Report on key trends, opportunities and challenges in Waikato

Waikato Regional Council (WRC) is currently guided by its Strategic Direction 2016-19, with three overarching goals of a healthy environment, strong economy, and vibrant communities. WRC is also undertaking a wide-ranging strategic review, which is underpinned by a shift in focus from a three year strategy to a ten-year strategy post 2019, which will guide the organisation’s overall direction and activity.

To support the new strategy, the council commissioned this PESTLE (political, economic, social, technological, legal, and environmental) analysis to explore the key trends, opportunities, and challenges facing the region in the years to come. This PESTLE provides an overview of the national and international context of the Waikato, to support strategic development and decision-making.

Extract :

“The impacts of climate change and ecological degradation create a need to improve and restore ecosystems. In regional and national policy and decision-making, this is often seen to be in tension with economic growth aims, and yet the environment cannot be disentangled from the economy as a side issue. Indeed, future environmental issues that the region will grapple with will affect widespread areas of the economy. This requires better communication and data/information to link the benefits of addressing environmental issues to economic and wellbeing benefits. WRC has an important role in communicating to communities the meaning and impact of decisions at both national and regional levels.”

“A key challenge identified is creating buy-in and increasing civic participation to increase the legitimacy and effectiveness of local government decision making. Formal consultation mechanisms such as submissions and hearings are not on their own fit-for-purpose for engaging communities, and a focus on key stakeholders is insufficient. Emerging public engagement approaches include citizen-centred research, user journeys, co-creation, and digital tools for information and crowd sourcing.”

Any feedback or comments welcomed.

Denis Tegg.  Waikato Regional Councillor for Thames-Coromandel