Annual Plan adopted

28 Jun 2023, 2:38 PM

Northland Regional Council rates will rise 10.48 percent – or on average $45.95 a year – under the council’s newly-adopted Annual Plan 2023/24.

Council Chair Tui Shortland says two years ago, the council had forecast an average rates increase of 9.2% for the 2023/24 year to keep work going and meet its Long Term Plan commitments.

However, after consultation with the public, the revised budget adopted today would see an estimated overall rate increase of 10.48%, or 1.28% on top of that already approved.

“In dollar terms that means the average ratepayer will pay about $45.95 more a year (less than $1 a week extra) and have an average annual rates bill of about $558.87.”

Chair Shortland says the newly-approved Annual Plan would allow for:

  • Te Tiriti capacity and capability building
  • Two Māori relationships team officers
  • Consents officer
  • Environmental monitoring officer
  • Funding to move Enviroschools facilitators from contractors to employees
  • A river engineer (asset management)
  • Funding for earth observation data to support compliance work.
  • Enhanced remuneration and a recruitment officer to help attract and retain the right skills
  • Increased audit fees, service desk support officer and technology upgrades for remote meetings
  • Increased non-elected member payment to attract and retain the right hapū and iwi expertise

Chair Shortland says councillors were acutely aware of the need to strike the right balance – continuing to move forward, while recognising the pressures the region is facing.

She says the month-long public consultation process had included proposals set out in a consultation document, and feedback was invited online, via email, and hardcopy.

Seventy-one submissions were received during the consultation period and members of the community were provided an opportunity to talk directly to councillors if they wished to.

Chair Shortland says councillors were acutely aware of the challenges our communities are facing and there had been significant debate and discussion around the council table about the Annual Plan.

That had been reflected in the council vote to adopt the plan, where five councillors had yesterday (Tuesday, 27 June) voted in favour and four against.

Chair Shortland says keeping up momentum in council’s work is critical to improving Northland’s environment, meeting its statutory obligations as a council, and supporting mana whenua and communities to adapt to the effects of climate change.

“Tropical Cyclone Gabrielle has also severely impacted Te Taitokerau, and now more than ever we need to keep building resilience and supporting our communities through regional emergency management and recovery, flood risk reduction and climate change adaption.”

“Meanwhile, our other critical work continues on freshwater health, protecting our native habitats, developing enduring relationships with hapū and iwi, delivering on our commitments to our communities, and leveraging central government funding for the benefit of our region.”

Chair Shortland says with the Annual Plan now adopted, the council will begin turning its attention to its next Long Term Plan which will set out the council’s blueprint for the next 10 years to 2034.

(The Mahere-ā-Tau | Annual Plan 2023/24 will be available from 1 July).