30 September 2019
Waikato Regional Council has signed off on a successful year in which a focus on strong partnerships has helped to
deliver more for the region’s communities.
The achievements were recorded in the council’s 2018/19 Annual Report adopted by council on Thursday (26 September),
which highlights the work it has done with others to build a Waikato region that has a healthy environment, strong
economy and vibrant communities.
Council chair Alan Livingston said the report reflected a year where the council had continued to build on existing
relationships to maximise the opportunities for the Waikato region.
“Every year, hundreds of volunteers and landowners spend thousands of hours working to protect our environment, and we
have supported them where we can,” he said.
In the last year, more than $1.5 million in funding went to helping landowners tackle erosion and water quality issues,
and improve biodiversity, on about 400 individual properties.
The council also financially supported various environmental initiatives – Maungatautari Ecological Island, Karioi
Project and Coromandel Coastal Walkways – and helped fund voluntary emergency services Surf Life Saving, Coastguard,
Philips Search and Rescue Trust, Coromandel Rescue Helicopter Trust and LandSAR.
“During this year our strategic partnerships have also strengthened for the betterment of the Waikato,” Cr Livingston
He pointed to the region’s mayors agreeing to work together on climate change actions, including developing a roadmap of
activities as part of New Zealand’s transition to net carbon zero by 2050.
“As an organisation, the council has committed to reducing its emissions by 2 per cent every year. In the 2018/19 year
we successfully achieved a 15 per cent reduction, although this was largely due to less rainfall which meant our flood
pumps didn’t operate for as many hours.”
The Waikato Mayoral Forum also agreed that a new regional economic development entity should be formed, focused on
business development, innovation, industry development and investment attraction services. In July 2018, Te Waka: Anga
whakamua Waikato was established to support economic development in the region by promoting one set of agreed
The reporting year has seen the signing of an agreement by iwi, local and central government agencies to develop a
Hamilton-Auckland Corridor Plan, which will ensure joined-up planning between Auckland and the Waikato.
A key project of this, which the regional council is leading, is the start-up Hamilton-Auckland passenger rail service.
“We have also been working very closely with the Government in the last 12 months, particularly on the topic of fresh
water which is one of our priorities.”
That’s why the Heathy Rivers/Wai Ora: Proposed Plan Change 1, which has progressed well in the last year, will be
implemented over 80 years unless new technology enables us to move quicker, he said.
Other highlights in 2018/19 include:
• A large project has started in the past year called Healthy Environments | He Taiao Mauriora. It’s the combined review
of the Regional Coastal Plan and Waikato Regional Plan.
• Paeroa has a new mechanical floodgate across State Highway 26, which has vastly improved the council’s level of
service to the town.
• A new flood protection scheme with fish-friendly pumps is being built near Ngātea.
• A strategy is being developed to guide the management of flood pump related impediments to native fish as they migrate
downstream, and to help with decision making around future investment in flood protection.
• The council’s flood assets have been mapped on the Waikato Regional Hazards Portal, developed this past year to
improve public access to natural hazard information relating to the region.
Financially, the council performed well and has achieved an operating surplus of $11,000 compared to the forecast
deficit of $1.643 million signalled in the annual plan. The council’s investment fund returned $6.596 million for the
year, against a budgeted return of $5.143 million.
The full annual report and summary will be available online from October at www.waikatoregion.govt.nz/annual-report