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Draft plan focuses on water and core services – Porirua City Council

Continued investment in vital water infrastructure is the focus of Porirua City’s draft Long-term Plan 2024-34 (LTP), which was approved today for community consultation.

The LTP sets the direction and budget for the city for the next 10 years, outlining what the Council is planning to do and how we’ll pay for it. At a meeting today, Council’s Te Puna Kōrero committee signed off on the LTP consultation document and supporting material, with formal consultation set to open on 26 March.

Porirua Mayor Anita Baker says we need to hold fast to our focus on water infrastructure and protecting Te Awarua-o-Porirua Harbour, despite recent Government changes to water reform, and rapidly increasing costs.

“Our plan proposes to spend 55 per cent of our budget on three waters infrastructure (stormwater, wastewater and drinking water) – that’s $637 million inflated over the 10 years of the LTP.

“In the next year, this spending will fund the new wastewater storage tank that’s underway in the CBD to protect our harbour. We’re also prioritising fixing our city’s ageing pipes and addressing the backlog of leaks.

“Councils and households around the country are facing an affordability crisis and it’s costing more to do the same work. Last year we maintained water services funding, but funded this half by debt, and half by rates. We can’t continue to do this due to limits on what we are able to borrow,” Mayor Baker says.

“As an organisation, Council has made internal savings of $4 million and increased our revenue target by $750,000. However, even with those savings, we need to bite the bullet with a proposed average rates increase of 17.5 per cent, for the first year of this LTP, with increases of 8.75 per cent and 10 per cent in the following two years.”

Mayor Baker says this level of increase is in line with other councils across New Zealand and is unavoidable if we want to keep funding critical infrastructure.

LGNZ research shows that councils nationwide are facing stark cost pressures, leading to higher than usual rates increases.

“Councils are acutely aware they need to balance the need for investment with affordable increases but the pressure has reached tipping point,” says LGNZ’s Vice-President Mayor Campbell Barry.

“It’s no secret that the funding system for local government is broken. Rates account for more than half council funding, and relying so heavily on rates alone is unsustainable,” he says.

Mayor Baker says while fixing leaky pipes is an obvious way to conserve water, we also need to be more careful with how water is used, which is why water meters will be introduced in about year four of the plan.

“This will help us identify the leaks more easily and encourage us all to use less. Other councils have found that water consumption drops significantly once people are more aware of how much they use.”

Mayor Baker says it’s important for the community to share their views on the draft LTP.

“We want your general feedback on anything in the plan, but also want to hear your thoughts on a proposal to provide every household with a rates-funded rubbish bin in the future, so there’s equitable access to the same, safer service. We believe this will also reduce contamination of recycling and the amount of recycling that ends up in landfill.”

Consultation is open from 26 March to 26 April, and engagement events will be held across the city for kōrero on the draft plan.

Making a submission is easy with many ways to have your say. Visit poriruacity.govt.nz/haveyoursay-ltp

 

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