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Canterbury leaders visit the Beehive to advocate for Waitaha

The Canterbury Mayoral Forum visited the capital on 11 May to advocate for their region while also reinforcing and building stronger connections with Central Government.

Hosted by Hon Dr Megan Woods, the Mayors of the ten territorial authorities in Canterbury and the Chair of the regional council (Environment Canterbury) travelled to Wellington to put the recently refreshed Plan for Canterbury before nine Government ministers.

Mayor Nigel Bowen, Chair of the Forum, says the visit was particularly important ahead of the budget announcements expected next week. “We want to take a proactive approach to advocating for our people, governance to governance. The Mayoral Forum works in partnership across Canterbury and we want to strengthen the connections with Central Government.

Top of the to-do list while at the Beehive was advocating for permanent co-investment in flood protection schemes for the region, immigration and skills policies that work for Canterbury, greater collaboration on an integrated approach to transport funding and supporting Canterbury’s continued economic development and emergency management.

These led to valuable discussions with Ministers around climate change adaptation, challenges for local and central government around transport funding, investment in science as well as research and innovation to address some of our environmental challenges.

“We also discussed issues in the way in which local government is currently funded, and the need to work together on finance and funding options and tools that might be available in the future to address current shortfalls,” Mayor Bowen says.

A number of Ministers noted that Canterbury is well placed to lead the way on many of the challenging issues facing our communities, largely because of the influence of the Forum’s one strong voice for Canterbury and how well the councils work together for the good of the region.

Minister Megan Woods says Canterbury is a thriving region.”It is always valuable to get decision makers from Local and Central Government in the same room to talk about issues effecting local communities and come up with practical solutions together.”

Mayor Marie Black, Deputy Chair of the Forum, saw the visit as an important opportunity to ensure Ministers are aware of the priorities for Canterbury.

“It is particularly important in an election year to ensure Ministers are aware of what is needed here in Waitaha/Canterbury. Taking a proactive approach and visiting them in the capital with the refreshed Plan for Canterbury was worthwhile as we look to build stronger connections with leadership in Central Government.”

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