Issued on behalf of Waikato Mayoral Forum
The Waikato Mayoral Forum says it has established a very robust process for making efficiency improvements in the way councils operate and for gathering information to help inform discussions on local government in the region.
“Through the forum, city and district councils, along with the regional council, have a very sound work programme in place to identify and exploit opportunities for saving ratepayers money through greater co-operation,” said forum chairman Allan Sanson, mayor of Waikato District.
“We are also looking to gather information through a spatial planning process for the region that will help us look over time at whether changes to the shape of local government in the region would be worth exploring.
“Mayors and the regional council chair are working together extremely well on this and I believe the people of the Waikato can be assured we are collectively steering a good course towards the future. Meeting the needs of both rural and urban communities is an essential part of our conversation going forward.”
Mr Sanson’s comments follow an initial release of ideas from the New Zealand Property Council which suggest amalgamating a range of local Waikato councils.
“The forum is open to all ideas and will consider the Property Council’s views when we have all the details,” Mr Sanson said.
“At first glance I’m not sure what problem the Property Council’s proposals are actually designed to fix. We’d be keen to engage further with them on this but, for the time being, we’re confident our work streams and discussions are serving the region’s interests well.”
Highlights of the forum’s work include:
“The forum is striving to keep the Waikato ahead of the game on all fronts, especially the cost-effective provision of good quality infrastructure, local public services and regulatory functions,” said Mr Sanson.
“Also the forum will, where appropriate, act as a collective voice for all the Waikato and articulate wherever possible a common vision for the future, particularly in discussions with central Government.
“The $2.4 billion in central Government funding for the Waikato Expressway has been a great example of what we have been able to achieve by using our collective Waikato voice in the past.”
More detail on the forum’s workstreams is available at www.mpdc.govt.nz/waikatomayoralforum