Don't just make New Year's resolutions tonight …

As you bring in the new year (and the new decade) this evening we’ve got a very important request …

It’s the 31st of December, and traditionally this is a great time to think about the year ahead: planning personal goals and conjuring up fitness challenges, deciding to embark on exploratory missions into the mountains, committing to ongoing education, a health kick of some sort, or other forms of “self improvement” swapping out bad habits for good.

But this New Year’s Eve is not like every other. It’s the turn of the decade – which is fairly significant in itself – a real milestone. It’s also a key turning point not just for each of us as individuals, but for all of us in the Upper Clutha, and indeed in New Zealand.

Why? Well for those of us living in Wanaka, Hawea, Luggate, Makarora, Cardrona and nearby locations, decisions are about to be made which will have impacts for generations to come. Decisions about the size, scale, shape and nature of our community. Decisions which will impact the very essence of the Upper Clutha that our children, grandchildren and their friends will live in. Decisions which will impact the environment – our habitat – forever – for better, or for worse.

At the same time, New Zealand is having the same conversation about the rest of the country – facing a number of difficult challenges. You just have to read Simon Upton’s report on the impacts of tourism, released before Christmas, to know that we’ve got some very serious conversations to have. Do we want to risk killing the goose that lays the golden egg? According to his report, we’re close to that point now.

There are also broader issues of climate change, population growth, infrastructure, local and national economy and much more.

Right now, Wanaka Stakeholders Group is completely focussed on Wanaka Airport, and the decisions which will be made – and some which have already been made by QLDC and are being challenged by our legal team in the High Court – about the future of our community. These are important waypoints in the evolution of Wanaka – they are significant and will determine what our future looks like. We have one chance to get this stuff right.

At the same time, we all need to engage in a wider, future focussed and absolutely vital discussion. And that’s the one about how we want tomorrow’s Wanaka to look, and feel. About what we want our community to stand for, what we want our environment to look like, and why people might still be so excited to come here. The future of our community is well and truly in all of our hands.

So as you make your new year’s resolutions – your new decade’s resolutions even – please add in a resolution for future generations: giving your commitment to “be the change” to ensure that those who follow behind us get to enjoy the best version of the Upper Clutha possible, for decades to come. Be part of the conversation. Stand up for what you believe in. Share your vision for the community. Engage positively with those with other views, and let’s develop consensus. Don’t just let one small set of people’s vision “happen” to us, or wash over us. It should be about all of us determining this together.

What can you do? Join us, here. Encourage others to do so. Share our animated video with friends and family. We’re getting feedback from people all around New Zealand. Be ready to engage in conversation during 2020 when we need your help, because one thing’s for sure – we can’t do this without everyone pulling together, and there is quite some ground still to be covered.

From the 20 of us at the core of WSG, a massive thank you to all of you who have supported WSG this year – we’ve had a huge year of growth, and we are determined to get the best outcomes for the Upper Clutha.

Happy New Year – indeed, happy decade to you all. Here’s to a bright, positive, community-led future.

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