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Council Meeting: Climate Emergency; Annual Plan; Rates Date

Media Briefs
26 JUNE 2019

Climate Emergency
The Hawke’s Bay Regional Council has joined other councils around the country in declaring a climate emergency.

The declaration was confirmed at today’s Hawke’s Bay Regional Council meeting along with a number of other actions, which include:
• Providing an annual progress report in relation to existing work and additional future programmes relating to climate change
• Including climate change as a primary factor for consideration in its decision making processes
• Committing to developing a comprehensive programme of work in response to climate change, including regional leadership for climate change awareness and action
• Requesting staff develop a programme of community engagement on climate change mitigation and adaption
• Directing the Chief Executive to further reduce the Council’s greenhouse gas emissions and report annually on progress
• Advocating the Ministry for the Environment to include greenhouse gas emissions in the consenting process under the Resource Management Act
2019-20 Annual Plan Adopted
Accelerating the Regional Council’s environmental focus across the region is a key element of its 2019-20 Annual Plan, which was adopted at today’s Hawke’s Bay Regional Council meeting.

The plan supports a stronger focus on regulating activities that can harm the environment, along with more emphasis on planning, science and support for environmental restoration. The 12-month plan continues the direction of last year’s Long Term Plan.

Regional Council Chair Rex Graham endorsed the environmental focus of this plan saying 40% of this year’s budget is dedicated to enhancing land, water and biodiversity, and to scientific monitoring of the region’s environment.

The Regional Council confirmed the planned average rate increase of 7.9% for the 2019-20 year, as consulted on last year in the Regional Council’s 2018-28 Long Term Plan. Nearly half of this year's 7.9% rate increase (3.7%) will fund the Regional Council's stronger focus on regulation.

The Regional Council did not consult publicly on this year’s Annual Plan, due to there being no significant changes to the work plan for 2019-20 from last year’s Long Term Plan.

New due date for Regional Council rates
There will be a change to the due date for Hawke’s Bay Regional Council rates from next year.

Today’s Regional Council meeting confirmed changes to the timing of rates being issued and due, with effect from 1 July 2020.

Regional Council invoices are currently sent out in September each year, but not due for payment until 31 January - four months later. From July 2020, rates will be invoiced in early August and due by 20 September.

The change aims to lessen payment pressures on ratepayers over the Christmas period and leading into the start of the school year, as well as to improve the Council’s cash flow.

Ratepayers are encouraged to organise a regular direct debit to pay their regional council rates. This can be done on the regional council website.

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