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LGNZ welcomes release of draft 10 year plans

MEDIA RELEASE

LGNZ welcomes release of local councils’ draft 10 year plans

For immediate release on 6 April 2006

Councils are currently releasing comprehensive draft 10 year plans that detail their activities and the costs of funding these activities.

Basil Morrison, President of Local Government New Zealand welcomes these Long Term Council Community Plans (LTCCPs). “Comprehensive planning for a ten year period is a significant change for councils but the great benefit is that both councils and their communities will have a clear idea of where they are heading in the future.

“This means councils stay accountable to their communities and in turn communities have the opportunity to comment on and endorse specific issues, plans or proposed costs.

“It is exciting that the LTCCP process gives citizens the chance to have a say on the future of their local community. I hope everyone gets involved and has a say on what is important to them.

“The plans address what infrastructure and services local communities view as being important to them. In some cases, the plans may detail things like how long it should take for pot-holes to be mended or how many hours the local library is open each week.

“The challenge for councils is to balance the needs and expectations of their ratepayers for services with the ability to raise income, both from rates and other sources, to cover the cost of those services.

“The reality is that councils today face increased costs. These costs cannot be funded by rates alone and must be addressed by central government. As a result I have been heartened by the additional funding given to the Rates Rebate Scheme which will help those on fixed incomes.

“Central government is looking at a funding review for infrastructure costs at a local level and has recently increased its funding for local communities through water and tourism initiatives.

“Local Government New Zealand will continue to discuss alternative funding options with Government,” says Mr Morrison.

Long Term Council Community Plans must be adopted by local communities by July 2006.

ENDS

Local Government New Zealand is the national voice of all 86 councils of New Zealand.


Long Term Council Community Plans – Q & A fact sheet

Why are councils preparing Long Term Council Community Plans (LTCCPs)?

The Local Government Act 2002 requires local authorities to produce a LTCCP. Specifically, every three years starting in 2006, each council in New Zealand is required to produce a plan for its community - the Long Term Council Community Plan.

What is a Long Term Council Community Plan?

The LTCCP will describe the activities of the council and provide a long term focus for its decision-making. The LTCCP will discuss the first three years in detail and outline the following seven years.

The LTCCP includes:

- a statement of the community’s long term goals and priorities (community outcomes)

- information about the activities provided by the council including the level of service the community can expect and their contribution towards each of the community outcomes

- a long term financial strategy explaining what the council’s programme will cost over the next 10 years and how it will be paid for

- key performance targets so that citizens will know whether or not the plan has been achieved.

What are community outcomes?

Community outcomes are the desired state of affairs each community has identified as important to them. These could be anything from clean water to more parks. The council and other organisations in the community will use these outcome statements to develop their planning and activities.

What opportunities are there for people to become involved with the LTCCP process?

The LTCCP provides an opportunity for the public to participate in local decision-making and to influence the current direction and decisions of their council and ultimately, the future of their community.

Every resident, young and old, has the opportunity to contribute to their LTCCP.

Under the Local Government Act 2002, councils are required by law to consult with their communities and other interested parties on proposed activities in their region and take their feedback into account.

What is different about this plan from other plans councils have prepared?

The requirement for councils to produce a Long Term Council Community Plan is intended to focus local authorities on promoting the wellbeing of their communities, including social, economic, environmental and cultural wellbeing.

The plan will provide flexibility for councils to work cooperatively and collaboratively with other public and private organisations to advance community goals and meet the needs of their communities. Councils are required to consult widely and listen to community views.

Long Term Council Community Plans are different from the way councils used to present information. Councils will now look at all proposals and plans over a ten year period. This way you can clearly see:

- what the issues facing your local council are

- how the council plans to resolve those issues

- how much the council plans to spend over the next ten years and in which areas.

Is this just another layer of planning bureaucracy?

The LTCCP is a commitment from your Council to consult widely on all policies and actions that impact upon the wellbeing of your district and its people, socially, economically, environmentally and culturally.

The council will report to the community at least every three years on whether or not the community outcomes are being achieved.

When will my council have a LTCCP?

Contact your local council. LTCCPs must be adopted by July 2006.

How often are the LTCCPs reviewed?

Councils are required to monitor and report on the achievements of the plan at least once every three years.

Councils must also say how they will monitor the outcomes in the LTCCP and report on the progress of monitoring in their annual plans.

When will the Community Plan be reviewed?

The Community Plan will be adopted in 2006, and then reviewed once every 3 years.

How can I participate?

You can make sure your Mayor and councillors hear your views by making a submission to the council on its Draft LTCCP. To participate you can:

- Talk or write to council staff expressing interest in contributing to your LTCCP

- Talk or write to a local councillor and explain your views to them

- Check your council’s website for up to date information about consultation in your area.

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