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HDC 2023/24 Annual Plan adopted; focus on infrastructure

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Hastings District Council adopted its Annual Plan 2023/2024 today, but the coming weeks and months will require further decision-making with a potential reprioritisation of projects as the financial implications of the recovery from Cyclone Gabrielle start becoming clearer.

Today’s decision sets the rating requirement increase for the coming year at 8.7 per cent to enable Council to continue with the work programme as set out in Year 3 of the 2021-2031 Long Term Plan.

The increase reflects cost pressures such as higher inflation, interest and insurance, making it more expensive for Council to deliver its core priority infrastructure services, such as roading, three waters (drinking, waste and stormwater) and waste.

There’s also the ongoing operational cost of completing the $100m drinking water upgrade programme this year, the final project being the Waiaroha drinking water treatment, storage and education centre, and in the past year there were strategic acquisitions such as the Tōmoana Showgrounds, which was consulted on, and those ongoing operating costs will start to be incurred in 2023/24. 

Hastings mayor Sandra Hazlehurst said the rate increase was predominantly to enable council to deliver its infrastructure services over the coming year, and did not take into account the future costs of the Cyclone Gabrielle recovery.

“We have tried to absorb the costs as much as possible to keep rate increases to a minimum, but council is going to have to make some hard decisions in the months ahead as the full costs of the Cyclone recovery become known.

“We may have to reprioritise some of the projects we had planned in order to fund the repairs and reinstatement of our infrastructure, particularly our roading network, given 16 bridges were destroyed and more than 100kms of roads damaged.

“The repair bill looks to be in the region of $800m and while many of the costs to date have been covered by external funding, we will continue to be heavily reliant on Central Government funding to assist with this.”

Mrs Hazlehurst said the cyclone had highlighted the importance of good quality infrastructure and that it must be a key focus over the coming years.

 “We will continue to keep our community advised of any changes to our work programme in response to Cyclone Gabrielle as we build back better together.”

29 June 2023

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