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Delivery and affordability the focus for Bay of Plenty Regional Council Annual Plan

June 2023

Bay of Plenty Regional Council’s Annual Plan 2023/24 is on the agenda for adoption this Thursday 29 June at a public Council meeting. 

Annual Plans allow Council to review and adjust the budgets contained in its Long Term Plan, and set out how Council will work towards its goals for the financial year ahead.

Since the Long Term Plan 2021-2031 was adopted, inflation and interest rates have been higher than predicted, leading to increases in the Annual Plan 2023/24 budget. This will have an impact on rates invoices, which will be sent out in September.

The Annual Plan sets out a general rate that will have an average increase per ratepayer per year of $39 for 2023/24. This is made up of a 5% real rates increase, as well as having to accommodate a 6.7% increase for inflation.

There is also an average targeted rates increase of 9.2% (a 2.5% real increase, plus 6.7% for inflation). The cost per household will vary depending on the location of the property and the targeted rates that are applied.

Bay of Plenty Regional Council Chairman Doug Leeder says increasing rates during a cost-of-living crisis is not a decision that Councillors take lightly, but increases were necessary to respond to nation-wide inflationary pressures.

“We are acutely aware of the affordability challenges in the Bay of Plenty. Inflation is high and we face a once-in-a-generation cost of living crisis.”

Chairperson Leeder says when deciding how to fund the Annual Plan, Council looks at how it can keep rates as affordable as possible.

“Where we can, we will reprioritise funds and use financial reserves to keep costs down. This is to reduce the impact of the necessary increases on ratepayers, while continuing to deliver the programme of work we have agreed to in the Long Term Plan.

“For the year ahead, income from our investment-arm Quayside Holdings will equate to an average rates reduction of $380 per household in the region. This will be a significant benefit for families in the current economic climate.”

Highlights in the Annual Plan 2023/24:

  • Discounted bus fares for youth. Children under 18 years old will travel for free and under 25s will get 50% off. We’re extending Central Government's age-based public transport discounts to include free travel to those under 18 years old (in other regions, free fares finish at 13 years old).
  • A refresh of Rotorua's bus network and, with our partners Rotorua Lakes Council and Waka Kotahi, making infrastructure upgrades. This will deliver significant improvements to public transport in Rotorua and connecting the community.
  • Further funding to Coast Care, a programme which restores and protects the region’s coastline, and promotes the importance of dunes as coastal buffer zones.
  • Investment into repairing, replacing and upgrading the urban stopbanks in Whakatāne as part of our wider flood management work.
  • Investigations into the potential of Blue Carbon, carbon that is captured and stored by coastal wetlands, as a tool to help mitigate climate change.
  • Continuing to fund community led projects through our grant funding programmes, including the Environmental Enhancement Fund, the School Sustainability and Resilience Fund and Te Hāpai Ora - Regional Community Outcomes.

The Regional Council meeting will be held on Thursday 29 June at 9.30am. The meeting will be live streamed on Regional Council’s YouTube channel.


About the Annual Plan

Every three years, the Regional Council produces a Long Term Plan. The Long Term Plan is our main planning document – it sets our strategic direction as a council and establishes the work we will deliver to the community over the next 10 years, as well as setting out how that work will be funded.

While we must have a long-term view to be able to make good decisions, 10 years is a long time, and a lot of things can change. Every three years the plan is refreshed for the next decade to make sure it is still on the right path.

Councils prepare an Annual Plan in each of the two years between Long Term Plan reviews to set out how we will work towards our goals.

About the Regional Council

Toi Moana Bay of Plenty Regional Council's mahi guides and supports sustainable development. As a regional council, Toi Moana manages freshwater, land, air and the coastal environment as well as public transport and economic development.

What we do:

  • Public transport and regional planning
  • Freshwater allocation
  • Planning and resource consents
  • Biodiversity enhancement, biosecurity and pest management
  • Coastal marine management
  • Maritime safety and navigation
  • Emergency management and civil defence
  • River management and flood control
  • Environmental care and catchment management
  • Regulatory compliance
  • Management of natural ecosystems
  • Environmental monitoring
  • Own and manage regional parks
  • Climate change adaptation and mitigation
  • Regional economic development.

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