Mon 14 Oct 19.
Ruapehu has voted to return Mayor Don Cameron to office with a strong mandate for his third three year term.
Under the STV (Single Transferable Vote) system in place for this election Mayor Cameron won on the first iteration receiving 2847 votes well above the other mayoral challenger Jacques Windell on 750 votes.
Voter turnout was 48.87% above the 2016 election turnout of 46.47% and just ahead of the average voter turnout for all councils of 48.3%.
Mayor Cameron said that he wanted to thank Ruapehu voters for their support which he saw as a vote of confidence in Council’s governance and growth focused work programme.
I am thrilled with the make-up of the new Council and two new councillors business woman Robyn Gram on the Taumarunui Ward and our youngest ever councillor Elijah Pue elected by the Waimarino-Waiouru Ward.
I am confident they will both make a valuable contribution to Council with Robyn bringing her demonstrated common sense and Elijah an important youthful outlook and focus on the issues important to our Rangatahi like the environment and climate change.
Mayor Cameron said that the new Council has a busy first week with a meet and greet of the new and re-elected members before getting underway on what is a significant set of issues and work programme.
At the time we described last year’s Long Term Plan (LTP) as ‘”the most exciting, ambitious, and yet challenging ten year strategic plan so far” with the work planned for the next three years likely to set Ruapehu’s development agenda for a generation.
Community support for the LTP provided Council with the funding and necessary framework to undertake the work required to meet government legislated compliance requirements notably in water and waste management, increase our spending on local roads by $2m, continue with economic and social development and maintain our levels of service.
One of the key commitments in the LTP was on working hard with government to obtain funding assistance to help bring down the uncomfortable projected increase in debt from the unavoidable water infrastructure upgrades.
Council Chief Executive Clive Manley has subsequently been working as part of a team advising government on water regulation changes and to unlock funding support.
We are hopeful that government’s promised financial assistance will make a meaningful difference to the level of rate increases Ruapehu ratepayers will need to pay to receive the new mandated water quality levels.
Despite any government funding support we may receive there are Ruapehu whanau are already struggling or failing to meet the rising cost of housing, food and essential services such as electricity.
In response one of Council’s major Policy initiatives over the next three years is a community led, multi-year, cross-generational ‘Liveability and Affordability Study’ focusing on housing, health, education, employment, environment, accessibility and social wellbeing.
The Study aims to give Council, our partner agencies, NGO’s, and the community as a whole, a much clearer picture of our social and economic challenges and the supporting evidence to better lobby the government and make better decisions on the most urgent needs of Ruapehu communities.