Nelson MP Nick Smith has welcomed the Government’s U-turn on providing the region with its own Regional Commissioner for the Ministry of Social Development after last year’s decision to end the role.
“The appointment of a Regional Commissioner for Nelson is a significant win for the region. The Ministry of Social Development provides over $100 million of support and services to the region each year and it was a nonsense for the Government to make us part of the Wellington region. I congratulate Nelson’s new Regional Commissioner Craig Churchill on his appointment and look forward to working with him so as to ensure improved social services in the region.”
Janine Dowding was the Nelson Regional Commissioner for MSD until April last year when she was appointed Chief Executive of the Tasman District Council. The Government announced that it was not going to replace her and instead Nelson would be included in Wellington and serviced by Louise Waaka, the Wellington Regional Commissioner.
“I was livid last year when the Government dropped Nelson having its own Regional Commissioner. The Commissioner’s role was established in 1997 and has been important to Nelson for over 20 years. Social Development Minister Carmel Sepuloni was naive in thinking Nelson could be included as part of the Wellington region. I am pleased the representations by Mayors, social service organisations and myself have seen the decision reversed. My goal is now to work with the Commissioner on Nelson’s Social Development needs of which the priorities are our aging population and increasing problems with drug abuse.”
Nelson’s new MSD Regional Commissioner Craig Churchill takes up the role on 15 May 2019.