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Forum 2007

Embracing Economic Development

Wednesday 29 August

Energy Events Centre

Planning focused on a vision for the future, finding ways to strip away any unnecessary detail in consents processes, and strengthening a consumer focus by Council regulatory staff were three strong themes from the 2007 Rotorua Economic Forum workshops.

The BrightEconomy Forum, sub-titled Embracing Economic Development, was held at the Energy Events Centre on Wednesday 29 August.

The Forum focused particularly on ways to improve and streamline the planning, regulatory and consent processes administered by the District and Regional Councils.

The Ministry for the Environment Resource Management Implementation Manager, Craig Mallett, gave a national perspective on the legislation and an indication that Rotorua District Council is among the better performers in meeting deadlines and administering the Resource Management Act.

RDC Environmental Services Manager Nigel Wharton strongly stated a local perspective on regulatory issues and urged businesses to get involved in the District Plan review as it moves into a consultation phase late this year.

It was the workshops where the business people and others attending had their opportunities to speak out, tempered only by the request from BrightEconomy Board chair Bryce Heard and Forum host Roger Gordon to be constructive and suggest solutions for each problem raised.

And solutions there were.

Critics of the planning process urged a new District Plan that set out growth scenarios for Rotorua populations of, say, 100,000, 150,000 and 250,000 so that future provision for industry and other business areas could be identified with some certainty.

Others urged planning for a twin cities, regional approach with Tauranga, and the necessary transport links to make the most of the Tauranga sea port and the Rotorua airport.

In the regulatory area, several workshop participants urged a new approach to small, mostly residential consents to ease difficulties for homeowners and unnecessary pressure on regulatory staff. Several suggested an Inland Revenue-style, tick-the-box, self-consenting process, with random audits, for small residential consents.

Others suggested special customer liaison or project support staff at the District Council to work with developers on major projects. These support staff could operate separately from the regulatory and consent units, to avoid compromising the integrity of the process, while using their knowledge of the system to smooth the process for both sides.

Forum participants who responded via the feedback forms in their programmes (about a third of those who attended) gave this yearĺs BrightEconomy Forum a good rating.

The BrightEconomy Board is now analysing the workshop outcomes. It will report back to Forum participants in more detail and will take the suggestions to the RDC and Regional Council.

The challenge

There is an opportunity looming right now for all members of the business community to participate in the review of Councilĺs District Plan.

Consultation on the District Plan will occur during late 2007 and the early part of 2008.  Consultation timing and details will be announced shortly.

The Chamber, BEAB and all members of the business sector should be thinking about the District Plan review right now.  Developing a plan to identify the issues and prepare a contribution should be on the agenda for your next meeting.

Council invites you to identify the issues and make suggestions for solution in policy terms.  Naturally, contributions need to be well researched and well thought through.


Main Presentation Click╩to╩Download╩Reader

Ministry for the Environment Presentation Click╩to╩Download╩Reader

Nigel Wharton - Presentation Click╩to╩Download╩Reader

At the Forum everyone split off into 4 Groups these groups made important suggestions and recomendations which were captured on flipcharts, this information is in the process of being collated and then will be presented in a single document the Rotorua District Council for consideration. The information captured during the Forum is available  for Download here >>> Flip Chart Forum 2007 Click╩to╩Download╩Reader




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