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Regional Council notes

May 15, 2019 May 2019, Regular Features No Comments

It’s that time of year again when Councils turn their minds to doing the budgets for the next financial year.  It’s called the Annual Plan and by far the majority of residents and ratepayers don’t take much notice of it unless there is something happening in their district that really irks them.

In previous times councils spent an awful lot of time presenting their plans at public meetings but as people’s time became more and more squeezed, attendance at these meetings became fewer until it reached a stage where there were usually more staff and councillors than attendees.  Now while this type of connection with the public suits some, it obviously isn’t going to interact with the majority and that is a challenge for local government up and down the country.

Now for the district councils the services they deliver affect most residents on a daily basis.  Roads, footpaths, signage, water supply, sewerage, street lights and amenities are all reasons for people to take an interest in the ongoing plans and budgets of their neighbourhoods.

For Regional Councils though the challenge of connecting to people is even greater.  Many of the services we deliver relate more to the future than the here and now which takes the most attention.  That is of course unless you catch the train.

The Wairarapa train gets a lot of attention, especially when it is late or breaks down.  The biggest hurdle to replacing it is the cost as the preferred electric/diesel units are eye wateringly expensive and beyond the budget of ratepayers alone.  To buy new trains we need central government subsidy and, as those in power at the moment are more public transport focussed than their predecessors, we are hopeful that there is a light at the end of the tunnel, so to speak.  

The problem is that even if we had the money approved tomorrow, the tender process, building and delivering new trains would take four to five years so we must work with what we have for now.  In the meantime government has approved funding for track and system upgrades in Wairarapa and on the other side of the hill.  Work is already underway. 

Greater Wellington Regional Council is responsible for much more than just public transport though.  Flood management, erosion, pest control, and fresh water quality are all reasons for you to pick up our plan and have a look.  These things all impact on Wairarapa.

To find out more or make a submission please visit haveyoursay.gw.govt.nz/ontrack2019-20 If you would prefer a hard copy please call 06 378 2484 or email info@gw.govt.nz and we can send you one in the mail.

Adrienne Staples

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