Archive for the ‘Long Term Plan (formerly LTCCP)’ Category

Community to be Asked About Future of the Waimakariri Red Zones – Great!

30 July 2014

Minister Gerry Brownlee announced today that a community engagement is about to start with regard to future of the Red Zones in Kaiapoi, The Pines and Kairaki.

The process will be run jointly by the Waimakariri District Council and CERA and will be conducted on a variety of fronts: a website, public meetings or workshops, schools, etc.

Note that this is only for Waimakariri – the Christchurch engagement will happen later.

We encourage people to talk with the families, neighbours and friends and send their thoughts in.

Obviously people in our community have been talking and asking about the red zone future for the last three years, and a lot of suggestions have been made already.  An example has been the work done by The Pines and Kairaki Beaches Association.  All of that thinking will be fed into the mix of ideas that is going to emerge.

The full text of today’s media statement can be found at:


Statements on councils’ internal borrowing plain wrong, says LGNZ

6 September 2012


Statements carried on Radio New Zealand this morning about councils supposedly hiding the extent of their debt by internal borrowing are wrong and misleading, says Local Government New Zealand.

Local government analyst, Larry Mitchell, who was in Whangarei speaking to a ratepayers group, said councils used to have “sinking funds that they could not touch which were to be used to replace infrastructure.”

Mr Mitchell also claimed that since the rules had been changed to allow councils to use these reserves to finance their other needs, they had done so with “a vengeance.”

In addition to questioning the emotive language Mr Mitchell had used about “raiding reserves with a vengeance,” LGNZ President, Lawrence Yule, explained that councils had accrued money in accounts from asset depreciation and temporarily used this money to fund other projects to avoid borrowing externally.  This was common practice and saved ratepayers money.

Mr Mitchell argued that councils should show their internal borrowings in their annual reports and plans.  In fact they already do.  This has been a legal requirement since 2010, said Mr Yule.

The sinking funds Mr Mitchell referred to had not been in common use since 1996, when council borrowing was deregulated.

Mr Mitchell also reportedly said that “council balance sheets around the country show debt ceilings have been reached and there is no capacity to borrow.”

This is far from true, Mr Yule said.  An NZIER report published in July, using two internationally accepted key measures of the risk associated with debt, showed New Zealand councils controlled their debt very well overall.**  It’s the ability to service debt that was key, not the total amount of debt.

“Debt and gearing is low, and interest costs are at a prudent level relative to incomes and quoted benchmarks,” the report stated.  Additionally, the councils in New Zealand which had requested ratings from international credit ratings agency, Standards and Poor’s, had received very good ones, said Mr Yule.

“If communities want new bridges, parks and roads, the funding doesn’t come out of thin air.  It’s unlikely communities will be able to pay for these things out of rates, or fees.  Borrowing spreads the costs over years and provides another vital avenue through which community aspirations can be fulfilled.  Put simply, future generations of people who will benefit from infrastructure pay a share too.”

“It is also important to remember that infrastructure councils buy is often mandated by central government.  For example, water treatment plants.  These need to be paid for.”

“Mr Mitchell’s comments are unhelpful and show that there is a strong need for public discussion about the reality of council borrowing, including its extent and what constitutes good, responsible borrowing, which is very much the norm in the local government sector.  We need to talk based on facts and evidence,” he said.


For more information contact LGNZ communications advisor, Malcolm Aitken, on 029 924 1205.

**The measures are the gearing ratio and the debt servicing ratio; debt as a proportion of assets and debt servicing costs as a proportion of the associated revenue stream, respectively.



Update: Ashley Bridge (Cones Rd – Rangiora & Loburn / Ashley)

19 August 2012

We should know early next month whether we will get the Government subsidy for a new bridge. If we get it, the subsidy will be about 60% of the total cost of $10 million plus.

The Council has budgeted for its share of design work in 2012-13, with building starting 2013-14.

“Average” Rates – Don’t Jump to Conclusions!

13 June 2012

The media likes to keep numbers simple. That is why they always want the amount of a change to rates to be expressed as a single percentage.

This is almost always less than useful for the individual ratepayer, especially in Waimakariri’s case.

In Waimakariri, there are lots of targeted rates, i.e. special rates for different areas. The Rangiora water charge, for instance, is far higher than Kaiapoi’s.  This reflects the cost of building and running the new water scheme that brings reliable and safe water into the town from Kaiapoi. Or again, some areas pay drainage rates, and they vary from area to area, and other areas pay none – but the latter only get drains along their roads and no other service.

An increase in any one of these targeted rates raises the average rate, but only affects the targeted areas.  Tuahiwi is about to get a water supply  and the rate increase there is part of the average increase.

Another factor is that many Waimakariri rates are actually uniform charges where properties pay exactly the same amount.  Some are levied across the whole District, e.g. the library charge, others in targeted areas, e.g. the Woodend sewerage charge. When a uniform charge changes, the mathematics means that different properties may have different percentage changes to their bottom lines.

The change to capital value rating is also going to mean considerable variation from property to property.

So … when the media tells you that there is going to be a 5.1% rate increase in Waimakariri, remember that it is only an average – some will be higher, others lower

Waimakariri Rates & Debt – Both Low by National Standards

5 April 2012

The Government’s Better Local Government reform programme contains a table listing all NZ’s councils with figures relating to their rates and debt.  There are 67 District and City Councils in New Zealand and in terms of population, Waimakariri is the 19th largest.

The figures relate to the financial year ending 30 June 2010.

The table shows Waimakariri’s rates-per-capita at that time  ($663) as the fifth-lowest in the country.  The average rate increase over the the period 2002-2010 was 7%, right on the national average.

The debt level per capita  was $485, which was 15th-lowest in the country.  The increase of debt, however, was 1115% – obviously that had started from a very low base.

During those ten years, the Council had built the ocean sewerage outfall for something like $35m, which impacted those ratepayers in Kaiapoi, Woodend, Rangiora, Waikuku Beach, Woodend Beach and Tuahiwi who are in the Eastern Districts Sewer Scheme.  The othe second-largest project was the new Rangiora water supply, of which some of the rates impact had had not finished by 2009-10.  This is a $16m project which affects only Rangiora ratepayers.

The effects of major projects, therefore, can affect some ratepayers considerably, and others not at all.  However, they do affect the Council’s overall debt level.

The Council is proposing a 5% increase in rates on average for the coming year.  Debt levels will double because of the major capital projects ahead of us, notably the Kaiapoi Library, Rangiora Town Hall and Ashley Bridge.

As implied above, Waimakariri has a lot of rates that are targeted to specific areas. This means that the impacts of increases in the total rate take vary considerably from area to area.

The Government programme can be found at

Public Meeting On Future of Oxford Town Hall

14 March 2012

A public meeting was held tonight on the future of the Oxford Town Hall and the Pearson Park Pavilion.

Both have been assessed at less than 33% of New Building Standard.

The estimate for bringing the Town Hall to at least 67% is about $2m and the pavilion $125,000.

It has been suggested that  it would be better to combine these two amounts and put a new building serving the functions of both in a suitable place in Pearson Park.

At the meeting, concern was expressed that $2.125m would provide a building that was too small for the purpose.  Nevertheless, the meeting agreed that investigations into the feasibilty of a new building should be proceeded with to enable the community to make an informed choice.

This is certainly not a final decision to go one way other the other.

Like all community buildings, the Town Hall is funded by rating across the whole District.  In this case the work, whatever is done, would be paid for out of an earthquake loan.

Ten-Year Plan out for Consultation this Weekend

1 March 2012

The Draft 2012-22 Ten Year Plan will be out for consultation this weekend – in hard copy and on the Council website, . These plans are revised every three years and outline what the Council intends to do over that period of time and how it is going to pay for it.  So it affects rates!

Submissions close on 3 April and can be made on-line, by email or by hard copy.  People who wish to appear before the Council to be heard can do so.

Councils up and down the country are doing this, so there’ll be a bit of publicity about proposed rates levels and so on.  It is important to realise that the proposed 5% rise in each of the next three years (largely driven by the earthquakes and earthquake-prone buildings) is a very coarse average.  There will be considerable variation from area to area.  An example is for Tuahiwi, where in addition to the District-wide matters, a new water supply is to get under way.  Rangiora will also be experiencing the last rate rise associated with its new water supply.

Residents Angry About BMX Proposal

17 February 2012

Existing and soon-to-arrive residents of the Sovereign Palms subdivision at Kaiapoi made their feelings well-known last night at a public meeting called by the Council.  They clearly do not want a BMX facility near them.  The proposed track will replace the one destroyed on the Kaiapoi riverbank by the September earthquake.  The original site cannot be used – changes in the land level have meant that it is now often under water.

The meeting was part of the consultation being undertaken prior to a resource consent application being made by the council on behalf of the BMX Club.

As with the proposal to relocate the Riverside Bowling Club to Hinemoa Park, the Council is in a very difficult position.  We are anxious to get community facilities and clubs up and running in Kaiapoi again.  Finding places to put them that are close enough to Kaiapoi so that residents (including children) can get to them easily but which don’t have neighbours living nearby is next to impossible.

Our hope is to use land that the Council already owns. We could buy land – assuming we can find a willing seller – but is there such a place that isn’t close to people’s houses?  Given the well-known pressures on the budget, buying land is not an attractive proposition from a community point-of-view.

Abandoned Red-Zone land is sometimes suggested. That is not an impossible idea but there are two difficulties. The first is that the Government has not decided what to do with the land (they are gradually taking it over as people move out).  That decision might be some time off.  The other difficulty is that the land has been classified as highly vulnerable to liquefaction and lateral spread.  It is one thing to put, say, a rugby field on it, quite another to put a facility that involves expensive buildings or earthworks.

We need ideas!

Waimakariri Confirms Earthquake Recovery Milestones for 2012

11 February 2012

Key milestones for the Waimakariri District Council’s Earthquake Recovery Programme during 2012 were recently confirmed by the Council’s Earthquake Recovery Committee.

 The overall recovery programme is divided into a number of constituent programmeeleme nts covering:

 • Managing, with the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority (CERA), the transition of red zone areas as settlement of the Government offer proceeds;

 • The permanent repair of damaged infrastructure in confirmed green zone areas;

 • The permanent rebuild and restoration of damaged community facilities and reserves;

 • Progressing implementation of the Kaiapoi Town Centre Plan and continuing business support initiatives;

 • Accelerating new residential development close to Kaiapoi and considering the implications of the earthquakes’ impact on the town’s overall urban form;

 • Continuing to engage with and keep the community informed about earthquake recovery issues and plans, and support households and existing and new   communities through the transition.

We are also focused on identifying and progressing opportunities for legacy and ‘kick start’ projects with and through CERA.

 We will be continuing to represent the District’s interests through the considerable recovery strategy and planning activity by CERA across economic, social, land and infrastructural areas.

 The Earthquake Recovery Programme identifies the major initiatives for the Council in 2012 across all these elements and sets milestones for each, including an estimated time for completion.

Ashley Bridge Proposed for Council Programme

31 January 2012

A new Ashley Bridge at Cones Road, Rangiora, is in the Draft Long Term (10 Year) Plan as a proposal to go to the Canterbury Regional Transport Committee and the NZ Transport Agency for inclusion in their programme for the next three years. 

Approval at that level is necessary for the project to gain Government subsidy. If the bridge includes a separate pedestrian lane, the total cost is likely to be in the area of $10.2m, with a bit over $4m being the Waimakariri District’s share.

If we don’t put an application in this year, we will have to wait another three years.  The bridge has a good chance of making the cut, the main question being its width.

Rangiora Town Hall Proposals Announced

31 January 2012

The Council has announced its proposals for the earthquake-prone Rangiora Town Hall.  They are part of the Long Term (10 Year) Plan due to go out for public consultation and timed for the first year of that Plan, starting in July this year.

The proposal is as I signalled in an earlier post on this blog.  It involves strengthening the existing building to at least 67% of new building standard, part of that being brought about by building a new addition around the west and south of it.  The new addition will include a smaller performance space with a more versatile flat floor. The seating in it will not be fixed. The movie theatre will be brought downstairs and will also be more versatile in that it will be able to be used for other kinds of presentations as well as movies. It is proposed that there will be toilets and dressing rooms (the current dressing rooms are under the stage) for cast and crew, as well as practice rooms for music. There will be storage areas as well.

Part of the proposal is to enlarge the foyer along the front of the Town Hall, incorporating a new front door coming in off High Street. Upstairs, the area where the movie theatre was will be turned into a reception area.  The upper floor will, of course, be serviced by a lift.

It needs to be emphasised that this is not a final decsiion and there are, of course, alternatives.  The Long Term Plan will be out for public feedback soon.

The Town Hall was scheduled for a major revamp in a year’s time, but has been brought forward because of its current closure.

Oxford Town Hall Proposal for Public Consultation

26 January 2012

As part of its Long Term Plan, the Waimakariri District Council is to consult with the wider community on the future of the earthquake-prone Oxford Town Hall.

One idea that will be discussed is whether to build a new one that would include the functions of the Pearson Park Pavilion, also earthquake prone. 

Relocated to the Pearson Park area, it would then be possible to combine the funding that it is proposed to allocate for earthquake-strengthening of both buildings: $2m for the Town Hall and $150,000 for the pavilion.

The Kaiapoi Library and Museum Replacement – what is going out for public consultation?

25 January 2012

The Council is currently going through its Long Term Plan preparation.  We haven’t finished yet, but we have already made some decisions on what we want to consult the public on.

We are proposing a new combined library and museum on the site of the current Kaiapoi library.  We are not proposeing a repair because geotechnical investigation has shown that there has been some liquefaction and lateral spread on the site. A building needs new, deep foundations.

The existing building has become too small and the meeting room upstairs is also of a design and size that made it not as useful as it could have been.  Paradoxically, the kitchen is too big!

The museum will be combined with the library, and an art space, similar in size to that in the Rangiora library, will also be included.

The total cost will be about $8.6m, owhich it is likely that about $2m will be recovered from the current library and the former museum.

A Triple Whammy – or is it a Quadruple?

25 January 2012

When it comes to big community facilities projects, we normally do one at a time – as happened with the Dudley Pool.

This time, the earthquake and the justified heightened sensitivity to earthquake-prone buildings, has left us with three big ones all at once:

  • The Kaiapoi Library/Museum
  • The Rangiora Town Hall
  • The Oxford Town Hall

These are amongst the problems facing the Council for its Long Term (10 Year) Plan.

But wait there’s more …

                … a new bridge over the Ashley north of Rangiora.

What’s Happening About the Kaiapoi Aquatic Centre?

23 January 2012

As we all know, the Kaiapoi Aquatic Centre was badly damaged in the 22 February earthquake.  The September quake damgaed the pool and the surrounds and these had been fixed by December.  The photo shows the pool full of kids on the reopening day. The February quake did major damage to the roof.

It seems that the cost of repairing the roof will be met by insurance.

However, many had complained in the past about the inadequacy of the changing rooms.  The Council would like to redesign these and the entrance area and is seeking funding from an outside earthquake-recovery source to pay for this.

Let’s put the pool back, but make it better!

Options for the Rangiora Town Hall

21 January 2012
The Town Hall in earlier days

On the face of it, there are a number of options before the community when it comes to fixing the earthquake-prone buikding – it is currently assessed at 28% of new building standard.

However, the existing Long Term Plan, consulted on and confirmed in 2009, already projects a major development of the Town Hall.  This includes earthquake-strengthening the existing building, and building around it on the southern and western sides new dressing rooms and toilets for performers and crew, a smaller and more flexible performance space, shifting the movie theatre downstairs and enlarging the foyer.  There would be a new entrance into that foyer off High Street, and there would be a reception area upstairs where the movie theatre now is.  There would also be storage of costumes and props, along with practice rooms for music students and the like.  A lift will need to be installed for disabled access upstairs.
What is wrong with the existing building?
There is only one toilet backstage, and that is on the stage itself!  During performances, cast and crew have to come outside the building and run around the to the front door to use the toilet off the foyer! I think we all know that the foyer is hopelessly small.  In addition, there is a real shortage in the District of middle-sized performance spaces.
Are there alternatives? Well I guess there are, ranging from knocking it down and building nothing to replace it, to knocking it down and building something brand new.  The latter would be the strongest solution from an earthquake-resistance point of view, and while it is probably the most expensive option (if it included the above add-ons), the Council is seeking an update on the likely costs of doing this. 
In addition to this, the Council has been talking to Kaiapoi High School about upgrading their auditorium to provide an improved performance space there.
The pressure has obviously come on because of the closure of the Town Hall and forced the council to consider advancing its plans.
All, however, comes up for discussion as part of the Long Term Plan process.  The Council is about to prepare a draft, which will go out for consultation next month.

Should the Oxford Town Hall be Replaced?

12 January 2012

The Oxford Town Hall will cost a lot to bring it up to an earthquake rating of 67% of new building standard.  It is currently closed because it is rating is about 25%.

Some in the community are saying that it would be better to build a more modern building, possibly somewhere else.

You will be hearing more about this!

Update on Bridges

8 January 2012

I’m often asked about some of our bridges.

Williams Street Bridge, Kaiapoi

This came out of the earthquakes quite well – it’s the approach on the nothern side that is now rubbish, and getting worse. As for the bridge itself, the Kaiapoi Town Centre Plan proposes that parking be removed and the footpaths made wider to allow people to linger and look up and down the river.  There will be seating on it as well.

Ashley River Bridge at Cones Road, Rangiora

The Council is endeavouring to get a replacement put on to the Canterbury Regional Transport Plan and the chances are very good.  It is intended that this will be wide enough for cyclists and pedestrians to cross it in safety.   The total cost is likely to be in the area of $10m, but it will attract a 60% subsidy from the NZ Transport Agency if the project it approved.

Old Waimakariri Cycle & Pedestrian Clipons

Not much joy here, I’m afraid. The bridge is jointly owned by Waimakariri and Christchurch and neither Council is very keen on doing the work without NZTA subsidy.  To get this will require a change in Government policy direction towards pedestrian and cycle facilities.

Waimakariri Gorge Bridge

This bridge, jointly owned by Waimakariri and Selwyn, is to get a new deck very soon.  Both councils have budgeted for it.  The common claim that the two councils have been arguing over it is urban myth.

The Waimakariri Gorge Bridge with a train about to cross it, ca.1921

Valuations and Rates

14 July 2010

This morning’s Press has the headline on the property page “Property Valuations May Decline.” It is referring to a Christchurch revaluation that is occurring this year.  Waimakariri’s next valuation is due in 2011.

Does this mean that rates wil also decline? 

Not necessarily.  If your property’s valuation goes down, the rates will only go down if your decline is greater than the average decline across the District. 

If your valuation decline is less than the average, your rates will actually increase, all other things being equal.

If your valuation goes down at the same rate as the District average, your rates will stay the same – again all other things being equal.

My proviso about all other things being equal relates to the fact that other things can change too, e.g. the mix of uniform charges vs rates in the dollar, what ECan does to their rates, the total amount the District Council decides to take or a change in the basis of rating from land value to capital value.

Attempt to Change Uniform Annual General Charge Fails

14 May 2010

The Council is currently making its decsions on the 2010-2011 Annual Plan and Budget.

It had already received strong submissions from the farming community requesting that the Uniform Annual General Charge (UAGC) be restored from its current $20 to its former $70.  It went down to $20 only last year.

The UAGC is a charge that all properties pay in their rates.  Raising it has the effect of lowering the general rates for high-value properties and raising them for low-value properties.  This sounds like it is unfair on low-value, usuaully urban, properties, but it needs to be remembered that general rates form a much smaller proportion of total rates for urban properties than they do for rural.  A lot of urban rates are for water, sewer, rubbish collection, etc, which rural properties don’t pay (they pay for their own water, etc).

Lowering the UAGC last year meant that many farms had rate rises in the thousands of dollars for no change in service.  Farmers are saying that this is unfair.

Yesterday an attempt to put the uniform charge back to $70 failed by one vote.  Five voted for (Crs Dan Gordon, Kevin Felstead, Peter Farrant, Elaine Cole and myself) and five against.  In the council’s standing orders, a draw means the motion is lost.  The mayor (who opposed) doesn’t have a casting vote.

My personal view is that the rating structure of this district needs a thorough review.  Rates are not a particularly fair way of taxing people, but ours can be more fairly distributed than they are.

More Input from the Public

29 April 2010

The Council concluded its draft Annual Plan hearings this afternoon.

The themes previously mentioned came out again.  Submisisons ranged from a problem drain in Kaiapoi to more general submisions covering a range of matters from the Kaiapoi Community Board, the Woodend-Ashley and Rangiora Ward Advisory Boards and the Pines-Kairaki Association.

We also had a submision from Te Ngai Tuahuriri regarding the new marae buildings they are to construct at Tuahiwi and from the Kaiapoi Rugby Football Club about a new development they have started.

And that wasn’t all.  As always, a great variety!

The People Speak

28 April 2010

For the past day and a half the Council have been listening to submissions on the this year’s Draft Annual Plan – and we have another session tomorrow.

So far the following trends have emerged:

  • Strong farmer opposition to the low Annual Uniform General Charge and to Land Value as a means of assessing rates.  They support a change to Capital Value Rating.
  • Support from a wide range of individuals and groups for retaining the budget provision of $30,000 to support the new Youth Development Strategy.
  • A strong push from Woodend to upgrade the Community Centre and its surrounding reserve – and the public toilets over the road.
  • A loud-and-clear objection from Rangiora Airfield users about a new range of charges – and a similar complaint about new fees at the Kaiapoi Wharf.
  • And, of course, complaints about the 5km-radius targetted rating zone for the Dudley Park Aquatic Centre.

That’s by no means all, but that gives you an idea!

Rates in Woodend – and Oxford and Rangiora

28 February 2010

A friend has sent me an email which said, amongst other things:

I do not agree with you with negative comments about the present Council.  I believe that Woodend rates increase are lower than Rangiora and Oxford, and that is about time. Major spending is/and has taken place in Oxford and Rangiora in comparison with Woodend, and we were faced with large rate rises in Woodend by the last Council for nothing local in return.

 I think that the present Council has done a magnificent job in containing our rates and starting to redress the imbalance between facilities for Woodend and the rest of the District.

I have responded in this way:

The main reason why rates went up steeply in the last council term in Woodend (and in Kaiapoi, Rangiora, Tuahiwi and Waikuku Beach) was that the new Eastern Districts sewer scheme was built and, of course, rates went up as a consequence.  Woodend did get something in return – better sewage treatment and disposal!  One of the features of sewer rates in this District is that they are not rates-in-the-dollar of land value.  They are paid for by uniform charges, which mean that those paying lower rates originally, get larger percentage increases in their total rates when raised charges are imposed.

 The rates in Rangiora and in Oxford are going up further because new water sources have to be paid for.  I support both of these schemes, so I support the consequent rise in rates.  The problem I have with what has happened is that some candidates at the last election promised to keep rates down, then got elected and then tried to stop or considerably delay decent water supplies for Oxford and Rangiora.  Incidentally, much the same group of councillors is resisting adding to the Woodend Community Centre to the extent that the advisory group wants.

What we are getting now is the spin that rates are going up on average 3.5%.  This is true, and rates increases never hit evenly across the District. I just wish the people who are getting substantially higher increases would be told that it is happening and why.

Draft Annual Plan Open for Submission

27 February 2010

The Council’s Draft Annual Plan is open for submissions.  Copies can be obtained from service centres and libraries – and can be found on line at Submissions close on 26 March.

The Annual Plan outlines the Council’s intentions for the coming July-to-June year: what it wants to spend and how it intends to raise the money to pay for it.

In the news media, it has been suggested that if you want more money spent on something you should also indicate where the Council should spend less to compensate.

Don’t believe a word of it!

It’s our job as councillors to work out how to do that, if we need to – not yours.

Council Sets Proposed Rates: “Average Rise of 3.5%” means 0.6% for Kaiapoi and 7.5% for Rangiora

9 February 2010

The Council today put its Annual Plan out for consultation.  Watch the news media for when it is available and when submissions close.

You will be told that there is an average rise of 3.5% and this represents a cut in the rate rise from the 6.2% signalled last year in the Ten Year Long Term Plan.  But hang on, this is the same Council that proposed the 6.2%.

The reason for the rise in some areas’ rates are varied.  In Rangiora’s case, it is mainly the cost of the upgraded water scheme that is the cause of it.  Of course, putting a targeted rate on the 5km zone around Dudley Aquatic Centre hasn’t helped the Rangiora ratepayer one bit.

The water scheme is necessary and what is being done is  the best option.  Who I have issue with are those who campaigned at the last election saying that they were going to make rates “affordable” – even although they were told that the water scheme was essential and that the District needed a new pool.

And for the record, I’m not just drawing attention to Rangiora.  “Average 3.5%” means 9.3% in Oxford, 8.8% in Ashley-Sefton, 5.7% in Fernside, and 10% in Summerhill.  In Oxford and Summerhill, new water schemes are the main reason – also signalled before the last election.

If You are a Farmer, Why Have Your Rates Shot up?

7 August 2009

If you are running a farm – a conventional large farm – you have probably discovered a considerable jump in your rates.

The reason for this is that the Council has dramatically reduced the Uniform Annual General Charge (UAGC).  The result of this action has been to shift the rates burden away from low-land-value properties in the District to those with higher land values.

Part of the reason for this was to lessen the rates burden on small low-value urban properties, which were, in my view, paying disproportionately.

The problem is, however, the Council has not got the mix right.  It needed to reduce the UAGC, sure, but it also needed to move the rating to capital value rating.  This would have had a similar effect to lowering the UAGC, but instead of shifting the rating impact from low-value urban properties to high value rural properties, would have shifted the impact to high value residential properties and to high capital-value rural properties, mainly lifestyle blocks and the new dairy units.

In other words, the Council has got the rating mix wrong.

5km Rating Zone Goes Through

12 June 2009

The Council yesterday confirmed its 10 Year Plan and the rates for the coming year, over the votes of Robbie Brine and me.

So sorry – even if you  live inside the 5km and are further away from Dudley Park than some people who are outside it, you are going to be rated more then others in the District.

And if you will never go for a swim and are inside the 5km radius, but are nevertheles prepared to pay your fair share for the new Aquatic Centre, you are going to be rated more than your fair share.

This is the final word – until next year’s Annual Plan, or until after the next election.

How Canterbury Councils Base Their Rates – Capital-Value or Land-Value

22 May 2009
Capital Value 

Environment Canterbury








Land Value 



Why Does the Old Waimakariri Bridge Keep Getting Closed? – and is there something positive we can take from it?

19 May 2009

The old Waimakariri bridge on the Main North Road is a shared responsibility of the Christchurch City Council and the Waimakariri District Council.

It is currently closing whenever the river is high because of a fear that strong river flows are scouring out under the piles.

In the coming financial year (July 2009 to June 2010), remedial work will be undertaken to fix the problem.

And the bright side?  Because there will have to be a crane in the river, the two councils are taking the opportunity to bring forward a planned pedestrian/cycle clip-on, to be done at the same time as the work on the piles.

The long-requested clip-on is not far away!

The old Waimakariri River road bridge viewed from under the railway bridge

The old Waimakariri River road bridge viewed from under the railway bridge

Funding for Performance Venue(s) Stays In

18 May 2009

The $5m (including $1m public fundraising) for a performance venue or venues has stayed in the Council’s 10-Year Long Term Council Community Plan (LTCCP) for 2013-14.

An additional amount of $50,000 for investigative work in the coming year has been substanially reduced because it was felt by a majority of councillors (and by many submitters) that much of this work has already been done in prevuous investigations.

Rangiora Town Hall

There is a strong expectation within the community that a significant amount needs to be spent on upgrading and enhancing the Rangiora Town Hall.  One of two Town Halls in the District (the other is Oxford’s – see Corners of Waimakariri in the Categories to the right), there is a lot of affection for the old lady and it is without doubt the most important performance venue that we currently have.

She is worth fighting for!

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