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General rate rise of 2.05% announced

MEDIA STATEMENT

General rate rise of 2.05% announced.

Environment Canterbury (ECan) has announced that general rates will rise 2.05% for the 2008-09 year.

ECan councillors set the new rate amount at its June council meeting, close to the 2.1% rise forecast in the 2006-2016 Long-Term Council Community Plan (LTCCP). The total budget for the 2008/09 ECan Annual Plan is at $109 million, an increase of $7.6m on projections in the LTCCP.

Increasing pressure on ECan resources have led to the budget increase, in particular water management projects, including an additional $0.3 million allocated to stage 4 of the Canterbury Strategic Water Study on behalf of the Canterbury Mayoral Forum.

Total expenditure covered by the budget includes:

• Land Transport New Zealand’s indexing requirements to compensate transport operators for increased costs ($638million).

• Introducing the Clean Heat Project in Rangiora, Kaiapoi, Ashburton and Timaru to help meet National Environmental Standards for air quality ($0.87million).

• New Building Act responsibilities for managing dam safety ($0.28million).

• Implementing metering of water takes to meet national Environmental Standards for water management ($0.41million).

• Reviewing resource consents in areas of high water demand ($0.62million).

• Progressing the Proposed Canterbury Natural Resources Regional Plan ($0.41million).

• Monitoring compliance of permitted activities ($0.05million).

• A number of projects associated with water management ($0.41million).

• Progressing the Canterbury Water Management Strategy, on behalf of the Canterbury Mayoral Forum ($0.43million).

• Increased costs for enforcing animal pest control ($0.51million).

These increases have been offset by a $5.7million reduction in bovine Tb vector control work and will assist ECan to better deliver on its outcomes and objectives for the region.

ECan Chairman Sir Kerry Burke says that the regional council has worked hard to keep the rates increase to a minimum and that the two per cent rise is less than the current level of inflation.

Sir Kerry says that a key development to the Annual Plan is the progressing of the Canterbury Water Management Strategy. Its steering group has been broadened to include Graham Sutton (Irrigation New Zealand), Peter Scott (Opihi Irrigation/Ministry of Environment water advisory group), Martin Clements (Fish and Game/Ministry of Environment water advisory group), Hugh Canard (Kayaking/Recreation), Alister James (Chair Canterbury District Health Board) and Edith Smith (Forest and Bird).

“This broadening of the steering group shows that the project is moving from the Canterbury Strategic Water Study into a consultative phase and reflects the Mayoral forum’s wish to broaden the community focus and deliver community outcomes,” said Sir Kerry.


ENDS

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