Message from the Mayor
Kia ora Masterton,
The past few weeks have seen some very important decisions made by Masterton District Council, and I’m proud of the leadership shown by elected members.
Last month, we voted to establish Māori wards – a historic move that is long overdue. It is the beginning of a process to establish an equitable role in decision-making for Māori and something that was supported by all of the iwi entities in our district.
And last week, we decided to build a civic facility that includes the library and archive, from 2022/23, with at least $4 million of external funding. That decision was the culmination of five years’ work, including four consultations with the public, since the town hall was closed in 2016. As I told the deliberations meeting on our draft Long-Term Plan last week, now is the time for us as elected representatives to step up, do our job, show leadership and good governance, and make a decision for our future generations.
I know there are a range of opinions in the community about the projects in the Long-Term Plan, but under the Local Government Act, our role is not just to hear from those in the community but we need to be the voices of those that are yet to come – our mokopuna and their tamariki, our future generations. It is the time to be brave and create something that our community will be excited about, something that embraces our Māori culture, tells our stories, and celebrates our diversity as a multi-cultural community.
I understand the frustration people feel about our inability to talk publicly about our preferred location for the civic facility, but I can only reiterate that when we have finalised the site, we will obviously share this information very quickly.
Council makes progress on ‘big decisions’
Masterton District Council will proceed with construction of a civic facility, including the library and archive, starting in 2022/23, seeking $4 million in external funding, and using $26.8m in loan funds. Councillors voted at its deliberations meeting today to take the preferred option for construction of the civic facility as set out in the draft Long-Term Plan consultation document.
Work will go ahead to raise funding through external funding applications, grants and trusts, partnership arrangements and philanthropic investment, and in-kind donations. This workstream will run in parallel to land acquisition and the design process.
On the proposal to build more housing for seniors, the Council decided to make vacant land at Panama Village available for more public housing but get someone else to build it. The Council will work with the Government (via Kāinga Ora), community housing providers, and iwi to ascertain the most appropriate arrangement for a provider, or providers, to fund and build the public housing.
The start of the 10-year Masterton Revamp project was deferred for three years, though there is provision for landscaping at the Kuripuni roundabout and the northern welcome to Masterton, and maintenance of town centre pavements. While the start of work in the town centre will be deferred, if external funding becomes available, it may allow some work to be brought forward.
The Council also agreed to continue plans to invest in water storage, making a final decision about how this is achieved once the outcome of the Wakamoekau Community Storage project consent process is known. It will enter into a memorandum of understanding with Wairarapa Water Limited to establish a way forward for a municipal water supply to the Masterton District. This is a non-binding arrangement that does not commit the Council to the community storage project.
The final Long-Term Plan will go to the Council for final approval on 30 June, when rates for 2021/22 will be set.
Māori wards to be established
Masterton District Council will establish at least one Māori ward for the 2022 local authority elections, after a proposal to establish Māori wards was passed by 10 votes to one at an extraordinary council meeting.
Mayor Lyn Patterson hailed the decision as a triumph for democracy and representation.
“This is real progress in improving representation for tangata whenua. I am delighted with the level of support for the proposal from councillors, which reflects the desire to ensure Māori have a strong voice around the council table.
“This is a historic day to celebrate.”
The move to establish Māori wards had support from all four local iwi entities – Kahungunu ki Wairarapa, Kahungunu ki Wairarapa Tāmaki Nui ā Rua Trust, Rangitāne o Wairarapa, and Rangitāne Tū Mai Rā Trust.
The decision triggers a representation review, which will determine the number of elected members on the Council, and how many Māori wards are established. Under the Local Electoral Act, if a Māori ward is established at least one general ward must also be established. Using a formula determined by the Local Government Commission, if the number of Councillors remains at 10, and up to five councillors are elected ‘at large’, this would allow one councillor to be elected from a Māori ward. Two Māori wards would be possible if the Council had 13 or more councillors.
The Council will develop an initial representation proposal by 8 September, and publicly consult for a period of not less than a month. The Council will then consider the public feedback before developing a final proposal, which has an appeals process, with the Local Government Commission making the final decisions. The representation review cannot reverse the decision taken to have Māori wards for the 2022 local authority elections.
Council carparks for vaccination clinic
Masterton District Council has agreed to provide 32 carparks next to the Departmental Building (35-37 Chapel Street) for use by the Wairarapa District Health Board’s COVID-19 vaccination clinic.
The DHB requested the public parks be temporarily allocated for visitors to the clinic from early June. The Council has implemented the temporary change in parking use until March 2022. If the clinic completes its vaccinations earlier, then the Council can release the parking for public use at that stage.
Designated clinic carparks will allow easier and immediate access for everyone receiving vaccinations.
The move will reduce parking spaces close to Masterton Library to 10 parks, plus one accessible park. There is more free parking a short walk away on Dixon Street outside the park and plentiful free public parking near Farriers at the northern roundabout.
It’s time to burn well
With winter upon us, air quality is again an issue for Masterton when home fires are burning.
Being careful about what you burn, how you burn, and keeping woodburners and chimneys in good condition all helps improve our air quality. You’ll also save money, as less wood is burnt for the same amount of heat.
It also means lower particle smoke emissions, leading to healthier, less-polluted air indoors and outdoors.
Key issues causing smoky chimneys
- Wet firewood
- Fire damping (eg, turning air flow down for overnight burn)
- Lack of wood burner maintenance and/or installation faults
- Burning rubbish (eg, plastic, glossy paper or magazines, food wrappers etc)
Wednesday 9 June – Kiwi Room, Waiata House, 27 Lincoln Road
2pm Infrastructure and Services Committee meeting
Wednesday 30 June – Kiwi Room, Waiata House, 27 Lincoln Road
3pm Council meeting
Wednesday 30 June – Dog registrations due
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