The gold card being used on the ferry (The Informer 5 December, 2022.)
Response From Thames Coromandel District Council
The issue of a subsidy for Super Gold Card users to travel on the Whitianga Ferry Service at no charge came before the previous Mercury Bay Community Board. Staff were asked to investigate the issue and found the following:
· The Whitianga Ferry Service is operated under licence to our Council, which means it is not part of the Waikato Regional Council’s Regional Public Transport Plan. To be eligible for the Super Gold Card subsidy, the service would first need to be under contract to Waikato Regional Council, and then the funding implications of making it free for Super Gold Card users would need to be considered – neither of which is a given.
· Our Council’s Mercury Bay Area Manager will be asking the new Community Board if they would like to look at the issue this term, likely early next year.
Michael Dobie TCDC spokesperson
Summation: The challenge is that not only one previous Community Board has looked at this – it has been three - and it has already been before previous TCDC’s. Here is yet another round but with hope that super gold card holders won’t still be dusting off their cards when elections come around in 2025.
The response is clear and Michael Dobbie the spokesperson for TCDC, has unlocked the circular nature of an issue that has been before local government for over six years. There are two steps.
Step1) Someone needs to act on the findings of the investigation done by the TCDC staff.
This is now publicly in the hands of the Community Board early next year, not just to look at it but to look at the findings of the investigation which has already been conducted in a previous election cycle.
Step 2) A request for the WRC to be able to put the ferry under contract (as referred to in the TCDC response), to see if it can be eligible for gold card funding, could be a next step.
Response from Warren Maher Waikato Regional Council
Warren has also responded to a request from The Informer but from the point of view of being newly elected to Waikato Regional Council . He is requesting information on what happens to the allocated funding.
In a simple world, the Community Board may be able to go directly to Waikato Regional Council.
It will be important that the issue doesn’t lose traction between now and February. It could be an issue that, once resolved so that everyone feels they have had a win (including the ferry operator), it will enable other issues to be more easily traversed with public support.