This week our council committees meet and there is a lot on!

At Community Development a decision for Tikitiki to get a playground is on the cards. Our Tikitiki whanau have been waiting on our speedy bureaucracy to get itself sorted. It’s go time now. Let’s show the community we are action oriented and get the park done!

An amazing art project to art-ify the phone boxes in our district is being presented to us. This is being spear headed by the Gisborne District Youth Council.

At the Environmental, Planning and Regulation committee meeting we are noting reports about the MAR pilot project, the Rere project and the Wainui stream wetland implementation.

The Makauri Aquifier is capable of handling millions of cubic metres of water. The recharge pilot will inject 10,000 cubic metres of water into the aquifier and the results will be analysed. Once we see the results of the analysis we will be in an informed position to make a decision about where to from here.

Recharging the aquifier is a solution that only targets the symptoms though, not the root cause; which is the over allocation of the water take from the aquifier. Any solution that is created in the future needs to have the reduction of the take at the centre of it. Every entity is expected to live within their financial means; we should also live within our water means.

I am looking forward to seeing the Heath Johnstone park wetland be established and shaped by the community’s input. Improving our water quality should always be front of mind for us environmentally.

In Infrastructure we are relocating the Rethink Waste Education Centre. This was the centre that was located at the Waste Centre in the subdivision. The Centre is being relocated to premises subleased from and adjacent to the Tairāwhiti Environment Centre (TEC). Quite a fitting place for the Centre to be located, there will be a good synergy between the Environment Centre and the Rethink Centre.

Great to also see our Waste Minimisation Fund is being distributed well. Going to deserving groups like Plastic Bag Free Tairawhiti and Para Kore, a marae focussed waste reduction movement. Rhythm and Vines also received an amount for tent recovery and redistribution on a hired basis back to festival goers. The aim is to reduce the leftovers of the festival and minimise waste. This scheme is expected to be self sustaining.

Finally in Finance and Audit, the most exciting, action packed committee and the one I coincidentally am the deputy chair for, we have our Treasury Policy review on the table for decision.

In this paper we are confirming our Liability Management Policy and Investment Policy. The Liability Management Policy is about how we borrow responsibly and efficiently. The Investment Policy’s aim is to ensure that our investments balance risk and return.

I have been asked several times, what Gisborne District Council’s ethical investment position is. The truth is, we don’t have one. This policy has no ethical investment statement however I believe this is the perfect opportunity to have an ethical position included. The Gisborne District Council needs to explicitly state that we will not invest in companies whose business activities, products and services are inappropriate, like arms manufacture, gambling and alcohol. We also need to ensure that we do not invest in businesses whose activities, products and services are contrary to official positions we have taken as a council, like deep sea oil drilling and plastic manufacturing.

Investment and responsible money management is important, so too is ensuring it is done ethically.