A city that continues to grow in line with our potential.
There will never be water meters in Hamilton as long as I’m the Mayor.
The council’s planning rules and district plan objectives should support cheaper housing and high-quality infrastructure at the best possible cost—a city where growth is lower cost, quicker and easier.
Stop the introduction of 60 new pokie machines at the SkyCity Hamilton casino.
Take congestion off our roads for those who want to continue to drive, while looking after our environment and enabling those who cannot drive or choose not to drive.
Expand our Victoria on the River Park south to the proposed Waikato Regional Theatre building.
Erect pest-proof fencing around the Waiwhakareke Natural Heritage Park, so kiwi can be bred and released into the park and eventually further afield. It would be funded from existing zoo budgets in the long-term plan, plus extra visitor revenue. This would combine tourism, education and conservation to look after New Zealand’s native wildlife.
Hamilton has the highest density of any New Zealand city, at 1500 people per square kilometre. Auckland’s density is second, at 1000. Our infill rate (when you remove a house and put more than one back on the section) is 55 per cent of all new homes. This is high. For example, Tauranga’s infill rate is 18 per cent.
Hamilton is the fourth biggest city in New Zealand by population, with about 170,000 people. A further 130,000 come and go for work, education, entertainment, business, shopping or appointments. But it’s the third smallest territorial authority by land area—ahead of only Kawerau (7000 people) and Napier (62,000 people). We have a very tight boundary—unlike Christchurch, where you can drive for 20 minutes in the country and still be within the city boundary.
Hamilton’s population is increasing by more than 40 people a week. That’s about a busload of new people weekly.
Going up high with accommodation (where zoning is designated as business districts or mixed use) is good for those who want to live in apartments. Higher density and infill brings affordable housing, makes the city more efficient to run, and is good for those who want a lock-and-leave lifestyle.
But we also need more land to expand out. We need to plan Hamilton in a responsible way, with a vision over what land is required for the next 100 years. If we don’t plan long term, we could end up with perverse planning outcomes from trying to squeeze things into the city’s land area of 107 square kilometres.
We need to know what land is going to be available to the city and ensure that land is protected from being subdivided ahead of it coming inside the city boundary. Otherwise it would make it hard for us to include that land into Hamilton at a later stage, with the correct zoning and correct services.
For example, water pipes, sewers and stormwater pipes need to be part of a suitable network. Section sizes need to be appropriate for an expanded urban Hamilton when the time is right. Footpaths, street lights, fibre and so on need to be part of the network. Otherwise large costs will fall on future Hamilton city ratepayers to reconfigure the infrastructure to an urban form.
This should be included and be paid for by the original developer or the council that approved the subdivision in the 100 year area of expansion required for Hamilton.
As Mayor, I have been leading discussions with neighbouring councils on creating a sustainable 100-year growth plan for Hamilton.
Hamilton airport connects the Waikato with other regions. In time, it needs to expand its flights to cater for a growing market. Extending the runway another 500m would improve Hamilton’s flight options. Build it and Hamilton airport becomes the second runway that Auckland continues to talk about.
An airport with international capacity would be a regional asset that will provide increased economic growth for the Waikato. The average international long-haul passenger contributes $3000 to our economy. Admittedly, an airport doesn’t break even on day one. The airport’s five council shareholders should consider a far bigger return—the prosperity of our region with foreign tourists flying directly into our territory. This is a long-term goal.
The Hamilton City Council owns 50 per cent of the airport. It will need support from four neighbouring councils to get this idea over the line, with support from the Hamilton Airport Board. We own the land and have permission to extend the runway. If the work isn’t under way within eight years, we will have to reapply for the consent. Let’s consider a feasibility study. If we ask, the coalition Government might finance half the cost.
I have led a largely unified council and achieved things for Hamilton, some of which have been talked about or promised for decades. I’m interested in results—not politics.
The city is on a sustainable financial footing. I’ve confronted years of neglect, when the city’s financial problems were papered over.
When I became Mayor, the Founders Theatre had already closed. The Garden Place library had to close for repairs. The city’s pools needed $11 million of expenditure. Our footpaths didn’t have an adequate maintenance budget.
Many of our council assets were running down. It would have been easy to be a Mayor who holds down rates increases by letting our assets run down. I won’t defer maintenance of our assets by not collecting the revenue required and leaving that liability for future generations.
The other way of holding down rates is to cut services. The majority of the public don’t want that.
I believe that the Hamilton City Council is run efficiently. It hasn’t been easy. I’ve taken the necessary steps to put the city on a sustainable footing.
I have worked with both the National government and now the Labour coalition government to secure positive outcomes for Hamilton. The council has secured $240 million from the Government in benefits, which doesn’t have to be paid back. This hasn’t happened in Hamilton in recent history.
Iwi representatives are now on our committees but not on council.
Trust is highly important. I have pursued this. The relationships that the mayoral office and the Hamilton City Council have with iwi and the Government are strong. A high level of respect flows both ways.
Hamilton has grown in line with our potential. The policy of “Growth Pays for Growth” has been adopted. Those doing the development pay for the capacity used in the network, including their share to upsize the network—rather than ratepayers.
The rugby sevens tournament is now played in Hamilton at no cost to ratepayers.
Funding has been approved for the Peacocke subdivision, which will contain 8000 new homes. This project includes a new bridge over the Waikato River. These have been promised for 30 years but never delivered. Construction will begin next year.
The council has bought, and now controls, land between our central-city river park and the proposed Waikato Regional Theatre. Residents have complained for years about our central business district being built with its back to the Waikato River. This will change.
I supported the introduction of free parking in the city as part of my last mayoral campaign.
A new library in the northeast has been promised for 20 years. Work will start next year.
New sports fields are planned for the northeast.
We have continued to develop the award-winning Hamilton Gardens, opening two new gardens in the last two years. Work on four new themed gardens is under way.
Citysafe is now city wide.
This will help working families who can’t afford to buy their own home.
Construction will start after funding is completed, within the next few months.
The red-tape review will introduce changes that make it easier to do business in Hamilton. It should enable more residential homes per site, remove height restrictions in the central business district, make it easier to do building alterations in industrial zones, and amend some information requirements in resource consent applications.
Public feedback is sought. If the proposed changes are approved, they will reduce or simplify compliance requirements while still achieving the council’s district plan objectives. Other benefits include reducing the need for resource consent, lowering the cost and saving time—leaving council staff with more time to deal with complex planning matters.
Public transport is now more attractive. It includes free buses for those aged 18 and under on weekends and public holidays on any scheduled service. This will normalise passenger transport for young people, which will carry through into adulthood. For those living with disability, free buses are available at any time.
Many bus shelters and footpaths have been upgraded to make public transport safer and more accessible.
With Cr Dave Macpherson’s help, the council set the direction to ensure that the coalition Government makes good on its promise for a passenger rail service to Auckland. The trains will begin next year, a year before the Hamilton section of the Waikato Expressway opens.
The council embraces the changing transport options in its 10-year plan. These include: promoting e-bikes, promoting car sharing, managing a public scooter policy, doubling the footpath repair and replacement budget, funded a bike plan, and the introduction of a mass transit budget.
The council now uses guidelines when assessing opportunities for sustainability when purchasing. These include: recycle or reuse, minimise packaging, use biodegradable products, use energy and water efficiently, use non-toxic products, use durable or repairable products, and use high-performing or longer life products.
Kaitiakitanga is embraced. It will ensure that the connection between people, land and the environment is sustainable, with good guardianship over natural resources.
Waste minimisation is seen as a city priority. From July 1 next year, the black bag will be gone. In its place will be a 120-litre wheeled bin, collected fortnightly; a 240-litre recycling wheeled bin (plastics 1-7, tins, cans, paper and card), collected fortnightly; a 45-litre crate for glass, collected fortnightly; and a 20-30-litre food bin, collected weekly. Food waste is 40 per cent by weight of household waste. It’s the leading cause of methane gas in landfills. I personally ensured that this service was included in our new waste minimisation plan.
The council embraces technology. It’s working towards a paperless council using appropriate software to minimise our paper consumption. More efficient and lower maintenance LED streetlights have been rolled out across the city, saving about 80 per cent in power and maintenance.
A cat de-sexing fund will assist in reducing predator numbers, allowing our native wildlife to re-establish.
I have replanted a council-owned gully in natives in the last 12 months.
The council will open the door to the Waiwhakareke Natural Heritage Park with $5.5 million to be spent there over the next two years.