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Affordability front of mind as plan to continue to invest in resilience adopted

30 Jun 2023, 3:49 PM

Kāpiti Coast District Council has adopted its 2023/24 Annual Plan and confirmed rates for the coming financial year. 

The plan will see Council continue to invest in strengthening the district’s resilience, making sure Kāpiti has the infrastructure, services, and facilities needed to meet the challenges we’re facing while continuing to support the community to thrive. 

At their meeting yesterday, Council agreed to an average rates increase of 7.8 percent for 2023/24, slightly below the 7.9 percent forecast in year three of our Long-term Plan. The impact on individual ratepayers will vary depending on the location and the value of the property.  

Mayor Janet Holborow says planning for the year ahead and finding that balance between keeping rates affordable and investing in our district was especially challenging in the current financial climate and within the constraints of the current Local Government funding system. 

“We know that the cost pressures impacting us in local government are also challenging households and businesses, so we were determined to find ways to accommodate these additional financial pressures without kicking the can down the road,” says Mayor Holborow. 

“Given the challenges we’re facing – climate change, housing availability and affordability, the pressures of growth, central government reform, and economic recession – we made the call to stick with the direction set in the Long-term Plan and deliver year three with no changes to our strategic direction, outcomes, levels of service or strategic assets.  

“With this decision comes an unavoidable average rates increase, but we worked hard to significantly reduce the impact from the forecast 14 percent increase we faced at the start of the annual plan process. 

“We know an increase is not what people want to hear but it’s simply unavoidable. The increase is mainly driven by external factors such as inflation, interest rates, increased labour costs and depreciation. 

“The current funding mechanisms aren’t working for local government, and I hope that through the Future of Local Government Review we see some real change that takes the onus off our ratepayers and sees central government pay its share. Increases year-on-year cannot continue.”  

Deputy Mayor Lawrence Kirby says he was relieved that Council was able to get the average increase down to 7.8 percent as many other Councils are wrestling with double digit percentage increases and reducing service levels. 

“We need to keep levels affordable for our community. As we move into planning for our next Long-term Plan we will work hard and look at taking a new approach to show our community that we don’t take our responsibility – their money – lightly,” says Cr Kirby. 

“It’s really important that people worried about paying their rates, get in touch with Council to understand the options of support available.”  

Over the next 12 months the Annual Plan will see Council invest in essential infrastructure, climate action, and progressing projects that are important to communities including the Waikanae Library/Community Hub – further engagement on this kicked off earlier this month, Te Newhanga Kāpiti Community Centre, Ōtaki Beach Pavilion upgrade, helping to address housing needs where it makes sense, and improving the district's resilience to extreme weather events.  

Kāpiti Coast District Council Chief Executive Darren Edwards says he is excited for the year ahead but warns it won’t be easy especially when it comes to project delivery,” says Mr Edwards. 

“Our work programme is going to see many projects and initiatives progress – some will safeguard our essential infrastructure and others will bring people together and strengthen community wellbeing. 

“Delivery of these however will be far from plain sailing. While our work programme for 2023/24 remains largely as outlined in our Long-term Plan, the cost of delivering our projects and services continues to increase, and we have supply chain challenges and workforce shortages to contend with too. 

“We are going to have to stay agile, track our progress carefully, revisit costs and timelines as needed and report back to our community as we go.”  

This year, Council is also wanting to get a better understanding of what matters most to communities as work to further develop a vision for the district, and prepare the next Long-term Plan begins. 

“We have been working with our Iwi Partners and Community Boards to plan an engagement programme over the next year to help confirm our new strategic priorities, develop a new community vision, and inform the next long-term plan,” says Mayor Holborow. 

“You will start to hear more about this mahi in July as it’s a big priority for Council this term.  Landing a vision for Kāpiti together will help us enable a future that is sustainable and guide our planning right now, and over the next couple of decades so we reach the future we all want and thrive.” 

The 2023/24 Annual Plan was developed following a series of elected member workshops earlier this year. To learn more about this process, the Annual Plan, and your rates for 2023/24 visit, www.kapiticoast.govt.nz/AnnualPlan.