Tena kotou katoa Waikato District,
I hope you are all keeping well and especially after such a challenging start to the year.
My first six months of being Mayor of this wonderful district have been busy and certainly eventful. There have been some wonderful moments along the way, but the significant impacts of the Anniversary weekend floods and then Cyclone Gabrielle were devastating for some of our communities – particularly those in the north of our district and my home of Port Waikato. My thoughts go out to those who continue to be displaced from their homes and the many families who have had to endure a difficult couple of months. Several of our teams here at Council continue to support the residents whose homes were red and yellow stickered, and I acknowledge the significant amount of mahi that continues behind the scenes. Getting all aspects of the recovery sorted remains a high priority for me as the mayor and for my Council.
Part of this focus is on fixing the damaged roading across the district, with Waka Kotahi providing additional money to enable this to happen as a priority. Just to paint a picture here... normally Council receives only 51% funding for roading projects from Waka Kotahi, however, they are currently upping the ante by providing 91% of the funding needed to fix our broken roads.
In terms of the roading programme, we are committed to using as much of this fund as we can before the opportunity runs out. This means that our BAU roading works and general maintenance takes a bit of a back seat. Sorry folks if this means that in your area there are some issues that you are still waiting on to be fixed, we will get to them so keep your service requests coming in through the usual channel.
Beyond our work to support the recovery of our communities, there is a great deal going on as we progress through our first term of Council, with a renewed focus on affordability, sustainability, and growth. We remain driven by our commitment to building Liveable, Thriving, and Connected Communities across the Waikato district and the recent events only serve to reinforce this purpose.
For now, I will leave you with good wishes for a restful long weekend and a Happy Easter to you and your whaanau from me and mine.
Ngaa mihi nui
Mayor Jacqui Church