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Councillor update May 2023: Challenges ahead and our ANZAC traditions.

Commemorating ANZAC Day in the Waikato.
Commemorating ANZAC Day in the Waikato. Woollen poppies decorate a tree next to SH26 in Eureka.

We are facing challenging times. Economic conditions have changed dramatically since the Council adopted its last “Long Term Plan” covering the year ahead.

General rates rising

With high inflation and rising interest rates, higher than expected depreciation on our assets, and disaster recovery costs of at least $8 million after Cyclone Gabrielle (with new estimates suggesting the true cost might be twice this amount), your Council has made a decision to increase general rates by 7% this coming year, double what was anticipated three years ago. This decision was based on the need to start replenishing our disaster recovery fund to meet future needs, as well as continue to maintain our assets and agreed levels of service.

We know this will be unwelcome news for many as the rising cost of living is hitting people hard. We remain committed to look for cost efficiencies in our work programmes going forward, but along with all other businesses, we are having to meet increased costs as we maintain $2 billion worth of assets as well as continue to deliver the services our communities need and expect. You should receive a letter about this shortly if you have not already received one.

Proposed targeted rate for gully restoration

For anyone living in the old (pre-2022) Tamahere Ward, make sure you have your say by 7 May on a proposed targeted rate of $1 per week to support conservation work in the Tamahere gully network over the next five years by the Tamahere Mangaone Restoration Trust. This work was identified in the ‘Tamahere Blueprint’ as a top priority for the community, and may also mean the Tamahere walkway project could be completed earlier than anticipated. Find out more at a final drop-in session at the Tamahere Community Centre on 3 May, 4-7pm.

Long Term Plan 2024-34

On another positive note, it was great to see representatives of different community committees in the Tamahere-Woodlands Ward attending some early workshops on the Council’s next 10-year Long Term Plan (2024-34). Together with these community representatives, the Council has started to review its strategic objectives and what to focus on to meet the community’s aspirations. During this coming month the Council will seek wider community feedback on the ‘community outcomes’ that will shape this plan.

As part of the planning process, the Council also expects to undertake a ‘light refresh’ of local area ‘blueprints’ to help establish the Council’s work programmes and budgets over the next 10 years.

Managing reserves and guiding conservation

In the past month the Council has heard your submissions on how we should manage our reserves, as set out in the General Policies Reserve Management Plan. Key proposed changes included adding a new section on values (including sustainable practices, and relationships with mana whenua and with volunteers), to designate reserves smoke-free and vape-free, to allow for drones but with clear restrictions against flying over playgrounds, cemeteries, and cultural and historical reserves. The plan will now be revised, taking your submissions into account, and presented to the Council for adoption before the end of June.

The Council has also heard submissions on our draft Taiao (Nature) in the Waikato Strategy, which brings together the Conservation and Esplanade Strategies into one document. This strategy will now also be revised for adoption by the end of June. It will be used to guide the Council on the goals and objectives that should be prioritised within existing budgets, as well as the projects and activities that should be considered for funding through the next Long Term Plan.

ANZAC Day commemorations

It is a privilege to be able to attend ANZAC Day commemorations in the Tamahere-Woodlands Ward at Gordonton and Eureka. Thank you to those in our community who keep this tradition alive. ANZAC Day is a time to honour those who have served New Zealand in all conflicts and peace-keeping missions abroad, but it’s also a time to reflect on the impact of conflict on our communities, and to renew our hopes for peace between nations, and at home here in New Zealand.

We are fortunate to live in a time of relative peace, but many people who have recently made New Zealand their new home have had first-hand experience of war and conflict. We can honour the ANZAC tradition by continuing to strive to create a just and welcoming society where we care for those around us, especially our young people, our elderly and those with special needs.

Contact your Tamahere-Woodlands Councillors:

Crystal Beavis, mob 0275 957 927, email

Mike Keir, mob 027 449 3012, email

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