The Canterbury Mayoral Forum (the Mayors of the ten territorial authorities in Canterbury and the Chair of the regional council (Environment Canterbury) has released a revised version of its Plan for Canterbury.
The Plan for Canterbury sets out the Forum’s three immediate priorities as we progress through this triennium.
The Plan for Canterbury summarises the interests and priorities of local government leaders for Cantabrians. It provides a basis for conversation and partnership with Ngāi Tahu, Central Government, the business sector and the community sectors.
Mayor Nigel Bowen, Chair of the Canterbury Mayoral Forum, believes now is a good time to re-launch the plan, and refine and put emphasis on the Forum’s priorities for the remainder of the triennium.
“We need to be strong advocates for Canterbury and having set out our priorities, we can move forward with these and make the change we want to see across the region.”
The Forum’s three immediate priorities are:
- Advocating with the Government for permanent co-investment in flood protection to protect local and national assets and contribute to more sustainable regional economies.
Flooding is the most common natural hazard in New Zealand, and Canterbury’s 78,000km of rivers and streams puts us at substantial risk of major flooding events. Permanent co-investment in flood protection shifts the focus from disaster relief and recovery towards mitigation of flood risks, while reducing long-term costs.
- Advocating with the Government for immigration and skills policies that work for Canterbury.
Canterbury has many natural advantages, significant infrastructure and a range of universities and research institutes, but our GDP per person lags behind the national average. To lift wages and incomes we need more skilled jobs and skilled workers to fill them.
- Seeking to collaborate with Government to develop an integrated approach to transport funding and increase the level of funding available for Canterbury transport networks.
Our region’s vast transport network provides connection and strongly influences economic development, supporting supply chains that are critical for getting our products to market. Current funding sources do not meet present or future transport network resilience requirements. It is estimated that an additional $1 billion is required over the next 10 years.
Forum members will be travelling to Wellington to put the Plan and priorities in front of Ministers in May. Mayor Marie Black, Deputy Chair of the Forum, sees this 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. Taking a proactive approach and visiting them in the capital with the Plan for Canterbury will be worthwhile as we look to build stronger connections with leadership in central government.”
The selection of the three priority areas doesn’t mean that other issues are unimportant to the Forum. Some have greater sub-regional than regional significance, some issues on the Forum’s radar are well on the way to being addressed through other avenues and there are others that while the Forum cares deeply about, it is thought we would have little or no ability to influence in that space.
Visit canterburymayors.org.nz/PlanforCanterbury for the refreshed Plan for Canterbury, including a summary document that features high-level information.