Mayor Steve Chadwick on Te Arawa partnership model consultation
Having a more effective relationship with iwi is crucial for our district.
Everyone agrees on the need for a stronger partnership with Te Arawa. It's something I campaigned on when I stood for mayor and councillors endorsed developing a partnership with iwi as part of the Rotorua 2030 vision.
Council's relationship with iwi is an essential conversation for the community and it's now time for residents to consider what has been proposed and guide Council in its decision-making.
We have received a proposal put to us by Te Arawa, we have adopted it in principle so that we could then go out to consultation. As required following Council's decision to undergo a "Special Consultative Procedure" because of the significance of this, we have finalised a consultation document, having also sought, received and accepted legal advice in which I have every confidence.
Last week councillors unanimously agreed that the Statement of Proposal, which is the consultation document for this process, could now go out to the wider community, with some editorial amendments which were requested by councillors. These were the only suggested amendments considered, not those from outside parties, and they were discussed, debated and decided on, as per the proper process.
We are now going out to consultation and asking the public to tell us what they think. We will then make a decision.
Everyone now has equal opportunity to make submissions. That is the right and proper process. It's democracy in action - this is how it works.
Elected officials make decisions for the wider community all the time but sometimes an issue is of such significance that it demands a clear steer from the community so that the best decision can be made. That's what we are doing here because it's the right thing to do.
It has taken longer than I wanted to get to this point but finally, the public will get access to details of this proposal and other options which will help to inform discussion and submissions.
As a mayor, I have the power to change committees of Council and the Te Arawa committee came under the same scrutiny as others. I agreed that, rather than follow an audit process, we look to find a more contemporary model - one that will endure - and the decision to now go out to the community is a result of that earlier decision.
Finding an effective partnership with iwi isn't a new discussion but Council did commit to working on this following the 2013 election. Te Arawa has a vested interest in the care and development of this region and these interests are universal and beneficial to us all.