Local government Long Term Plans (LTPs)

By Waikato Chamber CEO, Don Good

It is that time of the electoral cycle when Long Term Plans are laid out and rates struck. Local government across New Zealand is struggling. Encouraged by central government, they have had six years of myriad co-funded projects to deliver. Due to the fair pay initiative, there have been significant wage increases. This has resulted in local government salaries increasing as well, due to relativity claims. Meanwhile, the aging infrastructure has become a major concern and requires substantial investment. Since infrastructure is a core business, it should have been easier to budget for.

By adding debt and promising to hold rates in order to get voted in, local body politicians have kicked the can down the road for decades and – to really mash the metaphors – the chickens have come home to roost for the ratepayer to pay the piper a lot more and staff to lose their jobs.

The levels of rates increases that has been floated is staggering. Any company that is increasing its prices by the 19.9% in year one followed by four years of 15% increases that Hamilton City Council has suggested, would quickly lose customers and be out of business. 

To get the LTP and rates hike explained we held a Hamilton City Council panel consisting of Mayor Paula Southgate, chair of the Finance Committee Maxine van Oosten, and chair of the Economic Development Committee, Ewan Wilson on the 18th of March. 

The event was hosted by the recently appointed General Manager of Craigs Investment Partners Hamilton Kelvyn Eglington, who has had time working in the Council and, more than many, is familiar with the financial numbers.

You can find a link to the draft Long Term Plan and submit your feedback here


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