10-year plan addresses funding and infrastructure challenges

Published on 05 June 2024

Long Term Plan 2024-34 logo.

Council is close to finalising a new 10-year budget and work programme as it works through final decisions as part of its Long Term Plan (LTP) 2024-34 process.

The LTP addresses Whangārei District’s most pressing funding and infrastructure challenges in a tough economic climate.

“We know we need better roads, more resilient infrastructure and to complete outstanding Cyclone Gabrielle repair work.

“This plan focuses on maintaining our existing roads, footpaths and pipes, and making sure our community facilities are well cared for,” says Mayor Vince Cocurullo.

The budget contains a 17.2 per cent general rate increase as Council manages the impacts of inflation, rising construction, insurance and interest costs, and the need to fund infrastructure for growth.

“For several years, we have been absorbing the impacts of inflation to limit rates increases for the community.

“We have not increased budgets in line with how much Council’s costs have risen, which has put significant pressure on our ability to deliver existing services and keep up with infrastructure maintenance each year.

“We need to address this now, even though times are tough for everyone. The budget will help us keep up with inflation and continue to plan for sustainable and resilient growth in our District,” says Mayor Cocurullo.

Public consultation on the plan called for community feedback on three topics, including freedom camping, a shareholding in regional economic development agency Northland Inc. and Council’s commercial property management options.

Mayor Cocurullo said feedback was received on a wide range of topics. “Councillors read every submission that came through, spent countless hours deliberating and discussing these questions, and balancing our District’s priorities.”

Council voted in support of becoming a Northland Inc. shareholder and discussed the importance of having a strong regional body to drive better economic outcomes for everyone in our District.

Councillors decided against a further increase in rates to fund its freedom camping service going forward, and will instead investigate other funding options, including seeking central government funding.

Council will review whether this service can be provided once all other funding options have been explored.

Council also identified a Council-Controlled Organisation (CCO) or a Council-Controlled Trading Organisation (CCTO) as a preferred option for the development of commercial properties.

It committed to further investigation of a lower cost CCO/CCTO than was initially proposed through consultation.

Following community consultation, Council has included funding for several local projects, including cycle trails at Waipu and One Tree Point, footpaths in Hikurangi and Ngunguru and public toilets in Maungatapere and Pipiwai.

The proposed 10-year budget has also been revised to include additional funding for several Council-controlled and community organisations, including Whangārei Art Trust and the Whangarei Aquatic Centre, as well as new funding to strengthen and improve engagement with hapū.

The LTP is set to be formally adopted by Council in July 2024.