Fuseworks Media

‘Gore DC votes to defer Long Term Plan’

The Gore District Council has this week decided to focus on delivering an enhanced Annual Plan for the upcoming financial year instead of producing a 10-year plan.

The decision comes after the Government last month gave local authorities the flexibility to defer their Long Term Plans amid uncertainty around the future of 3 Waters service delivery.

With the Government scrapping the 3 Waters Reform programme and announcing a new direction for water services, councils were put under considerable pressure trying to prepare a plan with 10 year expenditure and revenue projections in an environment where there was a high level of uncertainty.

Gore District Mayor Ben Bell said the Government’s decision vindicated the Council’s move to lobby the Minister for Local Government at a time when other local authorities questioned the value in deferring their long term plans.

“For me it shows that central Government and the Minister value localism and are listening to smaller councils, such as Gore.”

Interim chief executive Stephen Parry, who has been advocating nationally since early last year to delay or cancel this year’s LTP process, said the reasons for opting out of a long term plan far outweighed any perceived disadvantages.

In a report to the Council, he highlighted the challenges around preparing a Long Term Plan and several reasons to take advantage of the pathway the Government has offered councils.

“In 12 months there will be more certainty around 3 Waters reform and our role in any new structural model.”

It was difficult to get excited about the next 10 years when all the headlines nationally have been about the high level of rates increases being proposed for next year. The Council was not immune to the pressures driving up rates elsewhere and would be better positioned if it focused on just the next 12 months, Mr Parry said.

The impending arrival of a new chief executive was among the reasons to delay the Long Term Plan.

“It (deferring the LTP) means the new chief executive can be more involved in the formation of the Long Term Plan, capitalising on the work already under taken and not being pressured by time.”

The decision to defer the 2024 – 34 Long Term Plan means:

– The Council will produce an enhanced 2024-25 Annual Plan

– There will be a 2024-25 Annual Plan Consultation Document

– The Council will produce a nine-year-plan next year, which must be adopted by 30 June 2025

– There will only be two years between the next two Long Term Plan to bring the three-yearly planning cycle back in to line 

 

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