It’s also a chance for us to check in with our community and update you on any changes from our Long Term Plan.
Like every other territorial authority in New Zealand, we have a Long Term Plan (LTP) which sets out the long term goals for Council and the Ashburton District. We publicly review this document every three years, and prepare annual plans for the years in-between those reviews.
Our annual plans are based closely on what was publicly consulted on during the previous LTP, however, we sometimes need to change our plans to meet new challenges. So, this draft provides you with an update on which circumstances have changed, what we intend to deliver, how much it will cost and how it will be paid for.
Covid-19 continues to affect all areas of our lives and the resulting significant public health measures have disrupted the accessibility of some of our services. Like elsewhere in New Zealand, the pandemic has impacted the number of customers using our recreational facilities, including the EA Networks Centre.
Part of the government’s three waters reforms means increased levels of compliance now, before the new three waters entity comes into force. Other government reforms and regulations have also impacted other areas of Council’s work programme, while we ensure our district has a voice on these issues.
Global economic circumstances exacerbated by Covid-19 has meant that the cost to purchase goods and services has risen sharply in the past year. Like any other business, Council has to purchase goods and services at increased prices to deliver on its obligations to the community.
When properties revalued by Quotable Value in 2021, generally speaking, urban values significantly increased while rural values dropped slightly. Because a portion of our rates are based on the property rating value, this will mean that come July 1, 2022, the increases in rates will generally be higher in urban areas than in rural areas.
The floods of May 2021 affected everyone in the Ashburton District in some way. Our road network, which is the fifth largest in New Zealand, was not spared either. We have been working hard over the warmer months to try and recover from the impacts of the flooding.
A change in climate over time is expected to impact the district’s natural and built environments. This gradual but significant change means Council needs to make decisions now around future-proofing our local infrastructure and economy.