Funding to improve for Patea

By John Maslin

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It has taken years to get sorted but Patea people will soon be able to tap into TSB Community Trust funds.

A small change included in the Statutes Amendment Bill is expected to be passed by Parliament very early in the new year, clearing the way for locals to apply for money for their projects.

It's a resolution that has been welcomed by Whanganui MP Chester Borrows.

"It's bloody good to see it through finally," he told the Chronicle yesterday.

The change ends a drawn-out battle to get the bottom part of the South Taranaki district recognised by the TSB trust.

Until now, Patea had fallen between that trust and the Whanganui Community Foundation and suffered as a consequence.

Mr Borrows said he believed it was a survey he carried out in 2010 that gave the argument some weight.

He surveyed residents in the area between the Manawapou River near Manutahi and Whenuakura rivers south of Patea to find out what connection the trust had in the area and what would be the support if the boundaries were changed.

Of the hundreds of responses received, 71 per cent of households had accounts with TSB, and more than half had two or more.

He said that showed the TSB had an "extremely large presence" in the region.

The South Taranaki District Council came out in support of the change as well, suggesting that the TSB Community Trust area should cover the same boundaries as the council, bringing it down as far as Maxwell.

"That will happen once the legislation is changed. It also means both the TSB trust and the Whanganui Community Foundation had to come to an arrangement, which they have done," Mr Borrows said.

He said the Statutes Amendment Bill had got through its first reading before the parliamentary break and will go to select committee in the new year.

"I'd expect it to be enacted in the first quarter of 2016," he said.

The problem came to a head when the Whanganui Community Foundation, whose border came all the way up to Manawapou River, refused funding for the South Taranaki Regional Museum and TSB wouldn't assist because the premises were outside their boundary, in spite of the museum being regional in nature.

Mr Borrows said he made an Official Information Act request for all funding the foundation had made to Patea in six years. He said it was "miserable" yet funding into Waverley had been significant.

"I felt this was because Waverley was aligned to Whanganui and Patea to Taranaki. It just wasn't fair," he said.

- Wanganui Chronicle

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