07 April 2020

Bay of Plenty Regional Council is working with Rotorua Lakes Council and other local authorities to take a regional approach to COVID-19 recovery.

Regional Council Chair, Doug Leeder, said that in light of RLC’s announcement today on rates collection in the Rotorua district, a coordinated approach would be the key to regional success.

“We must ensure that we work together to reduce the impact on households while also ensuring that, as a region, we are best placed to help our economy recover and prosper.

“Regional Council has not had an opportunity to meet to consider RLC’s decision to postpone fourth quarter rates collection for Rotorua ratepayers. But we do recognise that the circumstances for the Lakes district will mean many people and businesses will be severely impacted by COVID-19 due to the abrupt stop to international tourism,” Mr Leeder said.

Regional Council’s Councillors have previously given direction to limit any rates increases for 2020/2021 for all regional rate payers. In doing so, regional council recognises that some of the territorial local authorities in the region may need to increase rates to support communities to recover from COVID-19.

“Each territorial local authority will be in a different place as they look at balancing the costs of essential council operations and investment required for COVID-19 recovery for their communities.

“The work of local and regional councils will be key to the strong and sustainable recovery of our economies. Regional council is already planning the recovery phase and is looking to increase investment in key projects in 2020/2021 to stimulate community growth and sustainable economic development across the region. In the Rotorua District specifically, this includes more funding for biosecurity as well as working with Te Arawa Lakes Trust to fund a Te Arawa Environmental Hub.

“We are working with the other councils in our region to identify infrastructure projects and other job-creation projects across the region. There will also be a special mayoral meeting held on 14 April to endorse “shovel-ready” infrastructure projects to be submitted to the Crown Infrastructure Partnership Group. Working together to identify these projects will put us in a better place to weather the economic storm of COVID-19,” Mr Leeder said.