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Wellbeing budget promises encourage local government
31 May 2019
Wellbeing budget promises encourage local government
LGNZ welcomes a budgetary focus on well-being, which provides support for local government’s newly reinstated four well-beings, and a programme of work that promises a more equitable regional transition to a cleaner, greener future.
The ‘Productive and Sustainable Land Use Package’ features $229 million in operational funding across a range of areas including improving the health of our waterways and increasing research on how we can lower emissions is hoped to support local government’s work.
Local government plays a vital role in supporting communities, businesses and primary industries navigate the significant changes across climate change, freshwater management and land-use regulation that the Government is undertaking.
“It’s encouraging to see signals of a funding increase to tackle health of waterways, reduce emissions and increase the sustainability of land use,” says LGNZ president Dave Cull.
“We know that actions on-the-ground make the biggest difference.  We are acutely aware of the significant implementation challenges and associated costs for all parties, and the Budget allocation will go some way to addressing this.”
“The $33.5 million for climate change mitigation research is also significant, but we know from ongoing discussions with our communities that adapting to increasing climate change effects is equally if not more pressing.”
“We hope that the climate change research will provide rural communities with real support as we transition to a lower emissions economy.”
As the voice for rural communities, LGNZ is mindful of unintended budgetary impacts on rural communities that rely on a strong primary sector.
“We have heard from our farming communities that the promotion of forestry over other land uses has reduced the amount of productive land, limited year-round job opportunities and put greater pressure on local roads.  We need to be mindful of these trade-offs.”
Waste and recycling is also an area where communities are calling out for greater resourcing.
“Alongside recently announced waste initiatives that local government is a partner in, we hope the small increase in funding for the Ministry for the Environment answers the calls of our communities for action on onshore recycling.”
Councils have been embracing their role in enhancing relationships between local government and iwi to improve partnerships, and an additional $10 million in operating expenditure is welcomed to further strengthen this commitment.
“This investment will make a real difference to the cultural well-being of New Zealanders across the country, particularly as the government completes further Treaty of Waitangi settlements.  The cost of implementing some of the settlements been borne by local government, which is why we support the additional help in this area.”