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We want to take action now to protect our future – what do you think?

Rex Graham

We’re looking to the future and planning to take action to protect that future through our Long Term Plan 2021-31.

We’re using a new rates calculator so you can see what the proposed rate increase is for your property. The average weekly rates increase proposed in Hawke’s Bay Regional Council’s Long Term Plan is $0.94 cents for residential, $3.60 for commercial and $4.49 for rural ratepayers.

We’re looking at a 19.5% rates increase for next year and I want to explain why.

The community continues to tell us that protecting and restoring the natural environment of our region is an urgent priority, and we are listening. Law changes and increased community expectations – particularly around freshwater reform – demands that we work faster and at greater scale, requiring increased investment. We declared a climate emergency two years ago, and are looking at how we best respond. We’re coming off the back of several decades of under-investment in protecting our environment, and a deferral of last year’s rate increase due to COVID-19. We need more funding to get our work done.

This Long Term Plan is our way forward to respond to all of these pressures. We want to build a future where we have a healthy environment in harmony with a strong economy, and leave a legacy for our grandchildren. What we as a Regional Council have to think about is who pays for this, and how much they have to pay.

At the moment, funding for the Regional Council’s work comes from a mix of sources such as fees and charges for consents, subsidies and grants, investments, borrowing and rates. Rates accounts for 38% of our total income, and investment accounts for 14%. COVID-19 showed us the risk of relying too heavily on investments, and we’re looking in this plan at how we can fund our work with more certainty.

The 19.5% proposed increase in rates is what we need to deliver our ‘must do’ work programme, and our additional proposals which we’ve outlined in our consultation information.

The Regional Council has a strong balance sheet and we propose to use this to address the big environmental issues facing our region now, rather than kicking the can down the road. We need to be courageous and face up to the environmental debt our society has created by investing in the future of our children and grandchildren.

We want you, our community, to consider whether you agree with the actions we’re proposing, and if you can afford to pay for them.

Head to to see our full consultation document, and to check out our rates calculator.

Most importantly – have your say. We want to know what you think. What do you like about the proposals? What do you think is affordable? What do you think we can afford not to do?

Consultation closes on Sunday 2 May, so have your say.

Rex Graham
Regional Council Chair

22 April 2021

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