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Published: 2009-01-29 00:00:00

Environment Waikato says it is encouraged by Local Government Minister Rodney Hide’s response to council concerns about the increasing burden on regional tax payers of meeting Government driven costs.

Chairman Peter Buckley said the regional council welcomed the opportunity to meet with the Minister today to discuss a range of issues concerning the Waikato region.

Mayors from around the region were also invited to attend, with the mayors of Hamilton and Otorohanga Bob Simcock and Dale Williams attending.

"We had a wide-ranging and positive discussion about regional issues, local government and the Minister’s perspective on governance, core tasks, transparency and future directions," he said.

"We were particularly heartened by the Minister’s response to our concerns about central government driving up costs to ratepayers.

"For example, he promptly picked up on our concerns about the costs to ratepayers of meeting air quality targets by 2013 and said he would follow up on our suggestion to consider an extension of the timeframe."

The discussion also touched on the increasingly prescriptive and costly processes local government must follow to meet its obligations, the implications of the Waikato River treaty settlement, navigation safety, sustainable agriculture and biosecurity costs.

Mr Buckley said the regional council looked forward to ongoing open and positive talks with the Minister.