Council launches consultation on Annual Plan
Published on 31 March 2023
Far North residents are being asked to have their say on two council proposals included in the draft Annual Plan for 2023/24, each of which has the potential to impact rates.
One proposal would see the council take over ownership of Kerikeri’s Turner Centre building, while the other is a rating policy change that aims to better enable housing development on Māori Freehold Land.
Because of the potential rating impact, residents are being asked to provide feedback on the proposals before the Annual Plan comes up for adoption by council in June 2023.
Kahika Moko Tepania says that if adopted, both proposals would provide long term benefits to the district. The proposed rates remission policy will allow Māori Freehold Landowners to apply for reduced rates for a set period if they intend developing their land to provide housing.
“Legislation already requires the council to enable housing development on Māori Freehold Land through the suspension of rate payments, but it is up to the council to decide what criteria landowners must meet to benefit from this offer. Our proposal sets out clear rules on what landowners must do to be eligible for rates remission and for how long that remission will last.”
He says the council is seeking public feedback on whether the proposed conditions are suitable or if amendments are required.
The council is also proposing to take over ownership of the Turner Centre building in Kerikeri. Kahika Tepania says that without a change to how the Turner Centre operates, the district risks losing it as a venue. “If adopted, the proposal would see ownership of the building transferred to the council at zero-cost. The council would then be responsible for operational costs, like power and insurance. The charitable trust that currently operates the centre, The Centre at Kerikeri Limited, can then focus on what it does best – delivering arts programming to our district.”
The draft Annual Plan includes a total rate increase of 8.63 per cent for the 2023/24 financial year. This increase primarily reflects much higher levels of inflation – the highest experienced in Aotearoa in over 30 years. In response, the council has reassessed spending line by line in an effort to keep the total rates increase to a minimum while continuing to deliver core services to residents.
Consultation on proposals to take over ownership of the Turner Centre building and on rates remission for Māori Freehold Land both close on 24 April. Verbal submissions will be held for those who want to present their submissions in person on 17 May. Councillors will deliberate on the two proposals being consulted upon and the total rate increase ahead of the draft Annual Plan being adopted on 22 June 2023.
For more information and to have your say head to www.fndc.govt.nz/annualplan.