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Elections threaten district plan

The Wairarapa Combined District plan will influence subdivisions in the region. PHOTO/FILE

A draft of the Wairarapa Combined District Plan is due to be released in late October, immediately after local body elections.

The plan is undergoing a 10-yearly review and will influence land use and subdivision in the region.

But local elections this year could mean a shakeup for the committee that has been reworking the document.

The list of members on the committee includes an independent chair, two iwi representatives, and two elected members from Carterton, Masterton, and South Wairarapa councils.

These elected members are Frazer Mailman and Tina Nixon from Masterton, Robyn Cherry-Campbell and Brian Deller from Carterton, and Alistair Plimmer and Brian Jephson from South Wairarapa.

Jephson said he was not standing for council again and was concerned about delays that could be caused in the district plan process due to new members getting up to speed and accredited.

“There was a bit of a push to try to get the draft document out before the next actions because, under the terms of reference, the sitting commissioners will be replaced.

“If there are commissioners on there that aren’t standing or don’t get reelected, we have to go through the process again.

“We don’t want to stall the project or have to rewind it, so we want to get the draft document out first and then if there is a reset with commissioners, we take it from there.”

He said new councillors would need accreditation, which “could take three to six months”.

South Wairarapa District Council chief executive Harry Wilson said the new council could decide to make appointments of former councillors to the combined district plan committee, which would allow for better continuation.

But this was not a guarantee.

Councillors who were committee members had all completed the Ministry for the Environment’s RMA [Resource Management Act] Making Good Decisions programme.

Members also included iwi representatives Ra Smith [Ngāti Kahungunu ki Wairarapa] and Jo Hayes [Rangitāne Tu Mai Ra Trust], as well as an independent chair, David McMahon [an independent RMA Commissioner and founding director of Resource and Environmental Management Consultants].

The final district plan was set to be adopted next year. – NZLDR

Public Interest Journalism funded through NZ On Air

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