A new strategy for Dunedin that aims to address the
challenges of an ageing population, low incomes and poor
housing has been signed off by the Dunedin City Council.
Councillors at this week's full council meeting voted to
approve the council's new social wellbeing strategy, which
covered areas ranging from economic, community and city
development to transportation.
The document replaced the council's community policy 1997,
which was considered out of date, and provided a new
framework within which the council could plan for some of the
city's big challenges, a council staff report said.
The strategy identified ''very significant'' social issues
facing the city, including an ageing population, with
forecasts showing the number of people aged 65 years and over
would increase 54% over the next 20 years, from 14% to 20% of
the city's population.
That would, in turn, mean increasing demand for a range of
needs, including more social housing and smaller private
homes, as well as greater use of health-care and public
transport services and a desire for better pedestrian
environments, the strategy predicted.
Low income levels within Dunedin, which could lead to poorer
health, increased crime and other problems associated with
poverty, was another problem that needed to be planned for,
the strategy said.
So, too, did the challenges associated with Dunedin's old
housing stock, changes to the allocation of central
Government funding and services within the city, and a trend
towards less healthy lifestyles.
The new strategy did not include new or additional spending,
but set the framework that would allow individual pieces of
work to be prioritised to meet the strategy's overall goals,
the council staff report said.
That included setting strategic directions, priorities and
implementation pathways that included specific initiatives,
such as planning a new ''whole-of-city'' approach to housing
The new strategy, more than a year in the making, had been
shaped by community consultation and feedback from about 900
people, including through submissions, meetings and the Your
City, Our Future and People's Panel initiatives, the council
staff report said.
The new strategy was also part of a push to simplify the
council's planning efforts, under which 48 council strategies
and action plans had been reduced to nine key strategies,
including for social wellbeing.
Council city strategy and development general manager Dr Sue
Bidrose told this week's meeting the old structure had
allowed the council to justify doing ''almost anything'',
while the new approach would allow greater focus and better
advice from staff to councillors.
Cr Teresa Stevenson was among those to congratulate staff for
the new strategy, but said the ''trick to this'' would be to
ensure it was implemented and did not become another ''dusty
old paper'' on a council shelf.
Cr Lee Vandervis worried the strategy came at a time the
Government's local government reforms were pushing councils
towards tighter control over spending in non-core areas.
However, Mayor Dave Cull said the impact of the reforms on
these sorts of initiatives were not yet clear, and councils
across New Zealand had to work within ''what we think the
At the end of the debate, councillors voted to adopt the new