Spring newsletter

Whew, another election over!  Great to see the local support for the three Green header issues of Clean Rivers, Smart Economy, and eliminating child poverty.

Greater Wellington Regional Council has developed a strong partnership with mana whenua and key stockholders in the wider community, to protect and manage our water ways and natural resources. “Whaitua” (catchment) committees have been set up to allow local communities to set their own water quality and quantity limits and the first of these is already underway in the Wairarapa.

Natural Resource Plan has just been completed, and contains objectives that aim to restore aquatic ecosystem health and “mahinga kai”. Mahinga kai is the customary gathering of food and natural materials. Please consider endorsing this approach through our website  www.gw.govt.nz/regional-plan-review.  This consultation goes through until 30th November.

The Local Government Commission is expected to report back mid October on its preferred option for local government structures in the Wellington Region. I believe that Local government needs to devolve decision making wherever it is possible. This happens when there is less compliance culture, and more engagement culture!

At a LGNZ workshop in September, Keith Johnson of Whangamata, described  the leap in “local” projects under a first year of “Community Empowerment”!  And decentralisation did not raise their costs!  Portland, a progressive city in USA,  has been working on their community governance project over 40 years, to the point where Paul Leistner says there is “Nothing about me, without me!”.  Peter McKinley reported on the role of Australia’s community banking network Bendigo in strengthened local communities.  Links to these papers and more can be found at http://www.lgnz.co.nz/home/equip-and-knowhow/community-governance/

Many were annoyed by GWRC’s decision to discard our trolley buses in 2017, when there is twenty years of lifetime left in them.  The approved Regional Public Transport Plan (RPTP) can be found at http://www.gw.govt.nz/assets/Transport/Regional-transport/RPTP/WGNDOCS-1386111-v1-FinalRPTPdocWEBversion.PDF.  However  detailed design of bus routes have still to be finalised.

In a retrogressive step, the Transport Agency (NZTA) appealed the Basin Board of Inquiry’s (BOI) decision to decline the Basin Bridge (flyover). I gave a strong submission to the Board, especially focussing on the lack of due process (see separate blog). Local community groups are looking for a collaborative approach that bring together long term sustainable solutions that protect our “special spaces”.  I will continue working to have those issues discussed in a more fulsome way.

TPPA – Transpacific Partnership Agreement
Economist Jeffrey Sachs set out reasons to reject the TPPA:
1. These are not trade treaties, but aim to protect investors;
2. They ignore great challenges of the environment and growing inequality;
3. The entire process is not transparent, and this secrecy alone is reason enough to reject it.
Greater Wellington Regional Council passed a motion requesting more information on the TPPA treaty last December. We need more transparency now, not after a treaty agreement is signed. Join the nationwide rally
1pm 8th November, in Wellington beginning at Bucket Fountain, Cuba Mall www.facebook.com/events/367360156747943/?ref=22


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