The rain has come and the majority of dairy herds have been dried off leaving us to ponder what could have been. One thing for sure is that the banks will be busy further increasing rural debt as we enter into a winter that will be bleaker than normal. May the upturn be as fast as the decline.
COMMON SENSE PREVAILS
On a more positive note, the Minister for Building and Housing Dr Nick Smith announced recently that a more targeted approach for earthquake-prone buildings will be made.
Instead of ‘one size fits all’, which was a knee-jerk reaction to the disaster in Canterbury, common sense has prevailed and New Zealand will be categorised into three seismic zones of risk from high, to medium to low. From what we can determine the Otorohanga district will probably be categorised as medium which means buildings will need to be assessed within 10 years and strengthened within 25 years.
Adding to the current policy that excludes 1.3 million stand alone homes the new policy will also exclude farm buildings, retaining walls, fences, monuments, wharves, bridges, tunnels and storage tanks. The new approach indicates that buildings will also only have to reach 34% of earthquake resistance.
This is great for our district and will hopefully lead to a softening in the approach from insurance companies and lending institutions.
There may be big changes in the management of the water assets of Waipa district, Waikato district and Hamilton City. Waikato’s Mayoral Forum has been investigating areas where councils can collaborate to achieve savings for ratepayers.
A consultancy firm has researched what efficiencies can possibly be achieved. The end report indicates that there is potentially savings of nearly half a billion dollars over a 20-year period across the three districts. I am sure this is just the beginning of many lengthy discussions as to the ramifications to all ratepayers.
There was no earlier indication of any potential savings for Otorohanga district through collaborating with other districts because our services are as efficient as they possibly could be, while still meeting the necessary water standards.
Last week I had the privilege of attending the powhiri at Waahi Marae in Huntly to welcome Inspector Naila Hassan to her new role as Waikato Police Area Commander. She will be based in Huntly, but has made it clear that she will be out and engaging with communities throughout the Waikato.
Her appointment will bring a level of stability to the com-mander’s role and I am looking forward to meeting with her again in the near future.
Finally, please take the time to read the Otorohanga district flyer that was delivered to all households last month. It highlights the key objectives of the Otorohanga District Council’s 2015-2025 Long Term Plan (LTP).
If you wish to make a written submission on any issues you must do so before Friday, May 29. Consultation documents are available at the council offices or on the council’s website.
For all of you who are leaving our district at the end of next week on new farming adventures, take care and be sure to come back to visit very soon.