Mayors Wise & Walker ... we've listened

Napier City Council and CHB District Council have completed their rates deliberations, with both councils landing – after their respective submissions processes – not far from where they initially signaled.

Napier City Council

For Napier, after considering 837 submissions, the proposed rate increase for 2024/25 has been cut from 23.7% to 19.95%. This reduction is largely due to holding NCC’s staffing at the current level of 760. Average rates increases will be 11.4% for 2025/26 and 8.8% for 2026/27.

Mayor Wise commented: “Our decision to reduce the labour cost increase reflects the community’s request to explore organisational efficiencies. That said, we can’t afford to reduce our ability to deliver on essential projects and services.”

A proposed Resilience Rate was also trimmed. At 0.45% for 2024/25, these funds will be ringfenced for emergency management activities and the Joint Coastal Hazards Strategy.

“I know that 19.95% is still a large increase compared to our increases in previous years. We need to take a big step forward to get us into a healthy position, and from there we can move on with more moderation,” said Mayor Wise.

“With this 19.95% increase, we’re making up for lost time. We can’t leave a situation like the one we have inherited. We must put resources into essential infrastructure to ensure firm foundations for our future.”

Other key decisions include establishing a council-controlled trading organisation to manage a commercially focused investment portfolio; loan-funding the deficits of some Council facilities as they transition to being financially self-sufficient; and restrengthening the Library Tower for Council office accommodation.

“In the Three-Year Plan we are committing to being more commercial in our thinking. We want to be more of an enabler, rather than a deliverer of services. The proposals we agreed to reflect that approach,” Mayor Wise commented.

CHB District Council

For CHB, following consideration of 285 submissions, the average rate increase for 2024/25 will be 20.9%, a slight increase over the 20.0% initially proposed. Average rates increases will be 14.9% for 2025/26 and 10.9% for 2026/27.

Interestingly, many CHB submitters actually favoured somewhat higher spending on essentials like roads and water infrastructure, But the Council pretty much held the line.

The only significant increase was for roading repair. Council agreed the community would support an additional increase of 0.6% ($205,000 coming from rates with a further $295,000 from NZTA Waka Kotahi) to help improve road safety by ensuring quality repairs can be made sooner.

Mayor Alex Walker commented: “The views of the community came through loud and clear, with a strong focus on Land Transport and retaining library services. We also heard our community’s expectations on the efficiency and value of Council services, which will be top of mind as we implement the Three Year Plan. It was really heartening that most of the feedback was focused on the best way forward.”

“Rates affordability for our community is our biggest challenge. However, we can’t repeat past mistakes and choose not to fund critical infrastructure,” Mayor Walker says. “These decisions were always going to be hard given the challenging economic times for households and the largely fixed costs Council is up against. Additionally, repairing major damage to roads and other infrastructure following Cyclone Gabrielle is needed.”  

“While our community strongly supported keeping the library open, we are still giving up some ‘nice to haves’. We’re all going to notice some changes. Some of our parks will not receive the same level of attention, for example. But the community has been great at making it clear what the really important things are and where we want the work to happen.” 


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  1. NCC appears to be completely out of touch! With reality.
    NAPIER desperately NEEDS COUNCILLORS & A MAYOR who will speak up! For those they’re supposed to BEST REPRESENT? Ordinary Jo Blow citizens in strugle street. Not councillors ( with 2or 3 incomes, pensions, who willingly sign up to a “Code of Conduct”. Gagging mechanism. That ensures they get paid and all sing from the same song sheet! And the Only time you hear from them, and they appear to listen to you? Is at “Election Time “when their hip pockets” threatend!
    Time for a change for sure??

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