April 2013

In this issue:

         

Message from chairman Alan Livingston

Alan Livingston
Alan Livingston
Waipa Mayor

The value of Future Proof is in the collaborative partnerships between councils in the sub-region, as well as with Tangata Whenua and the NZ Transport Agency.

An example of this collaboration in practice is the work that’s already gone into the long term land use pattern for Cambridge and adjacent areas. This has enabled a commitment to be made by the Government to construction of the Tamahere-Cambridge section of the Waikato Expressway, which is to get underway later this year.

More generally, the partnership has been active in lodging submissions to the Resource Management Act discussion paper, as well as Hamilton’s Proposed District Plan. Reforms to the RMA are often controversial and it is important we end up with law that is workable for all partners.

 

Ideas in RMA discussion document ‘not workable’

There will be significant challenges implementing many of the ideas outlined in a discussion paper on Resource Management Act (RMA) reform, says Future Proof in its submission.

The Government has received about 14,000 submissions, with no clear support in any one direction for most of the concepts outlined in the RMA discussion paper.

Feedback on the discussion paper will inform an RMA Amendment Bill, expected to be introduced into parliament later this year.

“A lot of the ideas, such as combining district and regional plans, are interesting but would not be workable,” says Future Proof implementation advisor, Ken Tremaine.

“We don’t support the Government’s proposal for more powers to direct plan changes. The proposal would allow central government to directly amend an operative plan or direct a plan change without any local consultation or rights of appeal.

“The Government is trying to standardise the approach to planning, but there is likely to be significant community resistance because it will not have the flexibility to address the individual needs of areas,” says Mr Tremaine.

The submission says proposals to address housing affordability are overly simplistic and have the potential to create significant issues for local government, its communities and the management of growth.

“Making sure there is an adequate supply of housing is part of the housing affordability solution, however the discussion document proposes opening up more land on the periphery for urban development. This presents a challenge for local government – new areas require investment in services such as sewer, water and roading, which drive up housing costs,” says Mr Tremaine.

Read the Future Proof submission on our website.

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Creating the right conditions for economic growth 

Lettuce
Wind farm

An economic profile recently completed by Waikato Regional Council will help inform planning decisions by the Future Proof partnership.

“The economic profile was developed over 18 months to provide a shared understanding of the economic issues and opportunities in the Waikato,” says Vaughan Payne, the regional council’s transport and policy group manager. 

“No single organisation has the scale or scope to address these challenges or to maximise the benefits to themselves or the wider community. 

“What we’ve identified is that collaboration and integrated planning are therefore essential to help create the right conditions for economic growth in the Waikato.” 

The Future Proof sub-region, centred on Hamilton city, Waipa and Waikato districts, is the biggest labour market in the Waikato and its population is expected to double in the next 50 years to 437,000. 

The Future Proof partnership aims to make a significant contribution to economic development through integrated planning, which will provide investment certainty. 

The benefits are far-reaching. Ultimately, thriving business centres in the sub-region’s towns provide local housing, employment opportunities, social and recreational activities. 

“The Future Proof Strategy contains a number of references to economic outcomes and the economic profile we have completed is important to understanding what the drivers are for the Waikato economy,” Mr Payne says. 

“The economic profile and subsequent work, such as a regional economic development strategy now being looked at through the Waikato mayoral forum, provide the cornerstone for achieving the economic outcomes identified in the Future Proof Strategy.” 

Visit the Waikato Regional Council’s website to read the Waikato economic profile.

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Collaboration to restore and protect rivers 

Waikato River
Waikato River
Photo: Waikato Regional Council

A major project to help restore and protect the health of the Waikato and Waipa rivers is collaborating with stakeholders to develop policy.

Healthy Rivers: Plan for Change/Wai Ora: He Rautaki Whakapaipai is occurring in the Waikato and Waipa river catchments, which includes all of the Future Proof sub-region.

The project will collaborate with stakeholders to develop changes to the regional plan that will help, over time, to reduce sediment, bacteria, and the nutrients nitrogen and phosphorus entering water bodies, including groundwater.

Collaboration involves working together with stakeholders to address issues, develop solutions and make decisions. It involves a higher degree of stakeholder participation than does consultation.

The plan change will result in policies to help sustain land and water resources in the Waikato and Waipa catchments, on which parts of the Waikato economy depend. The project will act to balance the interests of everyone in the region, while meeting co-management responsibilities and aiming to minimise the financial and social impacts.

The changes to the plan will involve setting limits on the amount of these contaminants entering water bodies, and timeframes for achieving these limits. The Government’s National Policy Statement for Freshwater Management 2011 requires these changes be made.

The proposed plan change is expected to be notified in November 2015.

A key feature of the overall approach for developing the plan change is a Collaborative Stakeholder Group. This group will be the central channel for stakeholder and broader community involvement in the regional council project. It will comprise representatives of stakeholder organisations and members of the community, including farming, forestry, energy, tourism, business, councils, t?ngata whenua, environmental and recreational interests and community groups.

Stakeholders and the community will be asked to nominate representatives for the Collaborative Stakeholder Group, and the process for forming the group will be transparent. Once formed, the group will intensively review and deliberate on technical material and on stakeholder and community views. It will ultimately recommend solutions to decision makers.

A separate group, the Technical Alliance, will provide the technical material for the Collaborative Stakeholder Group’s consideration.

Waikato and Waipa River iwi and Waikato Regional Council are partners on this project, as set out in settlement and co-management legislation for the rivers.

More information is available at www.waikatoregion.govt.nz/healthyrivers, where you can also register to receive updates on the project.

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Contract awarded for Tamahere-Cambridge section of Waikato Expressway

Expressway opening
Celebrating the awarding of the
contract. From left: Waikato
District Mayor Allan Sanson;
NZTA's Richard Young; Waikato
Regional Transport Committee
chair Norm Barker; Future Proof
Implementation Committee chair
and Waipa district Mayor Alan
Livingston. Photo: NZTA

HEB Construction is to build the Tamahere-Cambridge section of the Waikato Expressway. 

The NZTA announced the successful tenderer at a function held earlier this month. In attendance were Waikato MP Lindsay Tisch, Hamilton East MP David Bennett, Waikato regional councillor Norm Barker (Regional Transport Committee chairman) Waipa Mayor Alan Livingston, Waikato District Mayor Allan Sanson and iwi from the Ngati Koroki Kahukura and Te Whakaminenga O Haua Trusts and representatives from HEB Construction.

Mayor Livingston, also chair of the Future Proof Implementation Committee, says the project's continued progress forward is another example of how collaboration and relationships are the key to effective Future Proof planning.

"Through Future Proof, we have been able to sit down with the NZ Transport Agency and our local government and other partners to work through the spatial aspects of this project, while always ensuring this section of the Expressway fits into the 'big picture' for the region and beyond.  The Tamahere-Cambridge Section will provide overall economic benefits to 'New Zealand Inc.' not just the Waipa District."

Waikato District Mayor, Allan Sanson, agrees, noting that past and ongoing 'collaboration, support, and dialogue' are a critical part of achieving a way forward for projects like this.  "It makes life a whole lot easier to have all these people in the same tent."

NZTA Acting Regional Manager - Planning and Investment, Dennis Crequer, says the Waikato Expressway is also a key initiative linked to achieving the outcomes outlined in the Government's Safer Journeys strategy.  "The Expressway section will significantly improve safety on this stretch of highway for all road users by providing a four lane median divided highway which separates traffic travelling in opposite directions. This will also help to reduce the high human and social costs associated with these crashes.”

Waikato Expressway principal project manager, Richard Young says the Tamahere-Cambridge Section is also expected to reduce the travel time through Cambridge by approximately 4 minutes. At peak times the time saving is expected to be up to 10 minutes. "When completed in 2019, the overall journey time between the Bombay Hills in the north to Tirau is expected to be reduced by 35 minutes.”

The 16km Tamahere-Cambridge section is the southernmost part of the Waikato Expressway, beginning 11 km south of the Hamilton CBD and ending approximately 2.5 km south of Cambridge.  Construction is likely to start in late 2013.

For more information vist the NZTA's Waikato Expressway project webpages or Facebook page.

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Future Proof submits on Hamilton’s draft district plan

Victoria St
Victoria Steet, Hamilton.

A Future Proof submission is among more than 1200 made on Hamilton City Council’s Proposed District Plan.

The plan, which governs the look and feel of Hamilton, and sets the rules for future development, opened for public submissions on 10 December last year and closed on 29 March.

Of the more than 1200 submissions received, more than half focused on proposed development zone changes at Temple View.

Other areas covered by submitters included placement of garages, flooding hazards identified on specific properties, urban design issues and office and retail development restrictions in industrial zones.

The Future Proof submission is focused on supporting the strategic direction of the plan in key areas of zoning, such as the Ruakura inland port.

Hamilton City Council staff are now analysing and summarising submissions as well as preparing reports for upcoming hearings that will be presided over by independent commissioners.

A further submission period will be notified in May with hearings to begin in August.

Read the Future Proof submission on our website.

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