What kind of growth?

Initial consultation has opened regarding the Heretaunga Plains Urban Development Strategy. You have until January 15th to speak up.

This planning exercise, jointly conducted by the Napier, Hastings and Regional Councils, will carry into next year and will then drive revisions to formal district and regional plans.

Three preliminary growth scenarios are being “road-tested.” All make a common set of assumptions about existing land use, projected demographic trends, economic growth, environmental considerations, etc.

The study covers the Heretaunga Plains including settlements on the fringes such as Maraekakaho, Puketapu, and Paki Paki, as well as Waimarama, Ocean Beach, Te Awanga, Haumoana and Waipatki.

Briefly, the three scenarios are:

Option 1 involves carrying on as we are, continuing to expand outwards on the edges of our existing settlements;

Option 2 involves some consolidation while allowing some growth off the Plains (on the hills);

Option 3 involves intensive development within the existing urban boundary.

All of the options, with supporting background papers, are presented on the project website here: www.hpuds.co.nz If nothing else, you should read through the four-page briefing newsletter, which includes a submission form to download or complete online.

Send in your views! This is your opportunity to address the balances you would like to see our Councils strike as they stipulate future rules that will determine our region’s growth and land use patterns; our approach to urban design and meeting our housing needs, our commitment to protecting valuable soils, ecosystems and landscapes; and our commitment to sustainable lifestyles.

Pretty important stuff, don’t you think?!

Taking aboard this round of consultation, the planning group will evolve a preferred scenario to present for final public consultation next March/April. But once a scenario is blessed by the three Councils for final consultation, it will have heaps of momentum behind it. Now is the time to get your views in.

Promote Kea

Recently Sir Stephen Tindall launched the Hawke’s Bay chapter of Kea, a worldwide network for Kiwis working abroad. New Zealand has the highest proportion of its citizens living overseas of any OECD nation (about 750,000) … including 24% of highly skilled New Zealanders.

Tindall, founder of The Warehouse retail empire, is the chairman of Kea, which numbers 25,000 members in 174 countries, chiefly in Australia, the UK, the US and Canada and a growing contingent in China.

Kea provides business and social networking opportunities for Kiwis within these various countries, connects Kiwis abroad with business people based in NZ, and vice versa. Tindall gave impressive examples of how entrepreneurs here in NZ have been able, through Kea, to tap into the small army of highly-placed Kiwis working overseas to advance their business goals.

And now with Venture Hawke’s Bay serving as Kea’s partner here in our region, that process can work in reverse. Kiwis abroad looking for business or investment prospects in Hawke’s Bay can be introduced to relevant people and resources here, and can generally keep abreast of opportunties in the Bay through VHB’s dedicated area on the Kea website.

If you do business abroad, you might want to check out the resources Kea can offer. And if you have Kiwi relatives, friends or business associates working abroad, tell them about Kea and urge them to sign up here: http://www.keanewzealand.com

Green Farmers

The HB Regional Council has formally joined the Ballance Farm Environmental Awards program, joining many other regions who participate. Some Councillors are concerned that getting in bed on a farming best practices awards program with Ballance, a big promoter of chemical fertilisers, will send a message contrary to the HBRC’s sustainable land use orientation (have you all noticed that orientation?).

But a majority of Councillors, supported by BayBuzz, thinks this awards program is a good idea, precisely because they do reward sustainable farming practices (and Ballance isn’t involved in the judging). To help motivate participation, an award must be significant in the eyes of farmers, and the Ballance Awards carry that prestige. So at least this is a good place for the HBRC to start.

Ironically, on the same day that the regional Council was adopting this program, the Green Party was announcing its new “Good Farm Stories” program designed to celebrate the reality that indeed there are “green” farmers in New Zealand. This is a great idea for the Greens.

Said the Green Party’s Jeanette Fitzsimons: “I think it is time New Zealanders heard more about the Good Farms Stories happening in their countryside – too often the focus gravitates to the issues of conflict, pollution or bad farming practice. But for every Crafar farm disaster there’s ten good farmers doing good stuff and I’m keen to highlight their stories, their experiences and their contribution to keeping New Zealand clean and green.”

Amen. Even better, three HB farmers are on the list already – John & Vicki Bostock, Hastings; Bruce Wills, Napier; and Greg & Rachel Hart, Otane. Check out them and other exemplary farmers at: http://www.greens.org.nz/goodfarmstories

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