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Ōu whiringa

Your choices

Long Term Plan 2021-2031 consultation has closed

We asked for your preferred option

Did you agree with our preferred options on the following topics. Should we spend the same or spend more and do more?

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Three waters

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.

We use information on the age and condition of our water infrastructure to decide when we need to replace pipes and other assets. We have many ageing water and wastewater pipes that need replacing over the next ten years — but all are at different stages in their life. While some need replacing now, some won’t need replacing for decades.

Climate change and our growing population puts more pressure on our water networks and supply. We need to continue a programme of renewing our pipes as well as continuing education and compliance with our community to meet these challenges.

Another factor to consider is the proposed Government reforms. This makes it difficult to make long-term decisions about how much we should spend.

Our drinking water comes from the dams at Waingake, where it’s treated and then pumped through one single pipe to our city network. During summer we boost our supply by using our backup station on the Waipaoa River.

The pipes that deliver our water need upgrading. If we don’t do this, it will affect our ability to guarantee delivery of quality drinking water to our community.

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.

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.

When we last talked to you, 66% said we should spend more on renewing our pipes.

QuestionWe’re asked you to choose an option for our water pipes and our city wastewater wetland.

The options

We propose to continue with our programme of renewals.

Because you’ve said we should do more, we propose to spend more from 2021–2024 to upgrade pipes that are at the end of their useful life.

This includes replacing cast iron water mains in our drinking water network and earthenware mains in our wastewater and stormwater networks.

This option would improve the overall resilience of our water networks and reduce sewage discharges into our rivers and the bay, at a cost of $33.1m.

While there will be a minor impact on all ratepayers, this will mostly affect those connected to the services.

This option is rate funded over the life of the asset, so it has no impact on our debt level.

This means we wouldn’t over-commit our budgets while we wait for more detail about the Government’s Three Water reforms.

Increased renewals would increase emissions - for example, emissions produced from the use of machinery to renew pipe work.

Water Preferred

With this option, we would commit to spending an additional $3.2m over the next ten years.

This means we could replace the old pipes in our three waters network faster. This would reduce the risk of pipes leaking.

We would have to increase debt and rates. While there will be a minor impact on all ratepayers, this will mostly affect those connected to the services.

By spending more early and later, we would commit to making these upgrades regardless of any changes from Government reforms.

This option would provide greater resilience against the effects of climate change across all Three Water systems.

Increased renewals would increase emissions - for example, emissions produced from the use of machinery to renew pipe work.

Water Option 02

City wastewater wetlands

We propose to start the investigation and the detailed design of the city Wastewater Wetlands. This will be followed by the purchase of land in 2030 with building commencing in 2032. Doing it this way means we won’t have to borrow as much and would only be spending $1.8m within this LTP cycle. It will have a minimal impact on rates while staying on target to complete the project in 2035.

The wetland would help reduce the effects of climate change and help us to adapt to it. The work being undertaken to build the wetland will contribute to regional emissions - for example, emissions produced by heavy machinery.

Wetland Option Preferred

We could fast-track the project by buying land and starting construction in 2029. The project would be completed sooner but we would need to increase debt funding to $11.4m and it will mean a greater rates increase.

The wetland would be built sooner, helping reduce the effects of climate change and help us to adapt to it sooner. The work being undertaken to build the wetland will contribute to regional emissions ­- for example,  emissions produced by heavy machinery.

Wetland Option 02

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Environment and regulations

We help make Tairāwhiti a great place to live, work and play in. Our work includes improving water quality, pest management and erosion control. We develop and put in place stormwater and river catchment plans, and commission environmental reports to guide our future mahi.

As our climate continues to change and erosion happens at an alarming rate, we need to protect our natural landscape.

Natural habitats for native birds and fish are at risk and our waterways are being affected by pollution and erosion. Our biodiversity projects, such as the Waingake Restoration Project, 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.

Biodiversity

When we talk about biodiversity projects, we mean the actions we’re taking to restore plant life, animal life and ecological values.

QuestionWe're asked you to choose between options for improving our biodiversity

The options and supporting information

Improving our biodiversity | Te whakapai ake i te rerenga rauropi o Te Tairāwhiti

We propose spending the same amount to continue our supporting these projects:

  • Waingake Restoration Project
  • Erosion Control Funding Programme
  • One Billion Trees initiative for indigenous planting along the Waiapu River
  • Dune and wildlife protection
  • Planting on Tītīrangi

We would complete this work as planned with the budget we’ve forecast of $18m. With this option we stay within our debt limit.

These projects will help reduce the effects of climate change and help us adapt more quickly.

Bio preferred

Spending more allows us to do everything we’ve already planned to do, and more. We could include extra projects in our work programme:

  • the mountains to sea revegetation project, developing riverside and coastal habitat for native birds and fish
  • increase support to the Ūawanui community restoration project, including Ūawa riverside restoration and coastal dune areas
  • restoration of the Taruheru River bank in partnership with community and iwi
  • enhanced support to the community with farm environment planning to ensure best land and freshwater outcomes.

These projects would cost an extra $1.2m in debt and a slight increase in rates.

Increasing funding for environmental projects will help us do more to reduce the effects of climate change and help us adapt more quickly.

Bio Options

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Roads and transport

The Tairāwhiti road network is one of the largest in the country. We maintain over 1,900km of roads, mainly in rural areas. 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 because forestry production is forecast to increase.

Flooding in 2018 and 2020 caused major damage to our rural roads and we’re still working on repairs. We have a limited maintenance budget, which often gets used on flood repairs rather than important maintenance.

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

With climate changes, we’re expecting heavier and more frequent winter rains and we need to be prepared. 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 last talked to you, over 50% of you wanted to keep the same levels of investment into our roads, and under half (45%) wanted to spend more.

Maintaining our roads |  Te whakapaipai i ō tātau rori

Renewal or repair?

We repair and maintain roads until it’s no longer worthwhile to do so. Sometimes it’s better to rip up the road and start again: that’s a renewal.

QuestionWe're asked you to choose between options for maintaining our roads

The options and supporting information

We propose to spend an average of $16m per year over the next ten years on our road network.

It’s becoming more expensive to do this work, so we may need to change how we maintain some roads to ensure safe access across the entire network. Recent improvements made because of Government funding will be maintained, but to make roading costs affordable, we may revert some sealed roads with low traffic numbers to metal.

With this option, we also plan to spend about $9m on priority safety improvements such as speed reduction and $18m on making the network more resilient and adapting to climate change.

Completing renewals on our roads contributes to regional emissions — for example, emissions produced by heavy machinery.

Roads preferred

Starting from 2025, we would increase our budgets for renewals and maintenance resulting in an average annual spend of around $17.5m over the ten years.

This would mean we could maintain safe access across the roading network without needing to change the way we maintain our roads. This option would also reduce the risk of significant damage to our roads and road-closures or restrictions and allow us to maintain the same or a better level of service.

This option would require an extra $16m. We don’t have the money for this extra spending, so we’d need to borrow more and increase our debt. This option would have a bigger impact on rates than we’ve forecast.

Keeping up investment in our roading network will mean we’re better prepared for projected climate change in our region. Completing renewals on our roads contributes to regional emissions — for example, emissions produced by heavy machinery.

For more information see

Draft Regional Land Transport Plan 2031

Infrastructure Strategy

Tairāwhiti Regional Spatial Plan

Roads Option 2

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Community spaces and facilities

Our places, spaces and buildings are part of what make Tairāwhiti unique.

Our mahi ranges from maintaining the parks and playgrounds where we take our families to play, to keeping our bins cleared and toilets clean.

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 and interpretation signage.

This work makes a big difference to our small communities, but it’s sometimes not enough to meet their goals and aspirations.

When we last talked to you, 74% said that we should spend the same or increase spending on community spaces and facilities.

QuestionWe’re asking you to choose between options for our township upgrades

The options and supporting information

Our township upgrades  |  Ō tātau whakapainga tāone

We propose to continue as planned by working with communities resulting in a $5.1m spend over 10 years.

This option supports our aim to stay within our debt limits, while still improving the wellbeing of our smaller townships.

Construction for township plans contributes to our regional emissions - for example, emissions produced by heavy machinery. Some such as cycleways and planting schemes will reduce emissions.

Option Preferred

Adding around $3m to the programme would allow us to do more work with our smaller communities so we can reach their goals sooner. However, this extra budget would come from increased rates and debt.

Construction for township plans contributes to our regional emissions — for example, emissions produced by heavy machinery. Some such as cycleways and planting schemes will reduce emissions.

See our Community Facilities Strategy

Comms - Option 02

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Flood protection

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.

In 2020, Government declared a climate change emergency, recognising the need for us all to prepare for the impacts of a warming climate, with more erosion, more flash floods and wildfires in our region.

The Waipaoa River Flood Control Climate Change Resilience project started in 2019 and involves upgrading 64km of stopbanks along the Waipaoa River.

When we last talked to you, nearly 60% said we should stick to delivering the project as planned..

Since then, experts have told us higher and thicker stopbanks are needed to provide the full level of protection. This means increased costs of $13.2m.

QuestionWe asked whether we should finish the project as planned or extend the timeframe?

The options and supporting information

Protecting our region from flood

We propose to invest the extra $13.2m to finish the Waipaoa River Flood Control Climate Change Resilience project as planned.

This option would give communities within the floodplain a higher level of protection from floods by 2030 at a cost of total $33.3m.

It would increase our overall rates and debt, but we would remain within our proposed debt limit.

The construction of stopbanks protects our communities from the effects of climate change.

The work being undertaken to build the stopbanks will contribute to regional emissions - for example, emission produced by heavy machinery.

Floods preferred

We could extend the timeframe for the project to 2035, but prioritise upgrading stopbanks in populated areas first.

This would mean the Poverty Bay Flats would remain vulnerable to flooding until the project is complete.

Our debt levels would be lower as the project would have a longer construction timeframe, but the total project cost would increase due to inflation. This option would see us spend around $26m during this LTP cycle but would result in an expected completion cost of $38m.

The construction of stopbanks protects our communities from the effects of climate change, but contributes to regional emissions.

See the Draft 2031 Infrastructure Strategy

Flood Option 02

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Our major projects

For more information on our major projects

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Sections of our Long Term Plan