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Cities vital to good conservation in NZ

 It's simple. Without cities actively working to protect and enhance natural treasures and biodiversity in NZ, our extinction rates will remain high and the permanent loss of natural resources will occur. I was asked to speak at the launch of conservation week. I'm glad. It gave me a chance to reflect on a topic dear to my heart "Cities and Biodiversity" It bothered me to realise I had fallen into the trap of busy city life;  in which talks of growth, planning, houses, safety, roads an...

September 20, 2018

Paula ponders Plastic!

Over the last month I've been thinking a lot about plastic. Mainly how to avoid it. Taking on the challenge of Plastic Free July. I knew I would not be able to avoid all plastic, but I was going to do my best to reduce the amount I bought or brought home. And how did I do? Not too bad, I think. However more to the point I became a  much more conscious consumer and learned a fair bit. I leaned that: Habits take time to change ( and you have lapses, like the time I got all the way back to the...

July 30, 2018

Localism in Local Government

"Public services should be provided by the sphere of government which is as close as possible to the people". In other words LOCAL councils should be able to  better provide what their communities need and want. Putting people at the centre of decision making on services that affect them is a key focus of the Local Government Position Statement on Localism  launched at the LGNZ conference in Christchurch. It is about de-centralisation, resourcing and allowing local councils, alongside ...

July 18, 2018

Hamilton City Council Long Term Plan; a mixed bag?

I'm not happy with the final rates burden or how we got here. I'm not happy about a number of key priorities of this plan or the process. But, I fully understand the financial pressures of our City. I fully understand the need for growth (new homes), for a looking after our community facilities and assets well.   I pushed for a slower pace of rates increase. I focused on existing assets and the community. I wanted the libraries, zoo, Waterworld, parks, playgrounds, water, roads, c...

June 30, 2018

Deprivation and hardship; something Hamilton City Council needs to think more about.

26% of Hamiltonian's live in the most deprived areas of the city and 17% live in the least deprived areas according to the Waikato Plan report on Socio Economic deprivation in the Waikato. (link at end of blog) Housing, health, education, employment and crime are all issues worthy of discussion based on the data in the report. While the data does need to be updated, as the new census data and other recent data is captured, the report indicates clearly that Hamilton and other parts of the wider W...

June 24, 2018

Long Term Plan Update

No one likes rates increases AND especially it they don't feel like they get good value for money.  While rates are required to run a functioning city, to provide services and facilities for a growing city they must be used wisely and must be fair. The debate on Hamilton's Long Term Plan was long, complex and feisty. I had to push hard to ask questions raised by submitters and  have my say on your behalf. This was not easy. My decisions were guided by understanding the huge impact of t...

June 2, 2018

Fighting for good Finances

With the opposing strong views and criticism around City Finances it is no surprise if you are confused or, concerned about the City finances. I am very disappointed about them too. I do not want to burden ratepayers today or in the future with unnecessary rates increases. I also have concerns about a number of projects and proposals in the Long Term Plan year. I questioned the priorities and how this plan implements existing plans and strategies the public were consulted on ( the River Plan, Th...

May 7, 2018

Our people, place and plans. Help choose the future YOU want for Hamilton.

BIG rates and BIG projects are planned and I have some big concerns.  The Long Term Plan is out and is a blueprint for the city for the next 10 years and is reviewed every 3 years.  http://www.hamilton.govt.nz/ou....Things have changed since the 2012-2020 Plan. The voting, to get many proposals in the plan, was quite split (7-5) or through a mayoral casting vote.It is important to speak up for the proposals you like and those you don’t. These things might rely on ONE vote. ...

March 27, 2018

Dollars and Sense? The Finances behind the Long Term Plan

The big rates rise of 18%, proposed in Mayor King’s Long Term Plan budget, has certainly alarmed ratepayers. Quite rightly, Ratepayers are demanding answers as to how we got into this mess – myself included!  The public are confused with so many different points of view floating around. Are we in surplus or are is there a financial "black hole"? The unfortunate truth is we have big challenges ahead no matter how you present the numbers, AND the final rate increase will depend on what ge...

March 14, 2018

Doing what we can afford. Better City ideas for Less?

Ratepayers are confused and unhappy, and why wouldn't they be? On the one had they are told that we are using debt to run  everyday Council business, and that we need to aggressively grow our City to provide new homes. Another  message is that there is little money to improve our parks, playgrounds, libraries, museums and community facilities. And yet we are presented with  new or unexpected ideas (such as purchase of private property to expand central city parks) that, while the...

February 5, 2018

Bigger, better or both?

When Mayor King proposed the consideration of a 12% rates increase within months of being elected the people of Hamilton reacted with alarm. No one likes rates increases especially unexpected rates hikes. However, the truth is ratepayers and citizens have some big decisions to make about the size and quality of the City and how to fund it. The City IS growing, housing IS less affordable. While houses ARE being built, unemployment rates have decreased, and economic growth is positive, the pressur...

May 11, 2017

The HALO Project

The Halo Project was established 8 years ago by John Innes, Kevin Collins and I with the objective of improving our biodiversity here in Hamilton. John believed, quite rightly as we have seen, that we would be able to bring Tui back to the city if we introduced effective pest management within a 20km radius of Hamilton. We worked collaboratively with landowners towards Raglan and in the first year saw a notable increase in breeding success. Eight years down the path and we are now seeing the w...

September 28, 2016

Rates and Affordability

Rates are always a tough issue; who should pay and how much? I am a strong believer that every dollar the council spends is a dollar that we have collected from our constituents, and we should treat it as such. Spending and investment should be supported by thorough business case analysis, be transparent, and costs should be keep under control. Cost over-runs are simply not acceptable and should not be tolerated. We should also be looking to partner with business and the wider community wherever...

September 13, 2016

Transport and Parking

Parking: When it comes to parking in the CBD Hamilton needs change, and I don't mean the kind you put in the meter. To be clear, I'm not necessarily advocating for free parking in the city, I'm advocating for better parking. What that looks like needs to be determined in consultation with residents. Popular options that have been suggested range from free parking to simply making it easier to pay. I'll be the first one to put my hand up and say I never have coins when I need them so would b...

September 12, 2016

Let's not just build a bigger city, let's build a better city

While affordable housing, timely infrastructure and a strong economy are vital for our city growth, let's not forget that it is our strong and vibrant communities that make Hamilton a great place to live. Over my many years in Hamilton I have seen how people value our green spaces and meeting places. Community hubs are where people can connect with each other to enjoy sport, art, culture or a conversation with a neighbour. Not all projects need to be large or expensive. Sometimes it's the smal...

September 12, 2016

Paula says NO to water meters

I absolutely DO NOT support water meters for residential houses in Hamilton as it is my clear understanding that there is no strong business case. I am aware that the focus is on leak detection, a Smartwater education programme and a upgrade to the City's water treatment plant..I firmly support that approach to ensure safe, and sufficient water supply for the City for well into the future. For more information click here: ...

September 7, 2016

Let's get positive about retail in Hamilton

For too long there has been a clear disconnect between the perceptions Hamiltonians have of our CBD and the facts. As a city we need to celebrate success and become better storytellers. The GDP of our CBD is leading the country at 8.1%, retail spending in the city is up 4.3% and while occupancy continues to be an issue things are improving with over 80 new retail, hospitality and corporate businesses taking up new leases in the CBD in the past year. The shoppers are returning to the central cit...

September 7, 2016 Posts 1-17 of 17 | Page
 

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