Fuseworks Media

Council to consider consultation document for Long-term Plan – Kapiti Coast DC

Kāpiti Coast District Council is to consider a draft consultation document for its Long-term Plan 2024-34 on Thursday (28 March). If adopted, formal consultation on the Long-term Plan (LTP) will start that day.

Mayor Janet Holborow said this was one of the toughest Long-term Plans she’d ever worked on.

“Honestly, I can’t remember when we’ve ever had to go out to our community to ask such hard questions, with such critical implications for our ratepayers.

“The need to reduce debt and increase our resilience has been our main objective in preparing this consultation document.

“Councillors have gone through months of briefings and discussions to consider what we need to do versus what we would like to do, while remaining flexible and financially strong enough to grow well and respond to unexpected events,” she said.

Mayor Holborow said the LTP consultation had been developed during a very volatile economic and political environment, with global economic impacts also hitting Aotearoa New Zealand hard, and a new government starting to implement its policy promises while still shaping its replacement policies.

“We’ve invested heavily in good management of our water assets, but now the three waters legislation has been repealed, we must return to long-range investment planning so we can fund these services. This on its own will have a significant impact on rates.

“Inflation, rising insurance costs, workforce shortages, and supply issues, which continue to affect households and businesses across the country, are also putting huge pressure on councils. Kāpiti Coast District was no exception, and our proposed average 17 percent rates increase was in a similar ballpark to other councils,” she said.

“It’s a balance – we still need to provide services for our community, and plan well for the future of the district to attract growth and economic development that will help spread the rates burden.

“We also need to prepare to respond to future climate change impacts and the potential for a significant natural disaster.

“We’ve seen what responding and recovery has involved for other councils and communities around the country such as in the wake of major earthquakes and Cyclone Gabrielle. This is why we need to make some bold decisions now.

“The proposed consultation document would take a no-nonsense approach in its updated financial strategy, and would make some hard-hitting recommendations, including a proposed average 17 percent rates increase in year one but reducing in the following years,” Mayor Holborow said.

“We’ve worked hard to get our operating costs down so that the impact on rates will be as low as possible without compromising the services and facilities that make Kāpiti such a great place to live.

“Almost 10 percent of the proposed rates increase is from unavoidable costs like inflation, interest, depreciation, and personnel costs despite a cap on staff numbers already put in place by the chief executive.

“We know this is not what our community will want to hear, but if we are to build a resilient future for Kāpiti we have only so many levers we can pull.

“These costs just have to be absorbed as we don’t anticipate any new funding tools from the Crown anytime soon. We want to strike a balance between affordability and ensuring Kapiti has a resilient future.”

A paper recommending Council adopt the draft consultation document and consult with the public from 28 March to 28 April is attached to the meeting agenda for 28 March. The meeting is open to the public, or you can watch online. Read the agenda or find the link to the meeting livestream on the Council website at kapiticoast.govt.nz/meetings.

Pending Council decisions, the paper includes dates, times, and venues for several informal drop-in sessions across the district, for people wanting to talk to elected members about the proposed LTP.

 

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