The Canterbury Mayoral Forum, comprising the Mayors of the 10 territorial authorities in Canterbury and the Chair of the regional council, has today released a revised version of its plan for the region.
Mayor Nigel Bowen, Chair of the Canterbury Mayoral Forum, said he believes now is a good time to re-launch the plan, and refine and emphasise 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,” he said.
The Plan for Canterbury sets out the Forum’s three immediate priorities and 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, the forum said in a statement.
The Forum’s three immediate priorities are:
Advocating with 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,” the Forum states.
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 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 travel to Wellington to put the Plan and priorities in front of Ministers in May. Mayor Marie Black, Deputy Chair of the Forum, said the trip was 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,” she said.
“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.”