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Te Mahere Haere Ake 2021-2031: Tō Tātau Tairāwhiti

2021-2031 Long Term Plan

2021-2031 Long Term Plan: Our Tairāwhiti

On 30 June 2021 Gisborne District Council adopted its plan for the next 10 years - Our Tairawhiti 2021-2031 Long Term Plan.

This plan sets out our commitment to delivering the activities, services and infrastructure our region needs. What we're planning to do, how we'll pay for it and what it means for rates and debt. It also includes measures to monitor and evaluate our progress.

Every 3 years we're required to review and prepare a new long term plan (LTP) by engaging with our community. This is to ensure you contribute to setting our future direction. This is a requirement under the Local Government Act 2002.

Note 2024 proposed change - together with 7 other councils heavily affected by Cyclone Gabrielle, we're proposing to temporarily change the requirements in the Act to replace the 2024 long term plan with a 3 year plan, with a focus on cyclone recovery. For more information on the proposal, see DIA's website

2021-2031 Long Term Plan

The big consultation issues and our response

We informed our community that to help us finish the work we’ve already started, we’ve set a 6.5% plus growth* maximum cap rates increase for the first 3 years of our plan. Then from 2025, we’ll go back to a maximum annual increase of 5% plus growth*. 
We’ll also be lifting our debt cap to allow us to borrow up to 130% of revenue.

* Plus growth refers to growth in the number of rateable properties. It's assumed 0.5% growth per annum will occur throughout the LTP. Refer to Financial Strategy for more details.

We had 6 key options for consultation:

We need flood protection to keep our people and community safe from our rivers breaking their banks in heavy rain. We also need to ensure that our important horticulture, viticulture and farming assets are protected from the effects of climate change.

The Waipaoa River Flood Control Climate Change Resilience project started in 2019 and involves upgrading 64km of stop banks along the Waipaoa River. When we last talked to the community, nearly 60% said we should stick to delivering the project as planned. Since then, experts have told us higher and wider stop banks are needed to provide the full level of protection. This means increased costs of $13.2m.

For this LTP we asked if we should spend this extra money and finish the project in the same timeframe, or extend it to allow the costs to be absorbed over a longer timeframe.

We received 186 submission points on flood protection, with 61% supporting Council’s preferred option - to complete the project as planned by 2030.

Our response

Due to this support, Council resolved to continue as planned, giving communities within the floodplain a higher level of protection from the effects of climate change as soon as possible.

For more information see page 54 of LTP Vol 1 - Major Capital Investment Projects.

Some of our most important responsibilities are managing our drinking water, wastewater and stormwater. These have direct consequences for the health and wellbeing of our people and land. Maintaining the quality of our water and replacing hundreds of kilometres of pipes is what we need to plan for and deliver.

Stormwater is still getting into our wastewater network during heavy rain. This causes wastewater (sewage) overflows into our rivers and the sea. The main cause of the problem is illegal spouting connections and broken gully traps on private properties. We’ve made progress, but we still need to do more to stop the overflows. When we last talked to the community, 66% said we should spend more on renewing our pipes.

For this LTP, we asked whether we should focus on spending more over the next three years or should we extend that increased investment over ten years.

We received 200 submission points on our water pipes, with 55% supporting Council’s preferred option - to spend more from 2021-2024 to upgrade pipes that are at the end of their useful life.

Our response

Due to this support, Council resolved to spend more in the first three years to improve the overall resilience of our water networks and reduce sewage discharges into our rivers and the bay.

For more information see page 78-87 of LTP Vol 1  - Three Waters Activity Summaries.

Our wastewater goes to the wastewater treatment plant in Awapuni, where it’s processed, filtered, treated and pumped to the outfall pipe in the bay. This year we’ll start construction on the wastewater UV disinfection plant to make the water cleaner. While this is excellent news, our long term goal is to remove all household wastewater from the bay. Building a wetland is the best way to do this.

A wetland is a natural ecosystem that will treat and remove contaminants from the water. In the future this water could even be stored and used sustainably for farming and horticulture. In 2032 we’re proposing to build a wetland at our City’s wastewater treatment plant to remove household waste from the bay.

For this LTP, we asked if we should bring this project forward, or stick to the timeline identified in the 2018-2028 LTP.

We received 198 submission points on our city wastewater wetlands, with 55% supporting Council’s preferred option of sticking to the planned timeframe.

Our response

Due to this support, Council will continue with its plan to start investigation and a detailed design of the wetlands, followed by the purchase of land in 2030, with building commencing in 2032 and a target of completing the project in 2035.

For more information see page 54 of LTP Vol 1 - Major Capital Investment Projects.

When we talk about biodiversity, we mean the actions we’re taking to restore plant life, animal life and ecological values.
As our climate continues to change and erosion occurs at an increased rate, we need to protect our natural landscape. Our
biodiversity projects, such as the Waingake Transformation programme, aim to reduce the effects of climate change.

Alongside partners Ngāi Tāmanuhiri and Maraetaha Incorporated, we’re replanting thousands of native plants in the Waingake Bush, where we get most of our drinking water. The cost of this project is $18m over the next ten years and another $9.4m from 2032–2052. When we last talked to you, over 90% thought we should continue spending the same amount on biodiversity and restoration projects, or even increase investment.

For this LTP, we asked if we should spend the same amount as planned on biodiversity projects like Waingake Transformation programme as well as dune and wildlife protection, planting on Titirangi, and indigenous planting along Waiapu River, or increase our funding to deliver additional biodiversity benefits.

We received 200 submission points on improving our biodiversity, with 45% supporting Council’s preferred option to spend the same amount. However 48% of submitters either supported our second option of “spending more and doing more” or proposed additional initiatives that would result in an increased spend on biodiversity.

Our response

Due to this strong support for an increased focus on biodiversity, Council resolved to boost the spend on biodiversity projects by an additional $1.2m. This will mean we are able to provide additional support to a number of important biodiversity initiatives.

For more information see page 88 of LTP Vol 1 - Liveable Communities Activity.

The condition of our roads is important for our wellbeing, they connect us to each other and affect the economic growth of our region.

Our roads are expected to deteriorate due to climate change bringing more frequent flooding and the forecasted increase in forestry production.

Thanks to Government investment of over $84m in the last 3 years, we’ve lifted the overall state of our roads, but we still face great challenges to keep them to a good standard.

With no additional Government funding expected for our roads, our investment levels will be significantly lower, so we have to make tough decisions.

When we heard from the community in October 2020, over 50% wanted to keep the same levels of investment into our roads, and 45% wanted to
spend more.

For this LTP, we asked if we should maintain existing budgets, ie. spend an average of $16m per year over the next ten years on maintaining roads, or from 2025, increase our budgets for renewals and maintenance resulting in an average annual spend of around $17.5m over the ten years, in order to reduce the risk of road-closures or restrictions and to maintain the same level of service.

We received 216 submission points on maintaining our roads, with 47% supporting Council’s preferred option - to maintain existing budgets.

Our response

Due to this support, Council resolved to continue as planned to spend an average of $16m per year over the next 10 years to maintain our roads.
We also plan to spend $9m on priority safety improvements, eg. speed reduction and $18m on making the network more resilient and adapting to climate change.
Overall, this may mean we’ll need to change how we maintain some roads and in Year 1 of the LTP we will finalise a detailed plan for roading maintenance priorities.

For more information see page 73 of LTP Vol 1 - Roads and Footpaths.

Working with communities on improvements in our smaller townships is an important part of our mahi. We work with one township every year on upgrades like:

  • new and improved playgrounds
  • community facilities
  • streetscape improvements
  • street plantings
  • welcome, cultural and historic signage.

This work makes a big difference to our small communities, but it’s sometimes not enough to meet their goals and aspirations. During the early engagement, 74% said that we should spend the same or increase spending on community spaces and facilities.

For this LTP, we asked whether we should continue as planned by working with communities to spend $5.1m in the townships over 10 years, or whether we should spend more to help communities reach their goals sooner.

We received 187 submission points on our township upgrades, with 53% supporting Council’s preferred to continue as planned. However 39% (including a number of stakeholder groups, in particular our Iwi partners), either supported our second option of doing more, or proposed additional initiatives that would result in an increased spend in townships.

Our response

Given the strength of requests from submitter groups, Council resolved to provide $7m of funding to our township upgrades over the next 10 years, allowing us to do more work with our smaller communities to help them reach their goals sooner.

For more information see page 44 of LTP Vol 1.

Other key consultation issues

Besides our 6 big consultation questions, which dominated the bulk of submissions received, a number of issues important to our community were considered during the consultation period.

From the 351 formal submissions received as well as the informal feedback from social media and community meetings 5 key themes emerged:

Submitters sought to ensure rates are sustainable for our population and there were concerns from a number of rural ratepayers around rates equity in relation to services received

Our response

Council’s approach to affordability was to support and balance the needs of our current community without overly burdening future generations and managing an appropriate level of debt. A number of mechanisms were used to reduce and smooth rates to make them as affordable as possible, including:

debt funding the costs of significant new legislative requirements (TRMP and Freshwater Plan)

partnering with our CCO, Gisborne Holdings Ltd with the use of dividends to smooth rates impacts

focusing on delivering critical activities and infrastructure

managing debt prudently, keeping it at a responsible level

funding the depreciation of new projects over time.

For more information on our Financial Strategy, see Our Tairāwhiti 2021-2031 Long Term Plan pg 40.

This included concerns around water security and our planning for freshwater as well as rural and communities seeking support for clean, affordable and reliable drinking water and wastewater services.

Our response

We will develop a regional water security and resilience programme for Tairāwhiti.

This will focus on demand for freshwater and how much is currently available and options to increase water security, alongside sustaining the mauri of our awa and Te Mana o te Wai.

It will consider issues raised by submitters, such as the use of water tanks and the alternate use disposal of wastewater for irrigation. We will also be working closely with central government on the Three Waters Reform Programme to ensure the water security needs of our community are met.

For more information see page 78-87 of Our Tairāwhiti 2021-2031 Long Term Plan.

A number of submitters sought to ensure that our upcoming work to update the Tairāwhiti Resource Management Plan (TRMP) appropriately addresses the issue of housing supply and affordability.

Our response

Addressing housing supply and affordability will be a key component of the upcoming TRMP review.

Growth area planning will be a priority over the first 4 years of the review and will be aligned to future infrastructure needs, including transport planning.

Council also resolved to undertake a review of the management of Council and CCTO owned land and housing.

For more information see page 44 of Our Tairāwhiti 2021-2031 Long Term Plan.

Our Iwi partners were clear in expressing support for increased consultation with mana whenua leading to a greater role for them in decision-making.

Our response

Council is continuing to enhance its engagement and consultation practices to ensure that it's responsive to how our community wishes to engage, including engagement and consultation with Māori and Iwi.

Council also resolved to initiate governance-level meetings with mana whenua to discuss how we can better work together in partnership to deliver on the desired outcomes expressed by Iwi during LTP consultation.

For more information see page 30 of Our Tairāwhiti 2021-2031 Long Term Plan.

There was clear community support for Council to increase its support to enable proposed additions to our network of walking and cycleways both for community wellbeing and to enhance climate change mitigation efforts.

Our response

Council acknowledges the significant climate change mitigation and recreational benefits of an enhanced walk and cycleways network.

Due to the wealth of support for increasing the region’s network of walk and cycleways, Council resolved to fund the local share of the Taruheru walking and cycling project and to provide funding for the Ūawa walking and cycling project.

For more information see page 58 of Our Tairāwhiti 2021-2031 Long Term Plan.

Mayor Rehette Stoltz said "we’re proud to finalise our vision for the district for the next 10 years, developed in collaboration with the people of Tairāwhiti.

Submitters said we need to do more to protect the region’s biodiversity, improve the infrastructure of our smaller communities and encourage low carbon transport by increasing the region’s network of walk and cycleways.

Through this plan we've increased our support for these important projects, as we look to balance the needs and aspirations of our people with sound fiscal management to ensure we minimise the impacts on future generations."

Council has set a 6.5 percent maximum cap on total rates revenue for the first 3 years, and no more than 5 percent from year 4 onwards.

Your feedback helped shape this joint vision for Tairāwhiti

We look forward to working on building a better place for generations to come.

LTP submissions

The consultation document