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Greater Wellington proposes Plan for 2004/2005

Greater Wellington is the promotional name of the Wellington Regional Council

News release

4 March, 2004

Greater Wellington proposes Plan for 2004/2005

An increase in the charge on the community of 2.0% for the 2004 / 2005 financial year was proposed by the Greater Wellington Regional Council at a meeting today. The programme now goes forward for approval as part of the 2004/05 proposed annual plan on 18th March.

"A total increase in our charge to the community of 2.0% incorporating a rate rise of 2.8% and no increase in the water levy is a great proposal to be able to take to the community," said Greater Wellington Regional Council chairperson, Margaret Shields. "Through good budgeting and prudent management the Council has held down its costs. The Council has agreed to increase rates for some projects with substantial community benefit - for example by contributing to lengthening the new Waiohine bridge we gain substantial flood protection benefits. We have had to accommodate extra costs such as a substantial rise in the price of harbour insurance because of recent maritime accidents around New Zealand."

Ms Shields said that overall regional rates are proposed to increase by $1.5 million, from $54.1M to $55.6M. An increased contribution from Council investments had helped keep rates down.

"Greater Wellington promotes sustainability. Part of developing a sustainable region is keeping costs to the community down. I am very pleased that the proposed budget has achieved that. A good example is in the supply of water. We have held or reduced the cost of supplying bulk-water to Wellington, Porirua, Upper and Lower Hutt Cities for the eighth year running. Good management has meant that increasing costs have been largely able to be absorbed rather than passed on to our customers. Overall this is a pleasing result. The proposed annual plan now goes forward to the Council meeting on 18th March, and will then go to the community for consultation."

ENDS


Decreased costs / increased income

- Deferment of a number of non-critical projects - such as painting of flood control structures.

- $665,000 increased income from investments and dividends.

- Delay in the electrification of the Waikanae line - $262,000.

New projects / Increased costs

- $130,000 to fund improved bus services in the Hutt Valley.

- $150,000 contribution to the reconstruction of the Waiohine river bridge, to improve its flood capacity.

- $145,000 increase in the bovine TB control programme. This increase attracts a subsidy of $1.75 Million from the Animal Health Board.

- $106,000 increase in insurance costs for the Harbours, because of recent maritime accidents in New Zealand waters.

- $125,000 cost to subsidise a region-wide single-section bus fare of $1.

- $141,000 extension of investigations into renewable energy sources.

ENDS


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