27 Oct 2014

Waitaki disputes population decline

6:57 am on 27 October 2014

The Mayor of Waitaki District is objecting to figures predicting the area's population will fall.

The information is in the Southern District Health Board's draft strategic health services plan launched last week.

The plan quoted Statistics New Zealand as forecasting the number of people living in Waitaki District will fall 6 percent by 2031.

Historic buildings in Oamaru, the district's largest town.

Historic buildings in Oamaru, the district's largest town. Photo: PHOTO NZ

Waitaki mayor Gary Kircher said the figures were wrong. He said the district could prove it had been growing and that it will keep doing so.

Mr Kircher said it was hugely worrying the district could lose services based on incorrect data.

"If they're applying to central government based on those sorts of figures, well Otago-Southland isn't going to get what it should and the Waitaki District isn't going to get what it should to keep its services going."

Southern DHB executive director of planning and funding Sandra Boardman said it was having Waitaki's projections checked.

But she said the district should not worry because a population shift of 1000 people either up or down over 18 years would not affect services very much.

A holiday bach at Waitaki.

A holiday bach at Waitaki. Photo: PHOTO NZ

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