Council’s Future Tairawhiti meeting this Thursday looks like it’s going to be really interesting. We have a paper to endorse Gisborne Holdings Ltd implementing electric charging stations and another about potential minimum standards of property maintenance, however the main subjects I wanted to touch on are flooding, Iwi and the Long Term Plan.

The recent floods in Edgecumbe and issues around the Whakatane/Te Teko area remind many of us of what Gisborne went through when Cyclone Bola struck in the 80s. Our thoughts are with district and the people as their thoughts were with us during Bola. Council have a paper to gift $10,000 to the district to help with their recovery efforts. $10,000 is a drop in the bucket of what it will cost to fix the plethora of issues that Edgecumbe will face but it’s important that we take a leadership position on this crucial time in our neighbours lives and not only think about them, but also give something practical that can help them.

In light of the flood issues in Edgecumbe it seems timely that we have a paper updating us on the progress of the Waipaoa flood control scheme. One of the big things we are doing is increasing the height and the top width, this will make the stop banks hold more and be more stable. This is a 15 year project, we are currently in Year 2. The works are expected to sustain us well into 2090. I love these kinds of projects because they are forward thinking and for our children, grandchildren and great grandchildren living in a future of scientifically proven climate change, where heavy rain events that lead to flooding will become more common.

Speaking of forward thinking projects, on the card also are the council appointments to the Local Leadership Body. The LLB was created in 2012 by central government legislation. The LLB is a legislative co-governance body between Turanga Iwi and Council. This body will be tasked with contributing to the sustainable management of natural and physical resources in our area. Being empowered by legislation means that there are huge responsibilities on the LLB back to government; it will need to achieve in a transparent and accountable manner.

Our Iwi are now in their post Treaty Settlement phases and will have big plans to grow their economic, cultural, social and environmental bases over the next decades. Ngai Tahu and Tainui received their settlements 20 years ago, now they are both billion dollar powerhouses who make massive contributions to their regions. We all agree that our district is in dire need of lifting, especially economically. I believe that Iwi are in the position to do this and the LLB will help contribute to that in a strategic and cohesive manner. As with all fledgling bodies there is still a lot yet to be known but the possibilities and opportunities are immense.

There is a paper that reminds us we are gearing into our Long Term Plan Strategic engagement phase. Planning is important. If you fail to plan then you are planning to fail. The Long Term Plan is what will guide us over the next 10 years. This is the document that dictates almost a billion dollars worth of spending and we need everyone in our piece of paradise to be a part of the thinking that goes into the plan. Use your voice, say your piece and help decide where we go to in the future as a district.