Last week Hamilton City Council (HCC) rejected an offer from Waikato District Council (WDC) to extend library services to our residents. HCC discussed the offer and resolved to decline but instead initiate wider cross-boundary discussion with WDC.
WDC looks forward to considering the issue (including the opportunity for a regional libraries strategy) as part of a broader discussion about how we collaborate and about how we use each other’s services. WDC will continue to work with our communities to provide them good user-friendly access to libraries both in our district and within our neighbours.
We know that in the Waikato most of us move around a lot. People don’t think about territorial boundaries when they go about their lives, whether its visiting Hamilton Gardens or the soon to be built Waikato Regional Theatre on Victoria Street (in Hamilton City), traveling to Raglan or the Hakarimatas (in Waikato District), or popping out to Lake Karapiro for a swim or water ski (in Waipa District). These are all highly valued and visited regionally-used assets, and to be fair libraries are similar.
We’re supportive of the spirit expressed by HCC Chief Executive Richard Briggs when he said that we each need to look after our own ratepayers, “but also acknowledge the cross-boundary connections we have and find a way to support this in a way which is fair for all.” To us, this is the purpose of cross-border collaboration and finding local solutions, something that we are fully supportive of and will continue to be so.
Waikato District Council has been collaborating effectively with its local government neighbours for many years. Future Proof, a joint project set up by partner Councils to consider how the Waikato sub-region should develop into the future, has been highly successful in influencing our Council and Central Government policies, as has the myriad of shared service initiatives that we collaborate on a day-to-day basis. This joined up approach will continue to deliver benefits of our residents for decades to come.
WDC and HCC are working with iwi, government partners (including government departments and agencies) and Auckland Council on how best to grow and develop the Hamilton to Auckland corridor in a sustainable manner. WDC has been recognised by Government as holding a key role in a successful corridor spatial plan and that we continue to work hard to represent both our ratepayers and the region, often taking a lead role for the greater good.
We have responded to the unprecedented growth in our district by increasing our organisation size and changing the way we operate. This is an exciting time for local government in the Waikato and for Waikato District in particular. Watch this space!
Attributed to: Gavin Ion, Waikato District Council Chief Executive