Greater Wellington hears the voice of the community
Community feedback and rates affordability were key considerations in Greater Wellington Regional Council’s 10 Year Plan deliberations, after receiving a record number of submissions.
“Understanding the needs and wants of our communities is an integral part of this process, and our deliberations and final decisions were based on the views of our community,” says Hearings Committee Chair Cr Barbara Donaldson.
“We received 761 submissions over the last month and were impressed by both the volume and the quality of the submissions from across the region – from individual ratepayers through to the city and district councils, companies and iwi representatives.”
There was strong endorsement of the key proposals that the council sought feedback on – public transport, water supply and quality, biodiversity, emergency management, economic development and building resilience around the region. As a result Greater Wellington will continue to invest in these key areas.
The council also sought feedback on its rating policy and offered several options, in particular on the issue of closer alignment between the costs and the benefits of flood protection and public transport. One option was for ratepayers who get the most benefit from flood protection and public transport to pay the largest share of the costs and another proposed to retain the status quo for flood protection while realigning the public transport contribution.
Having listened to submitters the Hearings Committee agreed to opt for no change to the current flood protection rating model, and to reduce the differentials for public transport rates for businesses and also Otaki ratepayers. A longer transition period of six years was also agreed.
GWRC Chair, Chris Laidlaw, says it was evident from written and oral submissions that many in the heavily affected areas were opposed to any change, particularly to the flood protection rate. The committee also heard some people would find it unaffordable.
“While the principle of aligning benefits with costs is basically sound, the issue of unaffordability in several parts of the region weighed heavily on our final decision,” says Laidlaw.
“We heard from many Wairarapa residents in particular who shared strong views on possible changes to the way rates are allocated to flood protection works. We listened to that and have acted on it.”
More details will be available when the recommendations on Greater Wellington’s 10 Year Plan go to Council for approval on 14 June.
For more information, please contact Clayton Anderson, Council Communications, 027 2721370