Fuseworks Media

Buller District Council considers deferral of Long-Term Plan

The Buller District Council will deliberate on deferring its Long-Term Plan (LTP) adoption at next week’s council meeting.

This decision comes in the wake of an update from Prime Minister Hon. Christopher Luxon and Minister of Local Government Hon. Simeon Brown, detailing a legislative path forward for the ‘Local Water Done Well’ initiative and repealing the current water services legislation.

On February 13, 2024, the Coalition Government announced its intention to revoke the existing water services laws by February 23, 2024.

The legislative strategy includes introducing a bill to establish a framework for the new water services system, ensuring council ownership and delivery of water services, to be passed by mid 2024.

A subsequent bill, aiming to implement a permanent replacement regime, is scheduled for introduction in December 2024. A technical advisory group is also being formed to offer expert guidance around realising these initiatives.

In light of these legislative changes, council staff will propose:

– The receipt of the LTP adoption date report with key considerations

– The deferral of the LTP adoption by 12 months to June 30, 2025

– The adoption of an ‘enhanced’ annual plan for the 2024-2025 financial year – The development of a reduced 9-year LTP for the period 2025-2034.

The proposed adjustments are driven by significant uncertainties that impact the council’s ability to comply with regulatory expectations while ensuring financial sustainability.

These uncertainties, which affect borrowing levels, rates, and overall financial planning, are not expected to be resolved on September 30, 2024.

Critical areas of concern include the potential establishment of a regional water entity, Westport’s flood protection needs, compliance with Taumata Arowai regulations, and Waka Kotahi – New Zealand Transport Authority funding.

The Buller District Council is actively addressing these challenges to ensure that strategic planning aligns with community needs and legislative requirements.

Mayor Cleine comments “We were tracking well to a normal LTP cycle until last week’s government announcements. There are a number of matters now evident that may mean it is prudent to consider deferring the LTP until we have greater clarity on what this substantial change in legislative direction may mean for ratepayers. Deferral of the LTP is an option, and that is what council will discuss on Wednesday.”

The council’s forthcoming meeting will be a crucial forum for discussing these recommendations and their implications for the district’s future. 

 

Powered by Fuseworks and Truescope - Media monitoring, insights and news distribution for New Zealand organisations.