Two Policies Were Adopted By Waikato Regional Council At Its April Meeting

Published: Tue 30 Apr 2024 08:58 AM
Review sees changes to council funding programme
A recent review of Waikato Regional Council’s Natural Heritage Partnership Programme Funding Policy will see changes to its implementation.
The changes were considered at the April meeting of the Strategy and Policy Committee and adopted by council when it met last week (Wednesday, 24 April).
It includes updated objectives and criteria for the Natural Heritage Partnership Programme and operational changes that build in efficiencies for staff and applicants.
The funding policy underpins the allocation and administration of three contestable funds: Natural Heritage Fund, Environmental Initiatives Fund and Small Scale Community Initiatives Fund, which support individuals and community groups to undertake projects to enhance the environment.
Biosecurity and biodiversity manager, Patrick Whaley, said the review identified several issues with the current funding policy, putting it out of step with increasing community demands for financial support.
Among the issues is duplicate and ambiguous information making the policy difficult to understand, a lack of consistency with current operational practice, and the pre-allocation of funds from future years, effectively limiting future decision makers ability to allocate funding.
“Since the funding policy was last reviewed in 2015 there has been an increase in the capability and capacity of community groups applying, resulting in a higher demand for funds and technical expertise from council,” said Mr Whaley.
“The current funding policy cannot, on its own, deal with this increasing demand so changes have been made to support decision-making processes and provide certainty to applicants in relation to the funding of multi-year projects.”
Strategy and Policy Committee chair Warren Maher said a review of the funding policy has been anticipated for some time and is pleased to see effective changes being made to ensure fair and balanced funding of initiatives across the region.
“Feedback from the community is that the support provided by the Natural Heritage Partnership Programme and its three funds is highly valued and with a robust policy, we can continue to meet the needs of individuals and groups undertaking biodiversity projects.”
The report on the policy can be found in the Strategy and Policy Committee agenda: dams policy adopted
Also at the meeting, the council formally adopted its policy on dangerous, earthquake-prone and flood-prone dams. Public consultation ran from December 2023 until 2 February 2024.
Section 161 of the Building Act 2004 (Act) requires all regional councils to adopt a policy on these dams, and the policy outlines what the Waikato Regional Council will do in relation to dangerous, earthquake-prone and flood-prone dams.
The policy applies to dams in the Waikato that are either 4m or more in height and holding 20,000m3 or more in volume, or 1m or more in height and holding 40,000m3 or more in volume.
The council advises anyone who believes they may own such a dam to read the policy on its website,
The full council meeting was livestreamed. You can view it here:

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