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Taking control of our future

GISBORNE District Council wants to see more local oversight of the Tairawhiti Economic Action Plan.

The council received a report updating progress with the plan, He Huarahi Hei Whai Oranga, and agreed to include an extra recommendation suggested by Mayor Meng Foon.

Mr Foon said he wanted to make it clear that local government oversight was needed on the plan.

He suggested a recommendation that the District Council and other governance leaders had oversight in the plan.

That would give extra mana to be able to say the council said that, rather than just “Meng said it”.

Pat Seymour said the Government would come back and say the council already had oversight.

The council eventually adopted a recommendation drafted by chief executive Nedine Thatcher Swann that it request a governance representative group be established to formally champion the plan.

Mr Foon said even in the absence of such a group, there had been a lot of work done and progress made.

He repeated an earlier comment that he was sure he had heard former Transport Minister Simon Bridges say the East Cape Road would be sealed.

Pat Seymour questioned the fact that the plan included a pre-feasibility study on transport infrastructure to improve economic returns and sustainability of forests in the north of the region.

Roading an issueAt every single meeting they had, people told them roading was an issue. Why did they need a feasibility study?

Ms Thatcher Swann said that was being led by the Ngati Porou Holding Company. It was looking at alternative transport options that might or might not include roading.

Rehette Stoltz said she was surprised by all the things that were happening behind the scenes for which the council was not the lead organisation.

There were quite a few things not progressed to what they would like to see, but it was very heartening to see all the different actions in the plan they had not been aware were happening.

She congratulated the Mayor for championing the plan.

Mr Foon said he and Meredith Akuhata-Brown were at a meeting with the Rail Action Group the previous day and the group was keen to see rail reinstated from Gisborne to Napier.

Mrs Stoltz asked what would happen to Geoff Main who had been given the right to operate a railbike venture on the line.

Mr Foon said the council’s resolution still stood: “Fix the line, government pays.”

See also today's editorial

¦ The 10-page action plan update can be found here.