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Feedback Welcomed On Draft Long Term Plan

A focus on core services, infrastructure and careful financial management feature in Toi Moana Bay of Plenty Regional Council’s Long Term Plan 2024-2034 Consultation document, which will be open for public feedback from Friday.

The consultation document, draft Long Term Plan 2024-2034, and supporting information and draft associated policies were approved by Regional Council this morning. The Regional Council will now seek public feedback on all these documents during the consultation period from Friday 8 March to Tuesday 9 April 2024.

The Long Term Plan, which must be reviewed by the Regional Council every three years, outlines what work it will do over the next 10 years, why it is doing it, what it will cost and how it will fund the work.

Regional Council Chair Doug Leeder says the proposed work programme in the draft Plan, which will come into effect on 1 July 2024 if adopted, is all about maintaining infrastructure, delivering core services and carefully managing finances.

He said as inflation and interest rates continue to place pressure on the economy and on the Regional Council, it has looked at ways to keep costs down to help manage the impact of rates. The Plan proposes spending $200.7m in operational expenditure and investing $29.4m in capital expenditure during the year from 1 July 2024 – 30 June 2025; and $2.2b in operational expenditure and $162m in capital expenditure over the 10 years of the full Long Term Plan.

“For 2024/2025, this equates to an increase in total rates of 13%, made up of general rates (increasing by 9.9%) and targeted rates (increasing by 16.2%). General rates are paid by everyone, whereas targeted rates are used to fund work that has a local benefit and ensures the people who benefit for that service will pay for it.

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“The 9.9% increase in general rates is made up of a 4.1% real increase, 1.3% for growth and 4.5% for inflation. The effect of this would be an increase in general rates of $33 for the median Bay of Plenty residential property.

“What a lot of Bay of Plenty ratepayers might not realise is that investment dividends from Quayside Holdings Limited, the Regional Council’s investment arm, make up close to a quarter of our revenue. This allows us to enhance service delivery for the community while managing the rates burden for every household in the region in these challenging economic times.

“The drivers behind increases for targeted rates are higher volumes of work due to Central Government policy changes, capital projects and associated borrowing costs, inflated service delivery costs, and environmental considerations.

“The challenge for the Regional Council, which is never an easy task, is to achieve a balance between affordability and continuing to deliver the levels of service ratepayers expect.”

“What won’t be changing for this Long Term Plan will be our commitment to doing more with less and continuing to support volunteer groups who look after the environment.”

As well as proposals for how the Regional Council can sustainably manage its finances into the future and continue to maintain service levels, there are several specific proposals that it is seeking comment on:

  1. Who should pay for buses? How should the Regional Council fund Public Transport in urban centres, for example Tauranga and Rotorua, across the region?
  2. Whether to sell some Port of Tauranga shares - Do you agree Regional Council should enable a managed sell down in its Port of Tauranga Limited shareholding to no less than 28% to diversify its investments?
  3. New regional parks - Should the Regional Council investigate new opportunities for regional parks?

The Regional Council has produced a Consultation Document to help people understand the proposals in the draft Plan. The summary provides detailed information on what proposed rates ratepayers can expect to pay over the next 10 years, and explains its work programme and projected spending over the same period.

The full draft of the Long Term Plan and associated documents will be available on the Regional Council’s website at from Friday.

Submissions open 8 March and close 9 April 2024.

Submissions can be made online, through email or mail, or completed and handed in to any Bay of Plenty Regional Council office.

Hearings on submissions will be held in May and will be considered before the Long Term Plan 2024-2034 is adopted by Council at the end of June 2024.

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