Making smart, strategic decisions

Published on 13 May 2024

Photo of Mayor Vince Cocurullo in the mayoral robe and chains.

Last week we deliberated on the Long Term Plan (LTP) 2024-34, following two days of hearings held in Council Chambers the week before.

During our deliberations, we reviewed the submissions sent in and discussed the merits of each suggestion and how it could fit into our Long Term Plan. Every voice was heard, every submission read (multiple times!) and every point of view taken on board.

It’s a long process and takes a lot of time and energy to make sure we’re considering every aspect, before committing to the plan that forms the 10-year vision for our District.

The theme for this LTP is growth, particularly how we’re planning for sustainable and resilient growth in our District.

The fact that we live in one of New Zealand’s fastest growing districts means that we need to think ahead, planning for the essential infrastructure our residents will need to maintain healthy, thriving communities.

On Friday 3 May, I welcomed 62 new citizens into Whangārei District. This was just one of six citizenship ceremonies planned for 2024, and brings the current total to more than 550 new citizens having been welcomed since I became Mayor.

When you add in the number of people relocating here from within New Zealand, you can see how our District’s population is on track to grow to 140,000 by 2034.

This means we need to focus on growth now, with essential infrastructure like a larger hospital able to service our needs, an airport with a runway long enough to handle regional traffic, upgraded rail connections to support our expanding port and of course, the four-lane Northland expressway from Auckland to improve our connectivity.

These are needs, not wants, and all four councils within our region are united in working together with our government to achieve results. 

Last week I had the privilege of attending the launch of the new Kaipara Karrier VII at the Culham Engineering facilities. This is a project they have been working on for at least two years.

Aside from the boost large projects of this scale give to our local economy, it also proves that our local businesses are more than capable of matching world standards.

The week before, I attended The Pick ‘24, an entrepreneurial kick-start programme delivered by Northland Inc in partnership with Whāriki Te Tai Tokerau, McKay and MSD (Ministry of Social Development) along with sponsors Northpower, Henderson Reeves, and the Flying Kiwi Angels.

Seeing innovative and diverse business ideas about gin production, drinking straw manufacturing and hygiene products through to innovative mental health software and various food products gave me great belief in the future of our local economy.

There’s a lot to love about living in Whangārei. We are surrounded by native forests, great beaches and a growing economy, most importantly, it’s our amazing community that is the lifeblood of our District.

Our Council’s focus is on keeping that vibrant atmosphere alive, through making sure we have the essential infrastructure in place to manage growth ahead of time, so we can make smart, strategic decisions that will benefit generations to come.

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