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NRC Annual Plan Finalised


Date: 25 June, 2008


NRC Annual Plan Finalised

Extra spending to reduce the risks from 23 flood-prone rivers and to better manage regional development are among new initiatives in the Northland Regional Council’s freshly-adopted Annual Plan.

The Annual Plan 2008/09 was formally adopted by Regional Councillors at a special meeting in Whangarei today and comes after two days of hearing public submissions at Whangarei and Kaeo earlier this month.

Council Chairman Mark Farnsworth says in total the Council received 189 submissions on its Draft Annual Plan, which generally follows a direction set out in the Council’s previously approved Long Term Council Community Plan 2006-2016.

After hearing submissions, the finalised plan approved by Councillors incorporates a number of changes including identifying 23 rivers “that carry the highest level of flood risk”.

Councillors have allocated a total of $1.6 million over the next two years to develop (or update) river management plans for each of the rivers to try to reduce future flood risk and property damage. Sixteen of the rivers are in the Far North District, five in the Whangarei District and two in the Kaipara.

The 23 rivers (in alphabetical order) are:
• Awanui
• Awapokonui (Pakanae)
• Awaroa-Rotokakahi
• Hatea
• Kaeo
• Kaihu
• Kawakaka
• Ngunguru
• Otaika
• Panguru
• Pawarenga Streams
• Punakitere-Otaua
• Pupuke
• Waiarohia-Raumanga
• Waihou (Panguru)
• Waihou (Rahiri-Rangiahua)

MORE

• Waima
• Waipapa-Kerikeri
• Wairau (Maungaturoto)
• Waitangi
• Whangarei Heads Streams
• Whangaroa Streams
• Whirinaki

Councillors also agreed to spend an extra $250,000 to build on work already undertaken to develop a Regional Growth Strategy for Northland. The strategy is intended to provide a clear vision and strategic direction for sustainably managing the region’s growth prospects up to 50 years into the future.

A $20,000 contribution will also be made to help fund a review of the Waikare Inlet’s existing commercial shellfish harvesting classification. If successful, this will help local oyster farmers affected by pollution-related closures to clean up and operate their farms again.

Meanwhile, Mr Farnsworth says existing general rates will increase by an average of only about two percent for the 2008/09 year and overall Regional Council rates will still be very low at roughly $2.50 a week.

A ratepayer in the Whangarei District whose land is worth the District average of $246,000 will pay about $135 in Regional Council rates over the next 12 months while a ratepayer in the Kaipara District whose land is worth the District average of $265,000 will pay about $111 over the same period.

Mr Farnsworth says properties in the Far North District – which were recently independently revalued by Quotable Value - currently have an average land value of $304,000. That will attract an NRC rates bill of about $111.

Overall, the Council proposes to collect almost $10.7M (excluding GST) in total rates revenue across almost 83,000 properties Northland-wide. Returns from investments, fees and charges will account for balance of the Council’s expected $20.6 million (GST-exclusive) income for the 12 months from July 01.

Mr Farnsworth says there have been a number of recent changes to both staff and Councillor positions as the Council reviews the way it operates.

“These changes will improve efficiencies and enable us to work together with the region’s three District Councils to make decisions for the benefit of the whole region. We want to ensure the Council delivers the best possible service to the region as a whole and helps achieve Northland’s true potential.”

ENDS

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