I'm pleased to see there will be an emphasis on social issues, health, education and employment in Budget 2019 and look forward to understanding how that fits with the reintroduction to the Local Government Act of social, environmental, economic and cultural wellbeing.
It recognises and formalises the role of localism in finding solutions for local issues and the important role of councils to lead, facilitate and coordinate this.
The reintroduction of "the 4 wellbeings" shows the Government understands councils are about more than just providing so-called core services.
We contribute to outcomes that impact on community wellbeing and that needs to be reflected both in legislation, and through adequate funding to address social issues if we are to make a difference in our communities.
We are already working in that space and I will be interested to see how this new emphasis on localism will be supported in the Budget.
Initiatives that will enable young people to transition from employment into jobs is something the Mayors' Taskforce for Jobs has a very keen interest in seeing, ensuring that link between education and jobs is strong and supports our young people.
It has been great to see recent announcements about Housing First being established in Rotorua to address homelessness and Housing NZ's building programme to assist more families in need of homes.
Housing is a challenge throughout New Zealand, including in Rotorua, and social housing is a key component of resolving the current shortage.
Public safety is a key issue for many people and I'd like to see more resourcing for the police to tackle family harm and to support initiatives like our joint council/police inner-city safety initiative.
In terms of other areas that need funding locally, we want to see sufficient funding for regional infrastructure to honour prior commitments made for improved roading, such as our Eastern corridor.
Another challenge for us in Rotorua is the need for wastewater schemes in our lakes and rural communities to support our goals around protecting our lakes and public health.
I'd like to see government subsidies for these schemes continuing into the future. We've had them for the likes of Rotoiti/Rotoma, which has provided some financial relief for those residents, but we have no guarantee that government subsidies will also be available of other communities in line for schemes, such as Tarawera and Mamaku.
Local councils are also struggling to meet the demands of tourism and we need the Government's ongoing commitment to address that to ease the burden on our ratepayer bases.
For the past couple of years we have also been lobbying for a government contribution to the work that needs to be done to re-open Rotorua Museum, for the benefit of our community as well as to reinstate the income our council derives from that.
Talks I've been having with senior ministers have been progressing well so we look forward to confirming the level of government contribution.