This Annual Plan 2014/15 outlines the council's budgets and rates for the coming year's activities.
The work programme is closely aligned with what is set out in the council's Long Term Plan 2012–2022 (LTP), adopted in June 2012. The Long Term Plan covers ten years with more focus on the first three years.
In the Annual Plan we highlight where a budget or proposal differs from what's in the LTP. The Plan summarises our activities and financial strategy rather than repeating the detailed information that is in the LTP. Copies of the LTP are available from council offices or our website: www.nrc.govt.nz
Summary of consultation outcomes
Our draft Annual Plan did not propose any significant changes or variations from the direction set out for the 2014/15 year in the 2012-2022 Long Term Plan, other than the proposed lower-than-projected general rates and the potential sale of council's leasehold investment properties. Council received 240 submissions on the draft. Below is a summary of the key council decisions following consultation on the draft Annual Plan 2014/15.
Under the Long Term Plan, a 7.2% average increase in region-wide rates increase was projected for 2014/15. As proposed in the draft Annual Plan council has cut that increase to 0% for the year while not reducing services in the final Annual Plan. This was in line with the submissions received.
Council achieved this by using extra investment income received, projected growth, and by reducing the amount of investment income transferred into the Investment and Growth Reserve (to be used for economic development projects). Council remains confident there will be sufficient money available in the Investment and Growth Reserve to fund projects.
As a consequence of our decision on the use and redirection of investment income from the reserve to subsidise rates we will review our Revenue and Financing Policy as part of the development of the Long Term Plan 2015-2025.
Potential sale of investment properties
Council consulted on whether it should have the discretion to sell any of its leasehold investment properties on a case-by-case basis subject to the following criteria:
- Any sale would always be at or above market value.
- A potential sale demonstrates clear economic development benefits including:
- The intention to expand the business or upgrade current buildings or infrastructure;
- Job creation;
- Other business development opportunities that would not otherwise be available if the land was leasehold;
- Providing an advantage over the sale of other properties because of its strategic location for the matters listed above.
As a result of feedback and further consideration of the proposal council has adopted these criteria. While some current leaseholders supported offering first option to the current leaseholder and other submitters thought council should exit investment property altogether, council thinks the case-by-case approach and criteria deliver more benefit to Northland's residents and ratepayers than the alternatives proposed.
Te Taitokerau Regional Māori Advisory Committee
Council signalled its commitment to establishing a relationship with Māori in the draft Annual Plan. On 13 May 2014, council set up a new standing committee - 'Te Taitokerau Regional Māori Advisory Committee'. It decided to increase the budget for administration, support, koha, meeting allowances and staff from the draft Annual Plan proposal. It has done this by utilising unspent carry forward from 2012/13 for iwi special projects and liaison and one-off salary savings arising last year (2013/14).
Fees and charges
As proposed in the draft, council decided to apply a 2.4% increase to all our user fees and charges that are affected by price level changes. (The 2.4% is the forecast cost adjustor for operational expenditure in local government for the 2014/2015 year.) Council reviewed the fees and charges of other councils, the balance between public and private benefit and the need to adjust for inflation in coming to its decision. It also adopted the revised fee estimates for larger consent holders and the proposed floating plant rates and, as requested by a submitter, removed note 6 (for restricted coastal activities) because this was no longer necessary due to a law change. The adopted charging policy also reflects changes to the Navigation, Water Transport and Maritime Safety Bylaw Charges 2013.
Waiora Northland Water
In line with submitter support, council adopted its proposal to increase our monitoring in our priority catchments to inform catchment management action and decision making and to meet council's obligations. Individual submitters raised particular concerns such as fencing of waterways, sedimentation, council's monitoring of discharges, and keeping up the work on Kai Iwi Lakes and the Kaipara Harbour. These points have been referred to council departments with responsibility for these issues.
Council agreed to increase the size of the fund by $235,000 during 2014/15 to meet projected demand as proposed in the draft and supported by submissions. The increase means the total fund for the year will now be $635,000.
Regional Pest Management Strategies and kauri dieback
As a result of submissions council has included additional funding ($163,000) for pest management (including Kai Iwi / Taharoa Domain and kauri dieback) to provide an integrated management approach to the Kai Iwi Lakes. This is in addition to adopting the proposed increase in funding for the joint agency response to kauri, which was strongly supported by submitters.
Priority rivers and Kotuku detention dam
No changes to the plan were made as a result of submissions on differential rates, as these issues were considered when the rates were set. During the consultation period on the draft Annual Plan, council held a public meeting to update the community on progress with the Kotuku detention dam, Whāngārei. It included in the final plan its commitment to consult on any future change to the targeted rate and to work with the Urban Whāngārei Rivers Liaison Committee and the community on the project to ensure it remains affordable.
Economic development and the criteria for the Investment and Growth Reserve
Council decided to increase the funding for regional economic development agency Northland Inc as proposed.
In line with submissions, council confirmed its proposed $100,000 budget to acquire new aerial imagery and has now entered into a Memorandum of Understanding with the other councils of Northland, Northpower and Land Information New Zealand to collect this imagery.
Regional Policy Statement
A number of submitters covered matters that were currently under appeal as part of the development of the new RPS, such as GE or mapping. Accordingly, these matters could not be addressed through the Annual Plan process.
The Annual Plan has not changed council's support in its Long Term Plan for a precautionary approach to GE (genetic engineering) and maintains the contingency funding for $10,000 for assessing applications made to the Environmental Protection Agency. Approximately a dozen submitters raised issues on genetic engineering/genetically modified organisms. Many submissions were outside of the scope of the Annual Plan process. No changes were made to the Annual Plan on the basis of these submissions.
Surf life saving
This year council received 180 submissions requesting its support and funding for surf lifesaving. Council has not funded surf lifesaving in this plan. (This is in line with council's resolution not to consider applications for grant funding or establish a contestable fund.) Council did however give a one-off grant payment of $20,000 in the 2013/14 financial year. Council will revisit the issue of grant funding as part of the development of its Long Term Plan 2015-2025.
Council staff identified two bus service opportunities that had not been included in the Draft Annual Plan for council consideration as part of its decision making. They were:
- a $15,000 funding request for an Opononi to Kaikohe Trial Passenger Transport Service, which had not made it into the submission process but had been raised with council staff previously, and;
- the need for extra bus services during the FIFA Under 20 World Cup Soccer Tournament in 2015.
Council decided to fund both services and to seek a contribution from the New Zealand Transport Agency, Whangarei District Council and others for the FIFA related services. (Council has budgeted $12,500 in the plan for the FIFA services and $15,000 for the Opononi to Kaikohe.)
Request a printed copy
You can request a printed copy of the Annual Plan to be sent to you by clicking on the REQUEST A COPY link at the top right hand side of this page or by calling us on freephone 0800 002 004.
Download a full copy of the Annual Plan 2014/15 in PDF format from the links below.
Due to the file size of the Annual Plan, it has been split into the following sections.
PART 1 (1.85MB)
Message from Chairman and Chief Executive
About this Annual Plan
Key changes from the Long Term Plan
Overview – our strategic direction
Changes to the final Annual Plan
Council's objectives and vision
Rates and funding
Rating Funding Impact Statement
Prospective Funding Impact Statement
Summary table of rates
PART 2 (1.30MB)
Community Representation and Engagement
Significant financial forecasting assumptions
Statement of Accounting Policies
Amendments to the Navigation, Water Transport and Maritime Safety bylaw charges 2014
Charging policy 2014/15
Appendices to charging policy 2014/15
ISSN 1179-7878 (print)
ISSN 1179-7886 (online)