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Regional rates set for 2014/15

26 June, 2014

MEDIA RELEASE

Regional rates set for 2014/15

At today’s Council Meeting, Environment Canterbury Commissioners adopted the 2014/15 Annual Plan and set the region’s rates for the coming year.

The Commissioners confirmed that there will be a 4.95% rates increase across the region. This increase funds some new activities, but most significantly reflects a shift from user pays to general rates funding associated with water science and consent administration charges. This is consistent with the council’s wish to have its revenue policy supportive of the collaborative Canterbury Water Management Strategy.

“We have held the increase at this level despite some additional funding requirements identified since the annual plan was proposed,” says Commissioner David Bedford. “All spending for the coming year has been closely scrutinised before it was included in the Annual Plan. New work like additional resources to carry out the water management strategy and further investment in health and safety practices resulted in a 1.7% increase in rates.”

This combined with the impact of the change to funding water science activities, as well as funding existing and ongoing work, brings the overall increase in rates to 4.95%.

Commissioners were impressed by the high standard of the submissions at the public hearings and thanked all those who took the time and trouble to have their say. There were 149 submissions made covering many aspects of the draft plan, with a lot of interest shown on the proposed change to how water science charges would be funded.

“Keeping in mind our collaborative approach to the Canterbury Water Management Strategy we weighed up the arguments both for and against and thought since this reflects the broader community value and approach in managing water, as well as the associated community-wide benefit, it was appropriate to switch these from user-pays to rates funded, ” says Mr Bedford.

Environment Canterbury’s three key priorities for the past three years have been: developing and now implementing the Canterbury Water Management Strategy, assisting where possible with the rebuild of Christchurch and the Tuia programme involving a productive partnership with Ngāi Tahu for effective iwi participation in natural resources decision-making.

“We believe we are very much on track with fulfilling our objectives set two years ago in the Long-Term Plan 2012 – 2022 and that this plan is the right one for our region at this time,” Mr Bedford said.

This 2014/15 draft Annual Plan addresses year three of the Long-Term Plan 2012-2022. Next year, a new Long-Term Plan will be proposed.


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