Joint release from Auckland Council and Waikato Regional Council
Auckland Council and Waikato Regional Council are committed to working together closely on a range of major cross-border issues faced by the two regions, say Auckland mayor Phil Goff and Waikato chair Alan Livingston.
The two new senior council leaders were commenting after Mr Goff visited Waikato’s offices in Hamilton today for an informal visit with Mr Livingston and his fellow regional councillors.
The two regions rely on each other and their futures are seen as being increasingly intertwined as time goes by.
“Auckland and Waikato have a strong, interdependent relationship, so it’s essential we co-operate on major issues affecting both regions,” said Mr Goff.
“For our part, Auckland wants to continue having a highly collaborative partnership with the Waikato.”
Mr Livingston said it was all the more important for the two regions to co-operate given the growing range of cross-boundary issues they face, such as population gains in north Waikato, the health of the Hauraki Gulf and Auckland’s use of Waikato water resources.
“We need to work hand-in-glove with Auckland to address these big picture infrastructure and natural resource issues we both face. For our part, the Waikato is committed to continue being a solid partner with Auckland.
“The issues we face together are complex ones, making it even more essential that we don’t try to tackle them in isolation,” Mr Livingston said.
Key joint issues faced by the two regions include:
- Substantial population growth occurring in South Auckland and northern Waikato, with towns such as Pokeno, Tuakau, Te Kauwhata and Huntly now acting as virtual dormitory suburbs of Auckland. Along with Waikato District Council, the Auckland and Waikato Regional councils are looking to address a range of related matters.
- With housing (where heat in the Auckland market has flowed to Waikato) and development, there is potential for even closer alignment of housing and growth strategies to ensure sufficient development capacity.
- Transport & infrastructure - the upper North Island regions of Waikato, Bay of Plenty and Auckland need to work together closely on freight and logistics matters, while an efficient, well-planned transport system is critical to the success of both Auckland and Waikato.
- Natural environment matters, including how the Waikato River supports communities and industry in both Auckland and Waikato. Sixty percent of Auckland’s water was sourced from the Waikato River catchment over the past year, while Auckland’s Watercare has lodged an application to take a further 200,000 cubic metres from the Waikato River. Water quality in the river remains an ongoing concern. Waikato is a major source of aggregates for Auckland, there are cross-border pest management issues and both regions have strong interests in the Hauraki Gulf.
- On the economic front, it’s felt there will be substantial benefit if the significant economic links between the two regions are managed in a collaborative, mutually beneficial manner.