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March Message from Mayor Allan

Tēnā kotou Waikato District,

I hope you are all keeping well and that you are being kind to yourselves and each other as we all navigate the changes and uncertainty that COVID-19 continues to bring to Aotearoa and the world.

Council remains committed to doing our best to continue to provide the services our residents across the district need, with as minimal disruption as possible, however, we ask for your continued patience as we prepare for the impacts the Omicron variant will bring for our workforce.

As case numbers grow and supply issues increase, our priority is to make sure we can continue to deliver our core services including the supply of water services, treating our wastewater, and managing our rubbish and recycling services.

Following the announcement back in January around decisions on our Proposed Waikato District Plan, our planners and consents team have been working on what this will mean for our residents, commercial and industrial businesses, community groups, and stakeholders.

The Proposed District Plan (PDP) Decision Version is currently open to any appeals until 1 March (30 working days following the release of the decision). Any appeals received will need to be resolved before the plan becomes the next Operative District Plan.

The Proposed District Plan (PDP) provides important guidance for those who live and work in our district and is critical for supporting our ongoing economic growth and prosperity.

Despite the many challenges the COVID-19 pandemic has brought upon us, we are still delighted with the growth and development of our district. Our Growth and Analytics team recently provided a report with some insightful economic and population statistics that I wanted to share with you all:

  • In 2021, a total of 10,032 business units were recorded in the district, which is an increase from 1.5% in 2020.
  • As of March 2021, the total number of filled jobs in the Waikato District was 25,717 an increase of 3.5% from the previous year. The rate of job creation in our district has also been higher than the national average since 2013.
  • Contrastingly, our unemployment rates in the district have been lower than the national average since 2009, currently sitting at 3.7%.
  • Since 2014, more than 12,000 people have migrated from other parts of Aotearoa to the Waikato District.
  • Between 2014-2021, six towns in the district experienced growth of more than 1000 people, with Pōkeno having a 341% growth rate (4289-person increase) and Te Kauwhata having a 51% growth rate (1000-person increase).

These statistics quantify the rapid growth we continue to experience, and I am excited and proud to see our district thriving and continuing to grow and develop during these challenging times.

I wanted to end on a personal note and share the news that I have decided not to stand for re-election in this year’s local body elections in October. It has been a huge privilege to lead Council over the past 12 years and I look forward to continuing to work alongside our councillors and staff over the next seven months, as we progress with our plans and deliver on our promise to our communities.

Kia kaha and noho ora mai,

Mayor Allan Sanson