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EO Report, July

Posted By Jo Pentreath | July 11, 2020

Sailing through the wake of the Covid battleship, HBFA is working alongside other industry organisations on regulatory issues – the recent HBRC draft Annual Plan, the draft Napier City Council District Plan, the proposed TANK Plan change and WCO appeal.

Hawke’s Bay Regional Council Draft Annual Plan

Due to Covid-19 and the drought, HBRC have drafted a climate-smart Annual Plan that responds to the challenges being faced by the communities. The Regional Council anticipates a significant drop in non-rate income in the 2020-2021 financial year due to these events, and that a number of ratepayers will face financial hardship.

Two proposals required feedback:

Rates Approach for 2020-2021

Three options were provided:

A – Status Quo for rates

Immediate Outcome: No relief now, reduces the impact in following years
Action: Proceed with the planned 7.3% rate increase in line with the Council’s 2018-28 Long Term Plan

B – Cushion the impact of COVID-19

Immediate Outcome: Financial relief now, pay back in following years
Action: The Council borrows the increase in funding required for the 2020-21 year, so the rate revenue stays the same as the 2019-20 year. This achieves a 0%  rates revenue increase; or

C – Mid Point rate increase

Immediate Outcome: Some financial cuhsioning but also borrowing to fund the balance
Action: Proceed with a 3.6% rates increase for 2020-21 and borrow the balance of the required funding

HBFA supported Option C as it was felt that this would mitigate a rates increase of 10.7%  in 2021/2022 should Option B, the preferred option by HBRC, be implemented in due course.

Recovery Fund for 2020-2021

HBRC is considering establishing a Recovery Fund of $1 million to give the Council the flexibility to accelerate capital projects to help implement the ‘Climate. Smart. Recovery.’ Plan. The Recovery Fund would be prioritised to leverage co-funding from central government for shovel-ready projects to support the Hawke’s Bay economy.

The Recovery Fund has been reallocated from a budget tagged for additional office space and updated facilities for field staff. New opportunities arising from COVID-19 have enabled the Council to revisit needs for additional office space and delay the timing for this project

Two recovery fund options  were considered:

A – No, do not establish a Recovery Fund of $1 million

This option makes no change to the budget tagged for additional office space and updated facilities for field staff, currently written into the Long Term Plan. As this funding was already included in the Long Term Plan budgets, there is no impact on rates or on debt levels; or

B – Yes, establish a Recovery Fund of $1 million

The government has signalled substantial funding for green recovery projects. By establishing this fund ,HBRC can position themselves favourably to leverage that funding if/when funding applications for ‘shovel-ready’ projects are approved. This option is funded by reallocating money from the budget tagged for additional office space and updated facilities for field staff.

HBFA and HBRC supported Option B.

Napier City Council  District Plan Review

Under the RMA, a District Plan has to be reviewed every ten years. Napier City Council is currently drawing up the draft District Plan which is due to go out for consultation in November this year.

Six key objectives have been identified in the draft plan: Smart Growth, Quality Design, Environmental Excellence, Resilient Napier and Our People, Our Stories.

Pertinent to the horticulture sector is Greenfield Growth in the Hills.  Residential growth in Napier’s western hills will improve Napier’s resilience to natural hazards and retain productive soils for growing food.

Greenfield Growth in the Hills

Napiers population is increasing and the council need to extend existing urban boundaries to accommodate another 2500 houses over the next 10 years. Hills around the Tardale area have been identified as potential sites – namely Taradale hills and Tironui Drive and surrounds. The community will be invited to provide feedback on the potential for development in the hills as part of the draft District Plan engagement process scheduled for November 2020 – February 2021. For more information please visit Napier District Plan Review

Ngaruroro Water Conservation Order Appeal

HortNZ is developing evidence for the Water Conservation Order appeal hearing, which is planned for August/September.  HortNZ will participate in pre-hearing mediation later this month.

Tank Plan Meetings                                          

 Please visit our event calendar for up and coming TANK meetings https://hbfa.co.nz/news-events/

Thursday, 16 July, 3:30pm
Bay View Hotel, 43 Petane Road, Bay View

Growers are invited to attend a meeting at the Bay View Hotel to discuss the proposed plan. Organised by Summerfruit NZ’s vice chairman, Roger Brownlie, this meeting will focus on the Ahuriri Catchment.

Wednesday, 22 July, 7.00pm 
Lantern Gallery, Havelock North Community Centre, 30 Te Mata Road, Havelock North

Growers are invited to attend a meeting at Havelock North Community Centre to discuss the proposed plan. Regional councillor Jerf van Beek will facilitate while HortNZ’s planning consultant, Charlotte Drury, will start the meeting with a brief presentation.

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