It's a season for change!
The new coalition Government has announced a flood of major changes that will impact local government. Waikato District Council is watching for opportunities as details emerge over the next few months.
Changes announced include:
Establishing a National Infrastructure Agency to coordinate government funding, connect investors, and improve funding, procurement, and delivery.
Developing long-term city and regional deals for infrastructure. These are partnership arrangements between central and local government focussed on creating economic growth by giving local government the resources to deliver on priority projects.
Repealing the Natural and Built Environment Act 2023 and the Spatial Planning Act 2023 and introducing a new legislative programme to reform the Resource Management Act.
Issuing stop-work notices on Three Waters, with assets returned to council ownership.
Introducing a $1.2 billion Regional Infrastructure Fund.
As we work through the changes - especially Three Waters reform - and as inflation continues to bite and the Capital Goods Price Index (that tracks construction costs and capital assets) soars well above the Consumer Price Index - Council rates will continue to come under strong pressure and are likely to rise. Waikato District Council is reviewing future works plans and budgets to seek savings, but also needs to spend on infrastructure to support growth and to fulfil legislative requirements. Maintaining the right balance is a challenging task.
Local government reform?
As the local government association of New Zealand, LGNZ, says, current funding models for local government are unsustainable, debt is increasing, and so are infrastructure deficits.
Responding to the Review into the Future of Local Government which was released earlier this year, LGNZ supports building a new system of government that's fit for purpose; rebalancing the country's tax take between central and loval government; creating stronger relationships between local government and iwi; aligning central and local government priorities; and strengthening local democracy and leadership.
It's a bold vision but worthy of support since councils have a critical responsibility for our local communities and their wellbeing.
Construction season - a message from the Mayor
The construction season has started with the advent of good weather. Road works are
frustrating, but fixing our roads is vital for keeping our communities connect and supporting our economy. So please don't take out your frustrations on our frontline workers. Please give them a friendly wave or smile as you drive by, and pass a word of kindness to these people working in the heat of summer on our behalf, as we want them to arrive home to their loved ones safe and supported. They're simply doing their jobs to the best of their ability. (For details of major roadworks in our district see our Current Roadworks website page.
Local projects update:
Tauwhare sculpture – thanks to artist Marti Wong for the design and Tauwhare Hall chair Lockie Verner for the construction, an iconic sculpture representing Tauwhare, 'house or place of rest', has been installed next to the Tauwhare War Memorial Hall. Standing several metres tall, it's the realisation of a vision that was first set in motion with the availability of a Waikato District Council arts grant in 2016, and kept alive by the ongoing support of a group of local people. Plantings and a plaque will complete the setting for the work which is expected to be formally celebrated at an on-site function in the New Year.
Tamahere Park toilets upgrade - an opening and blessing is planned for 10am, 21 December. Tamahere Park is getting the first public toilet from a production line at Modern Building Solutions in Ngaruawahia (see photo at top) that - in a national 'first' - has won the tender to supply public toilets for Waikato district. This is a significant, modular, transportable, and affordable solution which allows Waikato District Council to break away from a national duopoly that has dominated the provision of public toilets in New Zealand until now. It's a win-win for the Council and for the local firms involved - awarding them their first government contract.
Flagpole for Eureka cenotaph - the flagpole has been raised! Thanks to everyone who helped with the project, including the Council's Community Development team and Parks and Reserves team, and to the Eureka Hall committee for their enthusiasm for the idea. My husband, Godfrey Bridger, and I were very happy to donate the flagpole when we discovered the need.
Jack Foster Reserve car park, Matangi - expected completion June/July 2024.
Hukanui Park playground, Gordonton - a concept plan is being costed.
New phone app for requesting Council services
Download the Antenno app from the App Store or Google Play so you can tell the Council more easily about things that need attention, like potholes, graffiti or broken streetlights. Open the app, select 'Report it' and follow the on-screen prompts. You can provide a photo if you want. For urgent matters please phone our Customer Services Team on 0800 492 452.
Christmas holiday season
Warm wishes for the Christmas holiday season and a happy New Year. Keep safe on the road by giving yourself plenty of time to get to your destination. Enjoy your time with friends and family, and give thought to including someone you know how might be on their own.
Waikato District Council offices will close from midday Friday 22 December until Monday 8 January, but on-call staff will be available to attend to urgent matters if you phone 0800 492 452.
Contact your Tamahere-Woodlands Councillors:
Crystal Beavis, mob 0275 957 927, email
Mike Keir, mob 027 449 3012, email