As the local MP for Hauraki-Waikato, I feel it's important to ensure that people feel a sense of connectedness to the community they live in.
Making sure we have community outcomes defined by local people is a core focus for councils as they work to set priorities for their towns and regions.
We need greater collaboration all round to achieve the best for Hamilton and the wider region.
So it's been great in recent years to see the close collaboration between central Government, councils, iwi, business and others to promote Waikato's success.
The development of the Waikato Plan, the Waikato Mayoral Forum and the Waikato Means Business economic development strategy are some key examples of that.
As we move ahead, and in finalising the likes of council long-term plans, it's essential to think of well-being in a holistic way as we seek to make sure our communities thrive.
I have recently introduced a Bill to Parliament that will re-insert the four well-beings into law to help councils re-focus on the holistic aspects that contribute to a thriving place to live.
The Local Government (Community Well-being) Amendment Bill seeks to restate the promotion of social, economic, environmental and cultural well-being of communities to the statutory purpose of local government.
That will help us better face serious challenges such as the impact of population growth, climate change and ageing infrastructure.
The Bill also seeks to give councils back the ability to collect development contributions in order to fund increased demand for community facilities, such as libraries, sports grounds and swimming pools resulting from developments.
This will provide some relief to councils as we continue to work towards a broader range of funding and financing tools to assist local government.
I also note Hamilton City Council is currently running its five-yearly Community Profile Survey till 30 April. These surveys are a valuable research tool that produces data which help with community decision-making and planning on a range of fronts. You can participate at www.hamilton.govt.nz/comm-profiles. So have your say Hamiltonians.
Meanwhile, it's great to see the opening of a new Waikato Civil Defence headquarters in Hamilton. We have a committed team in the Waikato that works hard to respond to natural hazards and disasters. The new premises will give greater visibility to the work they undertake on our behalf.
Central and local government working together will make a critical difference to achieving quality of life outcomes and keeping communities safe.
Nanaia Mahuta is MP for the Hauraki-Waikato electorate and the Minister for Local Government and Māori Development, and associate Minister for the Environment.