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Reading:               1109 pages Hours in meetings: 19 hours

Hours in meetings: 19 hours

A big week this week with several meaty issues.

For three days we travelled around the region hearing submissions on the regional land transport Plan.

This plan shows the priorities that the region has for its transport projects. The draft plan is dominated by projects in the Western Bay of Plenty recognising the growth in and around Tauranga and the under investment of the previous labour government.

A list is first drawn up by staff (the Technical Advisory Group (TAG) from the various councils in the region and tweaked by the governance group.

Things went smoothly enough in Tauranga with some good ideas from submitters. In particular there is an idea for a ferry across the harbour which is more cost effective than previous plans. An idea to introduce a tram route was also submitted.

The bombshell was in Rotorua on Thursday when it was discovered that none of the priority projects favoured by Rotorua Council had been submitted to the TAG! There were some very annoyed submitters and dumbfounded committee members.

Friday in Whakatane was reasonably subdued in comparison. Given the gale force weather it is great to see the dedication of submitters in coming out to make their views known. In addition to the in-person submissions we also had almost 800 pages of written submissions to read.

On the Monday Kainga Ora briefed councillors from all three local councils on their plans for around Tauriko. There is a special area (called a Specified development Project or SDP) that KO has control over and their plan is to build up to 24000 dwellings in the SDP area. Obviously, this has to tie in with developments in public Transport, Improvements in SH 29 and other infrastructure. Therefore, it was great tom see SH29 is in the Roads of National significance (RONS) published by the Government.

The other big meeting of the week was the Strategy and policy committee meeting where the big item was approval of the Rotorua Geothermal Management Plan.