A turning point for Tauranga?

By Bill Wasley, Commissioner (until 23 July 2024)

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July 2024 marks a turning point for Tauranga, in the form of our first Council election since 2019.

The Commission appointed in 2021, and reappointed for a further two-year term in 2022, was charged with restoring trust and confidence in the Council as an organisation, making good decisions on behalf of the community, and putting in place long-term plans that will address decades of underinvestment in the infrastructure and community facilities our fast-growing city needs and deserves.

We think we’ve had a fair measure of success on all of those fronts and the recently-adopted 2024-34 Long-term Plan provides a realistic roadmap for the investments needed to maintain our essential services; address the city’s chronic housing shortage, unaffordable property prices and congested roading network; and provide the facilities a city of our size and importance should have.

We’ve done our bit and now it’s time for the people of Tauranga to do theirs. Local government voting rates around New Zealand are dismal, with most councils struggling to get more than 40% of registered voters to participate. For what could well be the most important election in our city’s history, that sort of participation rate simply won’t cut it.

Your new Council will need to have a substantial community mandate, because it has some important decisions ahead of it. That’s why it’s crucial that all electors weigh-up what they want for their city, identify the mayoral and ward candidates they think will best deliver on their wishes, and then vote for them.

By the time you read this column, you should have received your voting papers in the mail. If so, please take action by posting your votes back by Wednesday, 17 July, or drop them into an orange voting box at your local supermarket, library, or any council office by midday Saturday, 20 July – check the council website for details.

Your decisions will determine the make-up of Tauranga City Council’s governance team for the next four-and-a bit years (the next council election in Tauranga will be in October 2028) and that governance team will determine the city’s future. So yes, your votes are important and immensely relevant, because they will tell your next community leaders what sort of city you want for yourselves, and for future generations of residents to
live in.

Your city, your future lifestyle, your choice….

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