March 2016

In this issue:

   

Focus on water

 
 
 

A group set up under the Future Proof umbrella last year to manage water policy issues in the Hamilton, Waikato and Waipa districts is reviewing an action plan for a ‘three waters’ strategy.

The group first met last October and has been formed to:

  • Co-operatively identify, consider and provide advice on water allocation issues.
  • Oversee progress on Future Proof’s Sub-Regional Three Waters Strategy.
  • Ensure three waters issues are aligned with the Future Proof Strategy and provide input into its update.
  • Co-operatively manage water planning and policy changes.
  • Avoid duplication of effort across the partnership, including any Waikato Mayoral Forum and associated initiatives.
  • Ensure alignment with Shared Services Governance Committee.
  • Actively engage with relevant parties including the Waikato River Authority, Iwi Leaders Group and Land and Water Forum.

Future Proof chief executives recommended the group be established. It comprises representatives from Hamilton City Council, Waipa and Waikato district councils, Waikato Regional Council, and tangata whenua.

It now oversees the Future Proof Sub-Regional Three Waters Strategy , which sets out how water, wastewater and stormwater can be managed over the next 50 years in integrated way in the sub-region.

The strategy’s purpose is to allow for sub-regional collaboration to address the issues facing three waters in the sub-region, which will include both growth related and operational factors.

An action plan has been prepared to complement the strategy to ensure it achieves its purpose. There are nine priority topics identified within the plan – health, growth, climate, knowledge, sustainability, integration, allocation, iwi and environment. Specific goals and actions are identified for each of these topics. However, the group is updating the action plan and intends having it completed mid-year for approval by the Future Proof chief executives.

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Responding to Auckland’s growth

A report looking at transport and land use in Auckland over the next 30 years has taken into account a 30-page briefing from Future Proof councils on related cross-boundary issues.

The report released last month has been produced by the multi-agency Auckland Transport Alignment Project (ATAP).

The project involves Auckland Council, the NZ Transport Agency, Treasury, State Services, Treasury, Ministry of Transport and Auckland Transport, and late last year Waikato District and Waikato Regional Council joined ATAP with support from Future Proof to ensure there was joined-up thinking about transport and land use.

The ATAP Foundation Report sets out:

  • the current transport situation, including historical demand
  • possible future trends, including population growth and their impact on transport demands
  • the likely performance of the Auckland transport system (including road and rail corridors linking  Auckland to the Waikato) under current policy settings and the link to providing access to employment and new housing areas.  

The report finds that over the last 10 years progress has been made in providing increased access to public transport by developing new corridors. But the next generation of transport investments will be more challenging, as they don’t generally have corridors set aside.

One further finding of interest to the Waikato is that over the next 30 years access to employment looks set to improve for residents in north and central Auckland, but access for those in the south and west will likely need to be addressed. If not, congestion could worsen in the next 20 years before stabilising in the third decade. This will have an impact on the efficiency of transport movements between Auckland and the Waikato, and land use supply and demand in the Future Proof area.

Finally, the report finds that emerging transport and communications technologies such as autonomous and communicating vehicles have the potential to radically alter future travel demand and supply.

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What’s the issue for the Waikato?

Growth occurring in Auckland matters to the Waikato, and the Future Proof sub-region in particular. Hamilton, Cambridge and Te Awamutu, along with urban centres between Hamilton and Auckland, are all facing increasing residential, commercial and industrial development pressures.

  • Auckland is growing by approximately 800 people per week, or a medium sized city every four years.
  • The 2013 census show that approximately five per cent of Waikato residents work in Auckland and this is likely to grow with committed investment which will improve connectivity between greater Hamilton and Auckland.
  • Development is accelerating in and around Hamilton and along the corridor between Hamilton and Auckland.

All of these things put increased pressure on land supply and demand and housing affordability, and existing infrastructure and services in both Auckland and Waikato.

In the Waikato, Hamilton City Council, Waipa and Waikato district councils and Waikato Regional Council are working alongside central government partners such as the NZ Transport Agency to advocate for considered planning and implementation that is of benefit to both Auckland and the Waikato.

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What we’re doing in the Waikato


Tuakau.

Throughout the sub-region the population is growing faster than projected, with a marked rise in residential building consents for new houses in the past 12 months. We’ve seen a marked lift in residential building consents for new houses across the Future Proof area over this period, leading to pressure from the development community for additional investment.

In north Waikato towns, residential and other development has occurred rapidly. The first show home in Pokeno was completed less than five years ago and the residential growth capacity of the 2008 structure plan for Pokeno is almost fully taken up. Residential development demand has also increased in other parts of the Future Proof sub-region.

Future Proof partners are closely monitoring these growth trends to ensure councils and other agencies can respond to higher growth through their long term plans.

Future Proof partners are also reviewing the settlement pattern for urban centres between Hamilton and Auckland. This review will incorporate Pokeno and Tuakau in the settlement pattern – these settlements were previously part of the old Franklin District. The review is expected to be completed by mid 2016.

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