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A unified approach serves us best

I sat in on the recent Wairarapa Emergency Management Office’s [WREMO] exercise Ua Whero, training to manage a heavy weather event in Wairarapa.

Those of us who grew up here, and anyone who has been around in the last year or so, know the effect weather extremes have on our valley; too much or not enough water is a year-in, year-out battle. Everyone involved in the event in Masterton was motivated by the best interests of this community in the face of Mother Nature. Extreme weather makes us susceptible.

Following the WREMO exercise, I attended a meeting of the Advisory Oversight Group, a joint initiative of the Wellington regional, district, and city councils to sign a memorandum of understanding on our water services – Local Water Done Well. Mayors and councillors from across the region committed to working together, robustly, and efficiently, to create a water services delivery plan.

That’s not just Wairarapa but across the capital region. We have an opportunity to build on the work started under the previous Three Waters regime and hone it towards a more local perspective, while acknowledging that shared resources – and shared rivers – are a matter of fact. While we are at the mercy of changing political winds, we can set a course by them and use them positively, in the same direction, keeping in mind that these conversations do not prevent the Wairarapa from setting up its own plan if that’s what suits us best.

Regardless of whether the Wairarapa ends up in a Wellington Regional Water Services Entity or a separate Wairarapa one, both the civil defence exercise and the MoU served to increase our resilience through a united approach to future planning and a shared plan of attack to combat the worst impacts of the climate or other emergencies.

Our community needs all the resources it can muster collectively to support each other when earthquakes devastate, when cyclones hit, and when we reach the kind of water crisis that threatened the Wellington Region last summer. And the unified approach is the key point for me. It should be a call for all councils to prioritise their community’s infrastructural, economic, social, and political resilience. It’s more than shared services, it’s a common purpose to serve the best interests of our community in the most cost-effective manner.

As much as some of those north of the Waingawa, and south of the Waiohine – and even some between – may not want to read more, we must extend that approach across Wairarapa. The letter writers will already be adding ink to pen, and I can hear the phones tapping away on Facebook already, but I can only reiterate what I feel is best for our area.

We need to continue a conversation on a unified approach. Our people need as much security as we can offer them in the months and years ahead, with a clear path, unincumbered by bureaucratic divisions, etched on maps a generation ago. Nature and the weather do not respect district boundaries or city lines, and we should not consider them when we are thinking about how best we might protect people, their homes, their families, and their futures. Our long-term plan in Carterton is based on resilience and a Wairarapa-wide approach to our major challenges provides much more resilience than we can on our own.

I would also like to welcome Cr Steve Cretney as our new Deputy Mayor and thank Cr Dale Williams for his tenure. Dale has and will continue to provide dedicated service to Council.

As I’ve acknowledged, Dale indicated at the outset he was prepared to step down mid-term should I wish to appoint someone else for the second half of the triennium. Dale’s experience as a former Councillor and Mayor has been invaluable.

Steve will provide excellent insight and support as a born-and-bred Cartertonian with a passion for his portfolios. I look forward to working together with Steve, Dale, and the team as we work for the betterment of Carterton and Wairarapa.


  1. History of the WORLD 🌎 shows changes that have occurred without humans. Please stop this money 💰 🤑 💸 grabbing 😫 CLIMATE CHANGE BUSINESS THAT’S GOING TO BANKRUPT THE WORLD 🌎. Next we will see it on the STOCK EXCHANGE.

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Roger Parker
Roger Parker
Roger Parker is the Times-Age news director. In the Venn-diagram of his two great loves, news and sport, sports news is the sweet spot.

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