Yes. The NPDC has bit the bullet and is committed to upgrading the Three Waters infrastructure. It also believes it has a mandate through record submissions to build the Tūpari Kino Active Community Hub and an extension of the Coastal Walkway to Waitara. These are bold, visionary aspirations, but the public have made a commitment to pay these higher rates to achieve these inter-generational assets for the community and our future children.
No. The NPDC has committed $248m to repair and upgrade its Three Waters assets over ten years. Furthermore through submissions the public and ratepayers approved this important expenditure. Becoming part of Entity B would see a loss of governance leadership for the NPDC with respect to the co-governance board and this would be disappointing for everyone, especially mana whenua.
Yes. The NPDC has adopted LED lights and many of its lorries and service vehicles are becoming electric or hydrogen powered in time. I believe council buildings could proactively use solar panels to demonstrate leadership in establishing an eco-village. The scientific jury is still out on the efficacy of the Wastewater Treatment Plant Thermal Dryer Facility. But it's a balancing act between virtual signalling, educating people, and actually saving ratepayer's money. The Council's water minimization has been successful.
Yes. The NPDC has committed $11.7 on a Centre City strategy, however, as a Chamber of Commerce board member I am very aware of the financial challenges small retailers face in the CBD. These businesses need better collection of their refuse and recyclables. And the issue of an hour's free parking needs to be creatively revisited. Council's commitment to repairing the downtown car park signals support to the business sector. However, it could do more to support the bus network, in terms of improving bus stands and shelters.
Yes. I support a Māori ward and was a high profile media person who did many video interviews to encourage an understanding on this top. A Māori ward resonates with the principles of The Treaty of Waitangi (Te Tiriti o Waitangi). A Māori ward makes pragmatic sense because Taranaki's eight iwi have finalised their Treaty Settlements and they have millions they want to invest in the district and they want to work with us, especially Council in partnership. The Local Govt Act also requires bi-cultural, partnership decisions.
Every councillor in theory should consider the district, but they tend to concentrate on the needs of their wards. Having 5 at large councillors will mitigate allegations of neglect and being forgotten from people in outlying areas. There needs to be a roster where elected councillors have to attend the 5 different community board meetings across the district. Interestingly only $1.5m in project funding is going to the Kōhanga Moa Ward next year. So they need assurances next year that they are not being neglected.
I support this project, but massive cost overruns are inevitable. Initially the final cost was estimated at $90m, but at the writing of this (July 30) there were predictions phase one would cost $110m. I support council extending its investment to no more than $60m. This project will be built in phases, but runaway inflation and supply chain challenges make this a very risky capital project. It may be more prudent to give priority to the extension of the Coastal Walkway to Waitara.
It is critical that we have a well informed and united council. I believe being the Sustainable Lifestyle Capital is a worthy aspiration. I'm not convinced the Council has got its messaging right for those who are struggling financially and the elderly. But everyone wants a better district for their children, and future generations. It's important that we remember the importance of equity in all council decisions.