Electing 2 Regional Councillors

No issues on file for Norm Bruning.

    One of the biggest challenges facing the Western Bay of Plenty is managing our expected growth. Already, significant growth pressures are occurring and they are having environmental impacts. We must plan for this growth while managing our natural resources in a sustainable way.

    I support the SmartGrowth approach taken in the western Bay of Plenty to plan for growth. It has huge credibility at a national level and has given government the confidence to invest in our region. However, we need to continue to monitor and adjust the strategy to ensure that we integrate population growth with land use and transportation planning.

    We also need the infrastructure to support our growing population – this means investment in roads, public transport, broadband, power and regional facilities. To achieve this, it is very important that there be strong collaboration between central, regional and local government to align planning and investment for the critical infrastructure needed to service growth.

    Key to this is strong regional leadership - the vision and willingness to make decisions that will ensure our growth is positive and does not negatively impact on our environment.
    We are very fortunate in the Bay of Plenty - to many it must seem like paradise. However protecting our harbours and coastlines, managing our water quality and water quantity, and safeguarding our natural biodiversity are issues we must take very seriously.

    I am particularly concerned about Tauranga Harbour and its surrounding catchments, and have been pushing for control of sedimentation and selected removal of mangroves to protect the coastal and estuarine ecology that is valued by our coastal communities. I believe we need more science so we can understand the relationships between land use, discharges into the harbour, possible climatic changes and negative impacts in the harbour like sea lettuce blooms.

    I want effective action on the ground to mitigate negative impacts of growth and development. I support the integrated catchment management approach being taken to minimise sedimentation, to restore biodiversity and to protect our precious estuarine and coastal ecology.

    I believe water is critical to our prosperous future and we need to monitor water quality and address problems which degrade our water quality. We also need to be careful how we manage water use to ensure there is ample for all.

    There are many other environmental issues we need to focus on - Rotorua Lakes water quality, Rotorua air quality, pest management and biosecurity, waste minimisation and appropriate development of our renewable energy resources like geothermal and biomass.

    I think it is very important to educate people about the environmental issues we face. It is also important to work collaboratively with other agencies and to support community groups who are working to safeguard the environment in their patch, because together we can all achieve so much more.
    If we want our children to have a safe and prosperous future, we need to have a thriving economy. It is very important to ensure we have the right leadership, infrastructure, skilled people and conditions to foster growth of strong thriving businesses. Located as we are in the golden triangle of Auckland/Waikato and the Bay of Plenty we have a huge opportunity and it is up to us to make sure we use our rich natural resources, our strategic advantages like the Port of Tauranga, and our enviable lifestyle to maximise this opportunity.

    Local and regional government can help by supporting economic development and ensuring that the right infrastructure is in place. I strongly support the Regional Council's coordination of regional economic development - there are many opportunities to ensure we have a strong sustainable economy - aquaculture, horticulture development, food processing, bio-energy and titanium production -are just a few. To support this development, we need an enabling local government attitude, skilled workers and investment in core infrastructure.

    I strongly support the Regional Council's planned investment in regional infrastructure. I think it is in a unique position to leverage its investment reserves and its infrastructure fund to accelerate essential infrastructure to support economic growth - for example to accelerate essential transport projects.

    The Regional Council is the majority shareholder of the Port of Tauranga which is the growth engine for the region, and owner of a large area of land in Rangiuru zoned for industrial development. It is important that the Regional Council continues to be a supportive investor to enable the expected economic benefits to accrue from these strategic investments for the wellbeing of the community.

    A strong economy will enable a prosperous community. It is essential that our local government leaders understand what is needed for strong sustainable economic growth and are willing to take the necessary steps to ensure community well-being into the future. They also need to create and maintain strong collaborative relationships - with government, industry, education providers and the community - so all sectors are working together to deliver on a shared vision of well-being and prosperity.
    There is a lot of change occurring in the local government space - restructuring of local government in Auckland and the sacking of the Canterbury Regional Council. Much of this has been driven by perceptions about excessive bureaucracy and red tape, lack of effectiveness, poor collaboration, high costs and excessive rates. I think the Bay of Plenty Regional Council performs pretty well, but we must continually focus on minimising the problems and perceptions that surround local and regional government.

    I think we need to see what happens up in Auckland before we rush to change our local government structure in the Bay of Plenty. Some amalgamation may be called for to streamline local government in the future, however I am wary of change for change's sake. Instead, my focus has been on trying to ensure that the Regional Council is cost efficient and effective in everything that it does. Over the past three years, I have pushed for reviews of various activities to ensure the organisation is doing things as well and cost effectively as possible. Quite a number have been undertaken, but there is still a lot more that I believe can be done to ensure ratepayers are getting maximum value out of their rating dollar.

    A lot is about attitude - looking for innovation, being customer focussed and action oriented. It is about asking - is there a better way? - a more cost effective way? - a more responsive way? I want the public to be confident the Regional Council has cost conscious management and is an organisation that is easy to do business with, rather than one that puts up barriers and ties people up in red tape.

    The Bay of Plenty Regional Council is looking at shared services with other councils to reduce costs. I applaud this approach. I also support benchmarking with other appropriate organisations to help us understand how we compare and where we could improve.

    I want Council to take a prudent approach in setting its work programmes and therefore its rates - and making careful and reasoned decisions on how to rate fairly and how to apply its investment reserves for maximum benefit for the region and its community.

    On the other hand, Council does have a regulatory role, and from time to time it needs to make hard calls to safeguard our environment. I want Council to be brave where necessary, but also to be fair, consistent and always professional.

    The bottom line is - we need high calibre people voted onto the Regional Council, who will work with our people to ensure we have efficient and effective regional government in the Bay of Plenty.
    The key to making limited resources go further and to making fast progress is to collaborate and work well with other key players to achieve a shared vision. The western Bay of Plenty is already pretty good at this, but I would like to see this approach to be strengthened in the future - particularly across the region and with other adjoining regions.

    We need to work closely with government departments, other regional and local councils, our businesses and our communities - sharing and applying resources to leverage opportunities. The work the Bay of Plenty Regional Council is doing in with transport and geothermal energy, and in the Kaimai Mamaku catchments are good models and we need to look for more such opportunities.

    I would like to see parochialism disappear and the use of a collaborative approach to achieve win-win solutions where at all possible.

    Unfortunately the work of the Regional Council is not well understood. Helping people to understand the work of the Regional Council and what it is doing has been a key focus for me over the past three years and will continue to be a key focus for me in the future if I am re-elected.

    For me, the past three years have been about learning the business of the Regional Council. If I am re-elected for another term, my focus will be on reaching out to the community and strengthening my relationships so I can strengthen my contribution to the Regional Council and the region as a whole, on behalf of the community.

No issues on file for Ian Noble.

  1. "Environmental Health is Wealth" i.e. policies that promote environmental health not only enhance personal health, but a healthy environment produces huge wealth creation opportunities for business and employment. A Council who invests infrastructure into healthy environments now, will avoid huge cost burdens in the future.
  2. Planned Growth and investment in infrastructure for the expected future growth e.g. the northern arterial route, state highway 2, from Tauranga to Katikati has the highest accident rate in the region and has been appallingly neglected. This is because current Councillors have not had the will to drive this issue. This needs to change.
  3. Regular consultation with the community is very important. There are many issues going on within the Regional Council that affect you. It's important that Councillors remain community connected during their term, by fronting up to meetings in the community, and not just when they want your vote at election time. I would seek to get input from the community with a feedback form through regular community newsletters. Often Councillors only do the telling in articles, but not the asking. By community connection I'm not talking about the formal consultation on planning matters etc that's legally required and often Councillors consider that if this is being done, they are consulting with their community - how wrong they are!

    The Courts recently rapt this Council over the knuckles concerning its intended relocation from Whakatane to Tauranga because of - yes - inadequate consultation.
  4. Good Governance - means that policy direction is set by your elected representatives, not rubber stamping recommendations by management. When that happens, democracy fails and it's the bureaucrats that are really in charge because the elected reps have opted for the easy life. Good Governance means having robust debate and critically analysing the spin from the executive managers.
  5. Renewal - Councils need renewal! This is not an age issue, it is simply that renewal is necessary in any organisation for Governance to grow. Some turnover of elected members each election is a positive part of democracy.