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Draft Long-term Plan For Manawatū Focuses On Getting The Basics Right

Manawatū District Council today launched its draft Long-term Plan for public consultation.

The plan, which sets out the proposed activities of the Council over the next ten years, comes with a 7.09% proposed rates increase for existing rate payers. With only a handful of councils proposing a single digit rates rise, Manawatū District Council’s Mayor, Helen Worboys says this is testament to the sustained investment in infrastructure the Council has made over the last decades.

“We know that any rates rise is going to hit residents in the pocket and with this draft plan we’ve done everything we can to keep our rates increases to a minimum. Because our Council has consistently invested in our core infrastructure assets, we are not now faced with skyrocketing prices to bring these assets up to scratch. We’ve also looked to defer some of our key capital projects for a while and postpone any new growth projects until the current ones are finished.”

Council is seeking feedback on four key issues including how to ensure the road maintenance funding is more equitably split across the district. “Feilding ratepayers currently pay $1 to every $0.65 that rural ratepayers pay for the maintenance of our roading network,” explains Helen. “However, with 85% of the total road maintenance spend being on rural roads, Feilding ratepayers are paying proportionately more for the upkeep of roads they infrequently use.”

Council is also asking for residents’ views on the future of the Kōwhai Park aviaries, and how to fund the enforcement of time-limited parking in Feilding which comes into force in July.

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“We’re also looking at where we think we should increase the amount someone pays to use a service,” Helen continues. “Generally if you use a Council service you pay towards it, and the rest is funded through rates. With some of our services, such as animal control and consent planning, we want to shift more of the cost onto the user of the service and reduce the burden on the ratepayer.”

Manawatū District residents are encouraged to find out more about what’s being proposed in the Council’s draft Long-term Plan, either by coming along to one of the community events happening in March and April, or by visiting the Council’s website.

“We’ve got a range of events happening right across the district during this consultation phase,” says Shayne Harris, Manawatū District Council Chief Executive. “We’d love to see people come along and have a chat with our elected members, ask them some questions and perhaps think about submitting their thoughts on our draft plan.”

For anyone wanting to hear more about the consultation issues, a series of videos have been created which outline the key points and how to make a submission. Manawatū District Councillors front the main video, talking residents through the various topics and the options proposed, and Council has also commissioned a New Zealand Sign Language (NZSL) version of the video. “It’s really important for us that as many of our communities can engage with this process as possible,” says Rhi Galpin, Engagement and Communications Manager. “We have videos in NZSL and English, as well as a te reo Māori Summary Document which outlines our key messages.”

The Summary Document, while not a substitute for the main Consultation Document, aims to help people understand the process of an LTP, the challenges Councils face when pulling one together, and the specific issues Manawatū District Council is consulting on. “We hope the Summary Document can allow even our youngest residents to have fun and interesting chats with their parents about how you plan and develop a whole district!” adds Rhi.

The consultation for What Matters, Manawatū? Draft Long-term Plan runs from March 27th until April 27th.

To read the What Matters, Manawatū Consultation Document, watch the videos and make a submission please visit<>

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