Community Conversations 2017 May-June - Feedback from attendees

Community conversations provide an opportunity to update you on some of what has been going on at Council and across our district.  Community Conversations are as the name suggests – conversations with the community. Any effective conversation is two way – so we don’t just want you to be listening to what Council is doing – it is just as important we hear from you. We want to use the opportunity to talk with you about some of the bigger picture challenges and opportunities that are coming up for the district. 

Below is a table summarising the feedback we received during the conversations. The table is organised by organised by ward and topic.


Mararoa Waimea

Stewart Island Rakiura

Waiau Aparima

Waihopai Toetoes

Winton Wallacetown


We need to create areas based around catchments – economic and water issues/ traditional communities are around places and spaces, but we need to look at other types of communities

Frustrated at lack of consultation

Need to be listening to CDAs and CBs – and they need to be given more power

Lot of money wasted on consultants.

We need open consultation. Council needs a real commitment to dealing with community groups.

Communication emphasised. What’s the point of having a CDA if it can’t discuss general items? We can’t talk to our communities. If you want to grow this province SDC needs a better process for communicating

Josephville/Castlerock people feel left out

Are you trying to get rid of us? It looks like it from this side of the fence.


Council moved to town and took everything with it – community board trying to improve facilities

Council meant to be enablers

Amalgamation might work here – communities have changed – opposite view from what happened in Australia – more expensive

Community boards have been stripped of the ability to do anything

Community boards need to talk to us more – have informal meetings

Rural people need to be more involved in those talks – we need to look at rural/urban representation

Got to get together and stop being them and us

Opportunity for Curio Bay trust, South Catlins and Tokanui to combine and work for community together

That could be expanded and cover the whole ward

We need to work together as a whole

Create a passport of things to do and there is a prize at the end

We need a collective voice so we can be heard

We are over-governed.

We need to combine our representation in the south to present a strong and relevant front in Wellington

Would have real economic clout if amalgamated Southland councils.

Role of interest groups v CDAs in future.




Environmental including oil and gas

Fracking and oil and gas will wreck tourism – we need to be really careful not to do that

Council asked if it sees a future for oil and gas fracking in Southland.

Hydro-electricity should be a priority. High-priced power a disincentive for living here. Old people can’t afford electricity. Is SIESA best format? Development of hydro hamstrung by national park. SDC can approach Govt for subsidy if community gives mandate.

Beauty of environment is a huge drawcard. Diesel too expensive. Community Board don’t accept findings of McCutcheon report on alternative power source.

Need to own climate change and oil and gas exploration only adds to that

Fracking a concern

Need more investigation into renewable energies

Water quality really important

Cow farming should not be allowed on the boundaries of town as they stink people out




No signage – nothing to show us off and the heritage park

We need to sell ourselves

No sign leaving Invercargill that say this way to Te Anau

We need signage about where to go and what to do

Consistent brand for signage needed

SDC needs to encourage businesses, but listen to what the people say. SDC doesn’t have a vision. SDC doing more to harm growth than help it.

Tourism brings relief to rates through visitor levy. 9000 cruise ship passengers expected this year = $45,000 to community. Promotions role has fallen on individuals A lot of money goes into Venture and i-Site, but they’re relying on individuals to do a lot of the work for them. Council should argue that more money should go into professional promotion of Island. Island missing out because of lack of professional promotion. Funding for promotions hard to get. Rakiura Heritage Centre is going to be huge. Congratulations for introducing visitor levy. Concentrate on sending tourists away with a smile. Great service best ad you can buy. Accommodation crisis on Island. Itinerant workers on $18 an hour can’t find rentals. Shouild look at visitor capacity. What number can Island take? Can’t keep up with “incremental creep”. Overcrowding (eg Ulva Island) is not a great tourism experience

Numbers increasing but smaller number of residents paying – how can we clip the ticket more

Te Araroa Trail – no facilities on it so people pooing in the woods

Tourism is a big issue – infrastructure is needed – numbers building up at Clifden Caves so need parking and toilets

Tourism being pushed but hardly any money for Southland except Te Anau

10.6% workforce employed in tourism, primary production still key.

NZ being promoted overseas for years, not coming but we are not prepared

We have something special in Southland – we need to market ourselves better and look at the potential

Tourism numbers are growing but it is fickle and there are opportunities such as farm visits

Tourists speeding on our roads and several accidents

Need to have commissionable products

Need pullovers as tourists are wowed by sights and stop in the middle of the road

Need passing lanes

Going to see increase in tourism after bypass done as there are things in Wyndham and Edendale that people want to see

Need to capitalise on tourism growth – potential for agricultural tourism – on back of food production story

Invercargill has had significant private investment in attractions through Richardson’s – Southland needs to leverage off this.

Need a tourism tax in NZ

Freedom camping

Freedom camping a problem at the rivers – damage is being done.

Why should I expand my business when I see freedom campers 20 metres away and you’re giving it away for free?

Freedom campers don’t spend. Cyclists spend. SDC should focus on and finish the ATMCT. ATMCT is a saleable product and it’s not finished. People are blown away by the trail. Cyclists have got money.


Freedom camping does not bring money in

Money spent on Thornbury bridge area for freedom campers is a waste as they are not spending here

Nowhere else allows freedom camping around the world – why are we funding it.

Places like Monkey Island, Clifden Bridge, Thornbury shouldn’t exist as we are paying for it

Need to get them to pay small levy – it is not fair and legislation needs changing

Needs to be monitored and needs resources

Campers going into Waituna at midnight

Stress around freedom camping – need fair play for camping grounds

Are all the spots for freedom camping needed?

We need to work out how to clip the ticket and we need to work with the industry



Growth not the answer – need quality of people

Aquaculture frightens me – how coordinate infrastructure in national park

We need to shift away from the higher volume mentality and think about becoming a “higher-value Mecca”.

High-end tourists are a priority. Lumsden is right in the middle of region.


Belief that SoRDS is Invercargill, need more understanding of broader picture

We need people to want to live here – what are the things that make our communities great? Need to sell those to people further north

Retirees are moving here – because it is cheaper to live

We need a tent at Mystery Creek accentuating the positive about down here – that would bring people in

SoRDS is a talkfest.

We need to work out how keep young in Southland.

Economic activity in Auckland has grown 5x relative to Southland.

Resources are being ripped out of the province.

Disappointed SoRDS has not come up with regional marketing strategy/brand for Southland produce/primary sector

World is desperate for animal protein

Subsidies for businesses starting up in Southland


Town is growing but services stifled, schools need to be amalgamated and use primary school land

Ageing always an issue on Island. Only 3 reasons to come to Island: job, tourism, retirement. Does Island want growth? Reactions varied for a small community: “no, bugger off” to “yes Please”.

Funding based around this is a problem for Southland

Gorge Road School had 137 students 10 years ago, now down to 38.

CDA trying to maintain identity but people making choices and don’t have same loyalty to community

50% of homes in Winton have two people.

Winton population same as 30 years ago.


Hard to talk about the future when things are lingering

Want to live in a vibrant community – some sectors like youth not represented

Parking a problem

Need town planning and need to future proof the town

Average wage is low. SDC not supporting us. “There is value in national park but every idea is hamstrung by SDC.

There is a food and beverage issue on Island. Not enough food outlets apart from pub. Electricity cost for food preparation is astronomical.” To run a restaurant here, without staff costs, you need to turn over at least $30k a year.” Unique problems for Island: cost of getting across strait, can’t eat, can’t find accommodation and there’s nothing to do on a rainy day. Too many regulations. You can cook food and not kill anyone but try and set up a commercial kitchen and you’re stuffed. “So much bullshit red tape.”

Need information signs at either end of town, have to get people stopping

Parking an issue


Communities are reliant on volunteers and there needs to be strategies to ensure people continue to volunteer

Losing community/farm ownership model in Southland

Empty buildings a bad look


Don’t landbank – we are driving on the worst roads in NZ and talking landbanking is ridiculous

Stuffed up sewerage at airport and lost pilots to Alexandra.


SDC places too much emphasis on Southland, not enough on Stewart island. Island is different. Roading not a priority.  Footpaths are.

Time for SDC to take responsibility for non-compliance over fire regulations on new buildings.

Need to look at pressures and opportunities around cribs

Need to measure not only on economy but on a happiness index

Disappointed in Council’s poor performance – cycle trail, Te Anau wastewater

We need to look after our communities – our elderly

Lots of retired farmers cashing up but we don’t want to lose them from our communities

Senior citizens can contribute a lot

Regional fuel tax should come back to Southland – that would help fund infrastructure

Need to work with agencies like education and health to get mobile services – we need to be very clear on what services we need

SDC should do more to promote the country towns – it should have its main office in Winton in the district, not Invercargill – it would be an example of leadership

Should rename Venture – Venture Invercargill – not many benefits come to rural areas

We need good broadband


Need to focus on internet and telephone coverage particularly in the south Catlins area

Nowhere for trailers to be parked on side of road

Welcome to Southland signage old and looking bad

Littering a problem

Council needs to stand up to Govt and say we are not putting up with stuff and stop changing the goalposts all the time

Concerns over flooding and evacuation in Wyndham

A lot of talk about the big earthquake and buildings – hard on small rural towns where there isn’t the business to upgrade the buildings

Local museum needs support – work out with communities what is needed in their areas

Media think they know everything – they need to listen more

We have a good future in this area – good schools, Fonterra, people moving here – we need to ensure they have a good time


Roads of national significance = Roads of voter significance

Fuel tax supports Auckland

Why agricultural sector paying most roading rates – service industries benefit most from tourism.

Honest discussion needed around water quality – rural and urban