Health and wellbeing are important to us all. Covid has affected many of us and, while that has been challenging on many levels, the way people have supported and cared for others has been extremely heartwarming.
How we care for our most vulnerable at times like this is a measure of the strength of our community.
My involvement and interest in health and wellbeing comes with a variety of hats. In a few weeks, along with other district health board members, I will finish my role on the MidCentral board.
With the implementation of the health reforms, DHB boards will cease to exist, which I believe will leave a significant gap in local health representation in our community. How the new structures will look is currently being determined.
Local government's responsibilities are broad, and include a responsibility to promote community wellbeing. With the role of local government under review it will be interesting to see the outcome of any changes that might be proposed.
City councillors have provided feedback to that review, and we expect to hear in September what the draft recommendations are for any change. One suggestion is local councillors could fill the gap to provide local representation in the health space. I'll be following this with interest.
I'm pleased to see the progress the Disability Reference Group is making in its work to ensure council infrastructure meets the desired standards for accessibility in our city. The group has submitted to ask that this work continues.
It has been an interesting couple of weeks reading submissions to the council's proposed annual budget and listening to submitters. Many submitters have shared concerns about the proposed rates increase and the inconsistent distribution of that increase due to revaluations.
There have been many good suggestions made and it's been good to see the constructive engagement from our community. We are working hard to look at all options and will consider changes in our deliberations next week.
Finally, I'd like to take this opportunity to thank my DHB board member colleagues over the past 12 years - both past and present - for their valuable work in providing governance and advocacy, in their pursuit to ensure our community receives the best possible health services.
• Karen Naylor is a Palmerston North city councillor.