Last Wednesday, the Regional Council adopted its draft LTP, which will now go to the public for consultation.

In its first year, this LTP proposes an increase that will average $1 per week across all Hawke’s Bay ratepayers.

By a more inflammatory measure, that equates to a 19% increase in the first year, which simply reflects the low revenue base that currently supports Regional Council activities. I would note that one-fourth of the increase is due to HBRC picking up from our four territorial councils the full cost of civil defence preparedness for the region — producing off setting savings you should see in your local council rates.

Currently the average total payment by HB ratepayers to the Regional Council is about $251 per year.

The public expects that average $251 per household to provide a clean, safe environment — capable of supporting sustainable growth — for all of Hawke’s Bay, complete with resilience and future proofing against extreme weather events … with more such events expected due to climate change.

In my judgment, the current spending level represents serious under-investment, reflecting past neglect, against our environmental and resource use challenges. As the consultation process proceeds, I will listen carefully to your views and will offer my own.

In the meantime, I urge you to take seven minutes and listen to these remarks by HBRC chief executive James Palmer as he introduced and gave context to the draft LTP for Council consideration last week.

Tom Belford

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