The Marlborough Rural Advisory Group (RAG) was started in 2015 by District Councillor Geoff Evans. The Group’s purpose is to provide opportunities for increased communication and collaboration with and between the rural sector and the Marlborough District Council. The RAG is made up of a number of contributing groups from Rai Valley to Ward, Tua Marina to the Waihopai Valley. These groups include local residents’ associations, statutory entities (such as the Department of Conservation, Rural Fire, Civil Defence and Marlborough Roads), and rural land use and business interests. The Marlborough RAG meets four times annually to discuss topics important to the rural communities and organisations of Marlborough. Topics covered have included rural roading, rates, district and environmental planning, rural schools, animal health issues, forestry, pest management and rural crime and policing. Each contributing entity chooses its own representative to attend quarterly meetings, and then report back. The Marlborough RAG has been successful improving communication links and understanding between the Council and rural residents, ratepayers and business. The current Marlborough RAG chair is Bev Pitts, JP. Bev is a keen advocate for rural communities and has much experience in the farming sector. Purpose: • To provide an opportunity for increased networking and collaboration within the rural / rural urban sector and Council • Assist Council to identify the needs and aspirations of rural Marlborough. • Enable Council to better communicate planning, rating , and other statutory requirements to the rural community. • Lead the development of key issues affecting rural Marlborough. • Help the rural community to express its needs. • Assist with rural productivity, development and growth • Enable robust two way communication to achieve best outcomes. • Enable trust and confidence between Council as a service provider and rural ratepayers.