In recent years the statutory purpose of local government had narrowed to focus on delivery of core services and not the broader social, economic, environmental and cultural well-being of communities.
Hutt City Council General Manager of City and Community Services Matt Reid says the wider focus acknowledges the important role of local leadership in promoting well-being, especially when it comes to young people.
“Here in Lower Hutt we’ve continued to deliver across these four areas, in particular social development, because that’s what our community has mandated us to do,” he said.
“They realise that for Lower Hutt to be successful, there needs to be greater equity across the city so everyone enjoys a good quality of life. This decision is a vote of confidence in the work we are already doing which is making a significant contribution to central government’s efforts to improve the wellbeing of young people.”
That work includes developing new community facilities (community hubs in Taita and Stokes Valley and one under consideration for Naenae, and the new Ricoh Sports Centre), partnership in the Youth Inspire employment and training programme and being the lead provider for Healthy Families Lower Hutt (funded by the Ministry of Health).
It also includes the Empowering Tamariki programme which aims to improve the lives, and in the longer term the outcomes, of children growing up in high-deprivation communities in the city’s North East.
“We’re also currently working with central government to develop a masterplan for social housing in our city that supports better outcomes for young people. By working more closely with them on this, and other projects, we can have an even bigger impact.”