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Long-term Plan 2021-31

In 2021, we’ll be working with our community on a long-term plan (LTP) that lays out the plan for investing in our city for the next 10 years, and how it will be funded.

The LTP is an opportunity to think about change and how we can make Tauranga a better place to live.

We want to hear your views on a wide range of important matters that will affect our futures. It’s your chance to tell us about the services and projects that are important to you, and your willingness to pay for them.

This LTP will be crucial because it will determine:

  • How we recover from the COVID-19 recession
  • How we cope with population growth

Bookmark this page – we’ll be updating it regularly in the lead-up to consultation.

LTP

Our city, our LTP
 

Community outcomes are the goals we set for ourselves. They shape the activities we undertake to improve the wellbeing of Tauranga.

We are also guided by a set of five principles.

We refreshed our outcomes in September 2020 to help guide the Long-term Plan 2021-31.

The outcomes listed below were created from community feedback on our projects around the city, and from a public survey. 

We value and protect our environment
  • We value and protect our environment - Tauranga is a city that values our natural environment and outdoor lifestyle, and actively works to protect and enhance it
We have a well planned city
  • We have a well planned city - Tauranga is a city that is well planned with a variety of successful and thriving compact centres and resilient infrastructure
 
We can move around our city easily
  • We can move around our city easily - Tauranga is a well-connected city, easy to move around in and with a range of sustainable transport choices
We support business and education
  • We support business and education - Tauranga is a city that attracts and supports a range of businesses and education opportunities, creating jobs and a skilled workforce
We are inclusive, and value our culture and diversity
  • We are inclusive, and value our culture and diversity - Tauranga is a city that recognises and values culture and diversity, and where people of all ages and backgrounds are included, feel safe, connected and healthy

Principles

  • We deliver value for our communities through prudent financial management, ensuring we plan and provide affordable fit-for-purpose services.
  • Sustainability and resilience underpin our decision making and service delivery, protecting the future of our city
  • We work in partnership with tangata whenua, our communities, sub-regional stakeholders and central government.
  • We manage the balance between social, economic, cultural and environmental wellbeing of our communities.
  • We listen to our communities and make transparent, evidence-based decisions.

Tauranga is New Zealand’s fastest-growing city.

Even during the global downturn in 2008, Tauranga continued to grow. We expect the same to occur during the current recession.

Growth is not something we can stop – our environment, lifestyle, port and weather are a magnet for people and businesses from all over the country.

In general, growth is good. It creates jobs, increases economic activity, expands opportunities, and can help with funding.

However, growth also creates financial challenges and other problems.

We all know our city suffers from traffic jams. Less visible are the pressures on our water and wastewater systems. We also face a land and housing shortage that is making homes more expensive. This is making it harder for people to buy homes and for workers to move here, holding back our economy.

A big slice of our budget is spent on new infrastructure to help manage these problems. We must also renew and maintain the infrastructure we already have. About 65% of our capital budget and 40% of our operating budget is spent on water, wastewater, stormwater and roads.

We also need to invest in projects that will improve our city’s resilience to natural hazards and climate change effects. One result of this combination of rapid growth and under-funding is that Tauranga lacks the ‘soul’ of similar-sized cities.

Our challenges are complex and have been getting worse for a long time. We will need to work with our community and central government to find a solution.

Rapid growth means we need to build infrastructure to support more people – like roads, water pipes and wastewater systems.

As noted by Infrastructure NZ, councils need to spend some $50,000 on infrastructure for every new home that gets built. This is particularly challenging for us, because so many people are moving here and our city is growing so fast.

In the past, we’ve borrowed heavily to fund new infrastructure. While doing this, however, our revenue has lagged behind our expenditure.

The result is that we’ve nearly reached our debt ceiling. This is normally capped at 250% of our revenue*.

In short, we need to increase our revenue.

We can do this by:

  • increasing rates
  • increasing fees and charges
  • increasing the contributions we require from developers
  • working with partners and looking at other revenue opportunities.

It’s hard to make these increases when people in our community are facing COVID-related financial difficulties. But remember – it’s crucial for our city to be able to accommodate the people who continue to move here. Many of these people have skills our local economy needs.

* The Local Government Funding Agency has increased councils’ debt-to-revenue borrowing limit from 250% to 300% for the next two years. This will reduce to 280% by 2026. We resolved to keep our limit at 250% in the 2020-21 annual plan. We will revisit our approach to debt and borrowing in this long-term plan.

Adding to the financial challenge of providing infrastructure for our growing city is the crucial role we must play in supporting our community through a COVID-19 economic slump.

Central government rolled out a massive support package for New Zealand and, as a local government organisation, we have an equally important role to play supporting our local community.

In practice, this means providing critical services while investing in our city’s future in a way that supports our local economy. One of the best ways to do this is to build infrastructure.

When times are tough, it can feel as though some challenges are insurmountable. However, if we all work together, we can make good decisions that allow us to keep investing in the infrastructure our city needs.

After all, most of the money we raise through rates is ultimately returned to our local economy, and the infrastructure we invest in today will contribute to a better city tomorrow.

Key dates

  • Now
    Planning underway
  • Late April
    Commissioners adopt LTP consultation document
  • 7 May - 7 June
    Community consultation
  • Mid - late June
    Hearings and deliberations
  • 30 July
    LTP adopted

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