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Regional  Council Notes

April 10, 2018 April 2018 No Comments

It’s that time of year again when Councils start talking about their Long term and Annual Plans.  Mention these subjects to most people and their eyes glaze over especially if you start asking them to read these documents and make submissions to Council.  I’m sure most residents would rather go to the dentist than get involved in these processes.

The trouble is that both these plans are critical in shaping and running the district that you live in and they are your chance to have a say on how that is done.  This is the only opportunity you get each year to influence how the rates are collected and spent.

Successive governments have recognised that most people just can’t be bothered trying to wade through huge documents trying to find the bits that affect them.  Even when they do find them, the explanations can be complicated and may be hard to understand.

To fix this Councils are required to put out a consultation document, in plain English, that explains the key changes, projects and outcomes proposed in their Plans.  This makes it a whole lot easier to understand what is proposed and how it might affect you or your family.

Greater Wellington Regional Council’s consultation document is out now and covers several areas that impact the Wairarapa.  It also incorporates proposed changes to the Revenue and Financing Policy.  Although it sounds boring this is worthy of a closer look as it proposes to radically alter the way we are rated for public transport and flood protection.

It’s fair to say that the old model for Public Transport in particular could best be described as a ‘dogs breakfast’ that was long overdue for an overhaul.  It lacked transparency and equity which the new proposed model addresses. 

Flood protection was also overly complicated varying from property to property and subsidized fifty per cent by the region from the general rate.  The new policy proposes doing away with the contribution from the general rate and introduces a targeted rate solely for flood protection.  This sounds straightforward however the down side is that those more greatly affected will pay more.  This means that most properties in Wairarapa will pay more for flood protection under the new policy if it is adopted.

There simply isn’t room here to explain the intricacies of these matters so I urge you to either pick up a copy of Investing in our Extraordinary Region or go to www.whatmatters.co.nz  have a look at what’s outlined and let us know what you think.  Good, bad or indifferent it is vital that we know what Wairarapa people feel.  We only have one voice at the council table and it would be really good to have some collective clout to back that one voice up.

Adrienne Staples

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