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Rergional Council Notes

November 11, 2019 November 2019 No Comments

With the local government elections now behind us and the swearing in of new councillors complete, the four councils that are responsible for Wairarapa need to get on with the business.

The three local councils and Greater Wellington Regional Council have all welcomed many new members to their teams bringing fresh ideas and an abundance of energy.  South Wairarapa and Carterton are also both headed by new Mayors Alex Beijen and Greg Laing while GWRC welcomes a new Chairman in Councillor Daran Ponter with Adrienne Staples elected as Deputy.

With all these new faces, getting on with the business will no doubt get tricky as the new elected members try to make good on their election promises and demand the change they campaigned on.

This is certainly true for GWRC which was in the spotlight on a number of fronts prior to the election.

Wellington’s buses come to mind however in Wairarapa the Proposed Natural Resources Plan would be at the forefront of many farmers concerns.

Our role as a regional council differs markedly from one part of our region to another – for some communities we are the environmental protection authority, for others its flood management, pest management, erosion control, public transport or if you’re ‘over the hill’ it could be park rangers or the harbourmaster.  Just as the Council’s role varies across the region so do the values of those people who make up our population and those who sit around the council table.  It’s like some form of arranged polygamous marriage between thirteen individuals of different race and creed.  Try marrying the practicalities of rural food production to urban ideals or a brand new set of trains to low rate increases and the only sure thing will be a messy divorce.   Add in the unpredictability of climate change as the noisy next door neighbour and you are going to have a pretty lively relationship. So off you go to the Marriage Guidance Counsellor to learn about a thing called compromise and that sometimes big dreams can only be achieved over a long time in small bites.  Being on a council teaches you that if you want to get things done you need support from your fellow councillors.

Wairarapa makes up seventy five per cent of the land area of the Greater Wellington Region but is home to just ten per cent of the region’s population therefore we have just one seat at the Council table.  Hopefully having a Wairarapa based Deputy Chair will help ensure that our voice is heard and our values considered in all decisions that affect us. 

Adrienne Staples

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