last week on Wednesday 1 May and Thursday 2 May 2024, a total of 52 individuals and groups spoke to their submissions at the LTP Hearings.

The formal consultation period for the LTP ran from 15 March to 15 April 2024. This year Council sought to increase engagement and interaction with our community.

"Given the complex topics surrounding this LTP, this round of engagement provided an excellent chance to explore new methods of reaching out to our community. Our focus was on youth and other underrepresented groups, whose feedback was underrepresented in the Long Term Plan 2021-2041 Amendment consultation," adds Mayor Bernie.

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Throughout the engagement and consultation phases, our goal was to dismantle barriers that hinder community involvement in local government processes.

"We strived to ensure that everyone in the community felt heard, that their feedback was valued, and they trusted in the transparency and fairness of our decision-making processes. To achieve this, we launched a multi-channel communications and engagement campaign designed to meet the community where they are located, at times that are convenient for them and in ways that foster active participation and dialogue, Mayor Bernie explains.

During the consultation period, 34 events took place in Levin, Foxton and Shannon including five online events that drew in more than 300 people at youth and community gatherings, six school visits including Levin East Primary, Waiopehu, Horowhenua, and Manawatū Colleges, and a special elective for 17 Levin Intermediate students focusing on council processes over five weeks.

Additionally, there were five Citizen Panel workshops with over 120 participants and four "Cuppa with Councillor" sessions across local libraries. Council also engaged in multiple meetings with various groups, including local iwi and hapū, Greypower and other community and ratepayer groups, emphasising a broad and inclusive approach to public consultation and participation.

Council received a total of 499 formal submissions as part of the feedback on the LTP 2024-2044.

Next steps

Council will meet to deliberate on Wednesday 22 May and Thursday 23 May 2024. This will be a public meeting where Councillors will consider all the information they’ve received, and make decisions about the matters consulted on and proposed to be included in the LTP.

Council will then meet to adopt the final Long Term Plan 2024-2044 on Wednesday 26 June 2024.

"As we deliberate on the future of our district, we are reminded of the vibrant and active engagement we've seen. Our community is clearly deeply invested in shaping a positive future for Horowhenua," Mayor Bernie ends.

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