LTP SUBMISSIONS THIS WEEK
This week the Otorohanga District Council will be hearing submissions on our Long Term Plan, then deliberating on these and other written submissions. The decisions we make will then determine whether changes are made to our LTP projections.
As you are probably aware there are no major challenges to be considered during the next 10 years, so as a consequence rate increases will be relatively modest while ensuring debt reduction is still our key focus.
I have been asked a number of times following the announcement of a dairy company coming to Otorohanga whether it is a done deal. The simple answer is no, but when the resource requirments are met, it is likely the plan will go into place.
The main consent requirements that have to be met are around water and wastewater demands on the Otorohanga district's infrastructure. The council will ensure that the town's water and wastewater will not be compromised to any degree - this is something that the owners and us at council are accutely aware of.
There is certainly no concern that our district will be left with the burden of unforeseen costs of a new industry in our town. Both parties are fully aware any contingencies have to be built into the establishment of new business.
All things considered, this is a wonderful opportunity for us all and for the long-term future of Otorohanga. The development highlights we are here to encourage new businesses and to support and encourage future opportunity.
It was encouraging to see Health Minister Johathan Coleman and the Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy announce a $500,000 injection to support rural mental health. With a few very lean months ahead of us here in the dairy industry I have been concerned about the head space our farmers may potentially be in during the next 6-12 months.
While attending a rural and provincial conference in Wellington two weeks ago I listened to a great presentation from Michelle Thompson from Rural Health Alliance Aotearoa NZ. A relevant point she raised is that annually we have about five deaths through quad bike accidents, which are all very tragic and well publicised, but we do not hear of the 23-25 suicides on our farms per annum.
We must look after ourselves, our families, friends and neighbours over this winter period. Please know that as a district we are not alone in these struggles. Take care