Time almost up to get your vote in

This year’s local elections are in full swing and, just like the national elections, voting is an excellent opportunity for you to have your say in who you’d like to represent you and your family in decision›making about the social, economic, environmental and cultural wellbeing of your community.

The role of local authorities is to lead and represent their communities. The people elected to local councils make decisions about our daily lives and the future of our towns and cities. They set and collect rates, oversee town planning, and provide services such as rubbish collection, parks and libraries.

They also take care of various other services and infrastructure like water, sewerage, storm water and roads. Therefore, you should exercise your right to have a say about who you want to represent you around the table when critical decisions are made that will affect the quality of life you want for yourself, your family, and your community.

Voting is also your chance to stand up for the issues you care about and have them advocated for by the people you are voting in. Voting closes noon on Saturday. For more information visit www.vote.nz/2022›local-elections.

The Government’s freshwater regulations come into force at the start o next month, requiring farmers to have a certified freshwater farm plan for winter grazing on sloping land. They will have to obtain resource consent if they do not have a certified plan. However, two years after the regulations were passed, the Ministry for the Environment still hasn’t completed the framework allowing farmers to certify freshwater farm plans.

Because the guidelines will not be ready, many thousands of farmers will have no alternative but to apply for resource consent for their winter grazing. Officials say as many as 10,000 resource consents will be required, while industry estimates are higher. Each application costs up to $10,000. To add insult to injury, it will likely turn into an expensive tick›box exercise as our regional councils won’t have the resources to process many applications, and it’s unlikely to achieve any environmental outcomes.

This is yet another example of an unworkable policy brought about by a government which consistently fails to consult adequately with those affected. The National Party is calling on the Government to put the new regulations on hold for a further 12 months while officials get their processes sorted.

Three Waters also remains high on my agenda. Experts from every relevant field have questioned Labour’s Three Waters mega›entity model, and it’s easy to see why. Tomake matters worse, Labour has spent more than $16 million on Three Waters consultant fees so far with no outcomes.

This is yet another example of wasteful spending from this Labour Government. It shows how little care or consideration Labour has for taxpayers’ money.

I’m planning Three Waters meetings across the electorate and will host Simon Watts MP, spokesperson for local government, on October 14, in Gore and Alexandra. I invite Clutha residents to join us at the Gore Town & Country Club, 2 Bury St, from 1pm›2pm.

I look forward to seeing you there.