Thursday, 14 December 2023 11:55

Business as usual, with key discussions ahead

Written by  Peter Scott
Canterbury Regional Council chair Peter Scott. Canterbury Regional Council chair Peter Scott.

OPINION: It will take some time before we get any specific detail about how the policy changes signaled by the new Government will impact us here in Canterbury.

Until we have new legislation in front of us that tells us to go in a different direction, Canterbury Regional Council (Environment Canterbury) must press ahead with business as usual for environmental regulation, public transport, and all our other core services.

But rest assured I'm not standing by and waiting. We are the largest regional council in the country, and I am committed to ensuring that Canterbury is front of mind for the Government when decisions are being made around the Cabinet table.

Over the past week I have been in touch with our new Ministers to highlight the opportunities that Canterbury offers them. With our expertise, we can help ensure their priorities for the environment, transport, infrastructure, regional development, and biosecurity achieve our aspirations for the region.

I've also explained to Ministers that, although we're well positioned to respond to any changes that might come our way during their tenure, our community and ratepayers have to foot the bill every time government changes policy. This ultimately results in extra work for us to deliver with no additional funding, meaning we have to cover those costs ourselves.

Frankly, I'm tired of fronting community meetings where I must ask you, my fellow ratepayerts, to pick up the tab for government decisions when we're all already contributing to Treasury's tax take.

But it seems like this comes with the job of being a regional government Chair. Like other councils across the country, we're feeling the pinch of rising costs driven by inflation, and are facing challenging times in delivering our growing legal obligations and your ambitions for the region.

To meet the demands plaed on us from government mandates, growing community expectations and the impacts of climate change, we'll reluctantly be proposing a significant rate rise as part of our long-term budget planning process.

This isn't something that we take lightly and neither I nor my fellow Councillors are completely comfortable in having to do this. However, with the regulations we're currently operating under, and the information we have in front of us, we're left with little choice.

How much money we'll need, and what services we should deliver, can only be determined with the community. We will be asking you to help us answer these questions as part of a formal consultation process early next year.

Finding answers to these challenges will be difficult. I know there will be different views within the community and in our Chamber about the best approach. The important thing is that everyone takes time to get involved in the conversation to make sure they're heard - much like what I am hoping to achieve with the Government.

Peter Scott is chair of Canterbury Regional Council (Environment Canterbury).

More like this

New minister's hort focus

The new Minister of Horticulture, Nicola Grigg, says the reason that she came into Parliament was because of her interest in and commitment to agriculture.

Back to the backbench

Former Labour agriculture and trade minister Damien O'Connor hopes the new coalition Governent will continue the direction of travel initiated by his government in terms of ensuring the high reputation of our primary exports.

New Government has a lot to do

Former agriculture minister and speaker of Parliament Sir David Carter says the new National-led coalition faces significantly more important issues to deal with than previous governments.

Better laws for farmers

The new chair of Parliament’s primary production select committee, Mark Cameron, is promising “better law making” for the sector.


Frontline biosecurity 'untouchable'

Biosecurity Minister Andrew Hoggard has reiterated that 'frontline' biosecurity services within Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) will not be cut under the Government's plan to reduce the public service.

Migrant farmer 'lets the side down'

An appalling case of migrant worker exploitation on a Southland farm isn't acceptable, says Federated Farmers dairy chair Richard McIntyre.

Milk price certainty

Westland Milk has reaffirmed its commitment to pay farmer suppliers 10c above Fonterra farm gate milk price for the following two seasons.


Share farmers with big plans

With only about eight weeks to go before their cows are dried off, the 2024 Manawatu Dairy Industry Awards Share…

Team effort brings results

For the team at Westmorland Estate Limited in Waikato, it has been another year of everyone working together to achieve…

Machinery & Products

New name, new ideas

KGM New Zealand, is part of the London headquartered Inchcape Group, who increased its NZ presence in August 2023 with…

All-terrain fert spreading mode

Effluent specialists the Samson Group have developed a new double unloading system to help optimise uphill and downhill organic fertiliser…

Can-Am showcases range

Based on industry data collected by the Motor Industry Association, Can-Am is the number one side-by-side manufacturer in New Zealand.

» Latest Print Issues Online

Milking It

Exploited by one of their own

OPINION: Milking It believes a recent Employment Relations Authority ruling on the exploitation of three migrant workers from Indonesia highlights…

'Not our fault!'

OPINION: Milking It wasn’t too surprised to hear Kiwis’ trust in media has sunk to a new low.

» Connect with Dairy News

» eNewsletter

Subscribe to our weekly newsletter