Matthew Martin is a senior reporter at the Rotorua Daily Post

Macpherson's final policy announcement

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Mayoral candidate Dr Reynold Macpherson has released his fifth and final policy statement.
Mayoral candidate Dr Reynold Macpherson has released his fifth and final policy statement.

Partnerships are the key to Rotorua's future economic success, says mayoral candidate Dr Reynold Macpherson.

In his fifth and final policy statement Dr Macpherson promised to build partnerships with all sectors of the Rotorua economy interested in "developing practical business solutions that will contribute to the growth of prosperity and well being".

"These partnerships will encourage the growth of private enterprise and better paid jobs in the forestry, tourism, agribusiness, manufacturing and service sectors, in culturally and environmentally sensitive ways, mindful of the regional, national and international context."

He said potential investors wanted "expert and supportive advice on local business opportunities in all sectors, continuous improvements to the District Plan and the annual plan, and more responsive resource consenting".

"A fresh co-operative relationship is needed with regional and national authorities, especially over infrastructure development and water quality, and with education and training agencies to build the capacities of our people."

Dr Macpherson said his new Regulations Committee would be set up to "advise and implement council policy decisions on responsible economic development".

It would be made up of all elected representatives "and the expert officials leading programmes and projects in resource consenting, building services, animal welfare and control, civil defence, permits, food and liquor licensing, and lakes water quality in collaboration with regional council".

He said it would do away with the need for the current Resource Management policy committee.

"We need to return the resource consenting process to reconciling economic and environmental values in a practical manner, while respecting the kaitiakitanga responsibilities of mana whenua and protecting our beautiful environment for those that follow us.

"Land use policy and planning processes need to hear all communities, stakeholders and individuals who wish to be heard on growth.

"Lumbercube taught us that the ownership change and compliance protocols need significant tightening."

The other mayoral candidates respond:

John Rakei-Clark:
I agree that Rotorua needs all the ideas outlined by Reynold.

Rob Kent:
I agree with Reynold that improving investor confidence must be a priority objective for the economic development of the district.

The suggestion that his Regulations Committee should comprise not only elected councillors but expert officials in his stated regulatory areas seems to confuse the decision-making role of councillors with the implementation role of council staff.

His policy also appears to confuse the role of councillors with that of qualified accredited RMA Commissioners, who are the only people permitted to determine RMA hearings.

Frances Louis:
I disagree with Reynold's final policy simply because he has not consulted Te Arawa.

There is no mention of Te Arawa partnership members and their views, so therefore I reject any policies that do not have the stamp of approval from Te Arawa.

Steve Chadwick:
Another committee, another step backwards to where councillors are left with the responsibility for a grab-bag of anything that may lead to economic development.

"Vision 2030" is the current "Rotorua way" delivered through the Economic Growth council controlled organisation.

A councillor-led portfolio with a community advisory committee and an independent board of experts is delivering all the current metrics of growth, land-use change, tourism boom, investor growth and confidence, and destination marketing.

The choice is clear, back to the past and a "we know best" approach or working collaboratively with experts to grow Rotorua.

Mark Gould:
I have been advocating for some time that we need to form strong economic partnerships.

I believe that our partnership policies must include the ability to form alliances with private investors as well as local and regional authorities.

A great example of this would be our airport where I believe a strategic private partner will enable us to get better use from the airport and clear some of the debt that is being carried from general rates and having a negative impact on both rates and community funding.

RangiMarie Kingi:
I agree that we need to build better partnerships.

But I don't think we need another committee, we already have enough of those.

We should be reviewing the committees and the people who are holding those positions, rather then forming another committee.

Rotorua needs a starting point for change and I want to make that happen.

- Rotorua Daily Post

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