The Regional Council is now conducting informal consultation around six key issues that could be addressed in next year’s re–write of its Long Term Plan (LTP).

The ‘Big Six’ issues are:

1. Our Energy Future — what path should we be on … oil & gas, solar, electric cars, converting waste to energy, energy conservation?

2. Relationship With Maori — with numerous treaty settlements coming to closure, including commitments councils must meet, as well as creating new governance arrangements and economic potential, plus a resurgence of marae-based leadership, we need to revamp our formal and informal consultation and decision-making practices.

3. Climate Change — it’s real, it’s happening, it will have major impacts on Haawke’s Bay. How must we mitigate and adapt?

4. Connecting Our Region — roads, railroads, buses, i-Ways and fibre lines, port and airport, how do we best connect ourselves in the region … and our region to the outside world?

5. Regional Economic Development — ‘one for all and all for one’ … or ‘let a thousand flowers bloom’ … how do we get off the bottom rungs of NZ’s socio-economic ladder?

6. Wise Land Use — our land and soil is essentially irreplaceable … what should we be doing to protect, restore and enhance our most precious regional asset?

These issues are briefly teased out in this highly readable 16-page booklet, The BIG SIX. I urge you to take a look, have a think, and get your views to the Regional Council.

As I said above, this is an informal consultation (more information on the process here). It will help inform the Council discussions through the balance of the year that will shape what initiatives and funding priorities are set forth in the next draft LTP, which will appear next March/April.

It would be most helpful if you can get your thoughts in by October 15th, as HBRC will be deep into planning in November and December. Two opportunities to meet with all Councillors are scheduled for 24 September, 3:30-4:30 and 8 October, 3:30-4:30 (both sessions at HBRC Council Chamber in Napier).

However, I and other Councillors will welcome your views at any point. And presentations can be made to inquiring organisations — contact helen@hbrc.govt.nz

And of course the formal consultation process will still occur when the draft LTP is issued next year.

Look forward to hearing from you.

Tom Belford

P.S. The Big Six exercise is an effort to raise issues over and above the work that HBRC must do ‘routinely’ given its statutory responsibilities in areas like water quality, biosecurity, flood control and civil defence planning. So don’t be alarmed that such issues are not highlighted in The Big Six document.

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