Mayor Helen's blurb from the Feilding & Rangitīkei Herald

It has been great to be part of a number of events and functions recently, which celebrate who we are, build local pride and bring visitors to our district and region.

Our rural identity and primary sector economic strengths were celebrated by thousands of locals and visitors alike at the NZ Rural Games, Central District Field days and followed by  the Kimbolton Rural Sculpture Festival. The Kimbolton event has huge potential to grow but will need more support, given it is all done by passionate local volunteers.

Connecting our community was the theme for the recent Family Fun Day and the McCorkindale Street residents party. The overwhelming response from the community to the free family day event at Kowhai Park, means our library team who organised this are now debriefing to upscale for the next event. Police, supported by Rotary, are planning more street parties to connect neighbors and wrap support around those families who may need it. The Easter Hunt Family Fun Day was another great success and the Manfeild Stadium proved to be an excellent venue for the range of activities. Also of significance was the recent NZ Citizenship Ceremony, where we welcomed 16 residents as our newest Kiwis.

Several other events brought visitors to Feilding, the District and the region during the past month. The Slicks’n’Stones cycling at Apiti, 41 Club (ex Roundtable members), and at Manfeild the Central Easter Camp with 1700 participants, the 5 day American Quarter Horse competitions, National Reining Horse Show, Drifting car meeting and Vic motorcycle Club events  - all added money into our economy and showcased our town, district and region.

The recent 3 Waters reform ‘reset’ announcement was disappointing.  The Government has refused to make meaningful change, ignoring community concerns over property rights and meaningful local voice. There are no structural changes to the model, other than an increase in the number of entities from 4 to 10. While this is a step in the right direction, the convoluted model structure has shown to be unnecessary and weakens local voice. Any investment into new infrastructure will be an extra cost, paid for by the same person, ratepayer or taxpayer, as they are one and the same person! The additional $1.5B Better Off funding has been removed now making some communities worse off. Then Government expects local councils to send out the 3 waters bills for debts raised by the Entities. It’s simply the same plan with a different name and sadly it will now be an election issue.

Increase in serious crime in our patch recently is of major concern and I acknowledge the fear and uncertainty these incidents cause for our residents. Our local Police team and support agencies do an outstanding job but like many Government systems, they lack the resources and enough skilled people at grassroots level to manage the demand. We continue to lobby Government for improved community based policing and well-resourced support services for victims of crime. Ultimately in my view, it needs a serious rethink on our national systems that are supposed to educate, care for and support our community’s wellbeing. It is obvious that one size fits none!

Published on Thursday, 27 April