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Published: 2012-06-28 00:00:00

Waikato Regional Council has today adopted its 2012-2022 Long Term Plan, which details a wide range of activities to make the region safer, more economically vibrant and ecologically healthy.

The plan will be funded on a rates contribution of $75.841 million in 2012/13, an increase of 3.3 per cent to existing ratepayers. Years 2 and 3 of this plan will see increases of 3.7 per cent and 3.6 per cent to existing ratepayers.

Regional council chairman Peter Buckley said the council had reviewed and prioritised all the work programmes and activities it would fund to help achieve its three strategic goals of meeting legislative co-governance requirements with iwi, promoting regional development and sustaining land and water values.

“The council has been through an extensive planning process over the past year and we have heard and debated a wide range of views,” he said.

Of the 559 submissions received during public consultation, 130 people appeared in person to speak to the council.

“People’s suggestions, comments and viewpoints helped shape the final plan and led to reductions in the draft budget of almost $2 million over three years.”

Key changes made to the draft plan included:

  • reducing the Animal Health Board levy for the regional contribution to national bovine Tb control from the requested $825,000 to $650,000, but extending the collection period to the 2013/14 year, rather than just the 2012/13 year as proposed
  • funding the Hamilton passenger transport rate all from capital value, rather than a combination of a per property rate plus a capital value charge
  • confirmation of funding for the national cycling centre of excellence
  • deferral of work on new office accommodation in Hamilton pending the outcome of local government reform
  • changing the way in which marine farms are charged environmental monitoring fees to a per hectare basis.

“The council has done a good job of containing costs while improving services in water management, pest management, coastal area planning, civil defence and river catchment and drainage work,” Cr Buckley said.

Audit New Zealand confirmed the council had developed a prudent and financially conservative plan.

The 3.3 per cent increase for year one of the plan includes:

  • 1.6 per cent allowance for inflation
  • 0.1 per cent to cover the cost of taking over responsibility for drainage schemes transferred from Franklin and Waikato districts
  • 0.7 per cent for the national cycling centre of excellence at Cambridge
  • 0.7 per cent for the transfer of civil defence costs from local councils to the regional council and increased resourcing.