Costs of $1.8 billion outlined in council's 'challenging' draft 10-year plan

A vote by elected members to release the Tasman District Council draft Long Term Plan 2021-31 for public consultation came with a plea for residents to look beyond the Waimea dam project.
Mayor Tim King on Thursday moved a resolution to adopt the councils 10-year plan consultation document and other supporting information including its draft revenue and financing policy, which will now go out for public submissions between March 24 and April 24.

There is much more to this than the Waimea dam and I know that is likely to dominate the conversation and the discussion, and the community's concerns, King told his fellow elected members just before the vote.

I just encourage the general public to look beyond the kind of headlines and look at some of the stuff that underpins it because there's nearly $2 billion worth of expenditure over the next 10 years.

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The mayor was referring to anticipated expenditure of $1.8 billion in direct operating and capital costs outlined in the consultation document including more than $225 million earmarked to be spent on renewing assets such as old pipes and treatment plants.

Council contributions of $18.6m for active transport and $7.3m for public transport are tipped as part of a multi-faceted response to climate change.

Martin De Ruyter/Stuff
Mayor Tim King says theres much more to Tasman District Councils 10-year plan than the Waimea dam project.

This response is one of four key topics in the draft LTP consultation document on which submissions are sought. The other three are homes and the councils proposal to provide infrastructure to meet the expected demand; the allocation of irrigator capacity costs for overruns with the Waimea dam project; and a proposed new company model for Nelson Airport and Port Nelson.

To find another $54.5m for what the council is budgeting to be a $159m dam project, it proposes raising $22m via an interest-only loan with no planned repayments of the principle over the 10-year life of the LTP. Another $18m is to come as an interest-free loan from Crown Irrigation Investments Ltd, to be repaid over 30-40 years. The $14.5m balance is a 30-year table loan.

The council seeks feedback on options for meeting the irrigators $25.2m share of the extra funding for the dam project. Its preferred option is to collect $14.6m via a proposed targeted rate on those with Waimea Irrigators Ltd affiliated water permits. The other $10.6m is tipped to be funded by general ratepayers. Alternative options for funding that $25.5m irrigators portion are also outlined in the draft LTP.

A Tasman District Council contribution of $7.3m is earmarked in its 10-year plan 2021-31 for public transport.

King said all the work outlined in the draft LTP has to be paid for and as most councils were finding, particularly those in areas of high growth, the cost of infrastructure was large and difficult to manage for those with a small ratepayer base and a relatively low average household income.

Hence the reason for Government reform, the mayor said.

Central Government changes including Resource Management Act reforms, new freshwater regulations, National Policy Statements for Urban Development and Freshwater Management, and the Climate Change Response Act feature in the councils draft LTP.

King said the Government reform package was pretty much unprecedented in terms of scope and timeframe and impact on local government.

Tasman District Council
Tasman District Council staff and elected members discuss the creation of the Aorere ki uta, Aorere ki tai Tasman Environment Plan. Video first published in December 2020.

The council was in the midst of creating its Tasman Environment Plan at a time when the entire legislation underpinning it is up for discussion and ... is going to change.

Expected to take several years to complete, the Tasman Environment Plan is to replace the councils existing resource management plans, the Tasman Regional Policy Statement and the Tasman Resource Management Plan.

To meet its expected costs over the next 10 years, the council proposes increasing it rates revenue increase cap from 3 per cent a year to between 4.5 per cent and 7 per cent a year over the life of the LTP. The council also proposes increasing its net debt cap from $200m to $282m.

King said it was difficult to look past the first three years of the LTP with any great certainty, which was going to be a real challenge as the council discussed its 10-year plan with the community over the next few weeks.

A series of community consultation meetings are scheduled to be held around the district between March 25 and April 20 with a dedicated situs about the LTP due to go live on March 24.


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