Central Hawke's Bay District Council's Three Year Plan 2024-27 - Road to Recovery sets out the services and projects Council plans to provide, the community outcomes it will contribute to, and what the costs, required revenue and rates would need to be over the next three years.

Public consultation on the proposed Three Year Plan - Road to Recovery opened on 10 April and closed on 12 May.Those who requested the opportunity to put forward an oral submission will be given the opportunity at the Three Year Plan Hearings to be held at the Council Chambers on Ruataniwha Street in Waipawa from 9am on Wednesday 22 May.

Following from the public hearings, Council will meet to deliberate and consider all submissions received on Thursday 30 May, with a final decision made and the Three Year Plan to be adopted on Thursday 13 June.

Like councils all over New Zealand, we're developing our Three Year Plan and budgets in difficult times with fixed costs such as construction, debt servicing, insurance and audit costs up significantly over the past three years. There is also funding uncertainty following Cyclone Gabrielle, with $129 million of unfunded roading repairs and major investment in wastewater, drinking water and stormwater infrastructure required.

We've already made a number of tough calls to get to this point. We're now seeking your feedback on:

  • Three budget options that explore a lower, central and higher rating requirement; and
  • The investment and service levels we provide across four trade-off areas: land transport, drinking water and wastewater, prioritising stormwater following Cyclone Gabrielle, and other service reductions and efficiencies.

Read more on the options and trade-off areas below.

To learn more about the Three Year Plan:

This plan would normally be for 10 years. However, cyclone-affected councils have been given special legislative relief to instead focus on three years as we deal with uncertainty and recovery following Cyclone Gabrielle.

What are we up against?

Since the 2012-2031 Long Term Plan, we've had costs increase dramatically. These factors are having a major impact on the rating requirements we have. This includes:

  • Cyclone Gabrielle - roading recovery
  • Stormwater recovery
  • Uncertainty in river reviews
  • Changes to Three Waters Reform
  • Cost of delivering services
  • Cost of borrowing
  • Insurance costs

Undoubtedly the most challenging part of this Three Year Plan is rates affordability for our community. We've worked hard to rephase programmes and reduce costs across the organisation, while making allowances for recovery and critical projects. These changes still aren't enough to address the major costs we face.

While there are few options for managing increasing costs, which are due to factors beyond our control, we do have some choices on how to balance getting essential work done with rates affordability for our community. The plan proposes three levels of service and budget options that explore a Lower Option, Central Option and Higher Option, what council services and projects we could deliver within these options and what they cost. We’ve looked at levels of service across four key ‘trade-off’ areas: land transport, drinking water and wastewater, stormwater and efficiencies across other services.

three options

Trade-off areas

Across four areas, we describe what the three budget options will mean for key services and activities.

trade off options

While Cyclone Gabrielle caused major damage to our roads, prior to the cyclone we already had damage from 2022, which was the ‘wettest year on record’.

We’re proposing increases to the Land Transport activity to address the major backlog of maintenance issues.

We’ve got options to reduce or speed up that programme.

Water and Wastewater services are a major driver of costs, with $600 of the total rate increase for urban ratepayers in Year 1 relating to Three Waters.

There are few options to reduce the rating impact of this activity.

In the three budget options, we’ve proposed options to accelerate more investment in critical three waters repairs or make further operational reductions.

Prior to Cyclone Gabrielle, we’d already started to increase investment across our stormwater networks, beginning to fund stormwater activities in some locations for the first time in 2021. We’re proposing a major step change in our investment in urban stormwater, offset by external funding in the first year.

Even in the preferred Central Option, we’ve made significant reductions across services and activities to arrive at a 20.0% budget option. This includes closing transfer stations, reducing library hours and delaying upgrades in our open spaces.

Rates Calculator

To find out how the proposed rates will affect your property visit www.chbdc.govt.nz, search for your property and view the table 'Projected Three Year Plan Rates 2024-2025 (Recommended Central Option).

What we’ve achieved since the last Long Term Plan (2021–2031)

In 2016, Council worked with the community on their goals and aspirations for the district. Together the Project Thrive vision for Central Hawke's Bay was created: 'A proud and prosperous district made up of strong communities and connected people who respect and protect our environment and celebrate our beautiful part of New Zealand.'

Despite the pandemic and Cyclone Gabrielle, we have made steady progress on the key focus areas identified in that vision, and those goals and aspirations continue to drive our investment decisions in our core infrastructure and services.

In 2021, the community told us they wanted to prioritise investment in ageing water infrastructure. Since then, we’ve worked on essential upgrades and renewals across the district to deliver critical investment. A new regulator, Taumata Arowai, introduced new standards that we must meet. We’ve continued to prioritise the most critical water and wastewater projects in this Three Year Plan.

Milestones over the last three years include:

  • 5.9 km of wastewater pipe installed or replaced since 2021.
  • 1,640 properties and 21 km of pipe investigated for wastewater leaks and defects since 2021.
  • Otāne wastewater discharge was removed from the Papanui Catchment in 2022.
  • New Dissolved Air Floatation (DAF) installed for improved Waipawa Wastewater Treatment Plant compliance in 2022.
  • Takapau wastewater treatment site consented in 2022.
  • Rebuilt the Waipawa/Otāne drinking water plant after it was flooded during Cyclone Gabrielle.
  • Opened a new water treatment plant at Kairakau in 2023.

Since 2021 we have been taking a planned, long-term approach to addressing the significant investment required in our stormwater networks. Stormwater networks are the urban drainage networks that service our townships and do not include rural roadside drainage.

Through our recovery community conversations following Cyclone Gabrielle, we clearly heard the need to urgently boost investment in stormwater, rather than taking a longer-term incremental approach. This Three Year Plan proposes to nearly double our investment in Stormwater.

Milestones over the last three years include:

  • Replaced/relined stormwater pipelines in Francis Drake Street and Jellicoe Street to Tavistock Road in Waipukurau.
  • Developed a stormwater model to understand network improvements.
  • Completed the Nelson Street stormwater upgrade in Waipukurau.

Since Cyclone Gabrielle we’ve already completed:

  • 2 km of pipe (5% of the stormwater network) flushed to assess condition and remove blockages.
  • 4 km of stormwater bed excavated (25% of the network).
  • 5 km of vegetation cleared (31% of the network).

Over the past three years, extreme weather and Cyclone Gabrielle have created more than $170 million worth of damage across Central Hawke's Bay's 1,265-kilometre roading network. While Central Government funding has helped, there is still $129 million of unfunded damage remaining. Despite the challenges, we’ve made some big gains on our road to recovery. Milestones over the last two years include:

  • $20.1 million in funding for the Pōrangahau and Wimbledon Roads upgrade.
  • 2,134 km of roads graded to improve driving surface and drainage.
  • 7,748 m3 of metal applied to strengthen roads.
  • 26,920 potholes repaired.
  • 148.5 km of roads resurfaced or resealed.
  • $2 million spent cleaning culverts and drains.
  • 2,000 road signs installed or repaired.
  • 735 m of culverts renewed or enlarged.
  • 4 bridges repaired or strengthened.

National, regional and local context

Councils across the country are currently consulting on 10-year Long Term Plans (2024–2034). However, Government has given special leave to cyclone-affected councils, like Central Hawke's Bay, to produce a Three Year Plan (2024–2027) that focuses on recovery.

Times are tough. The cost-of-living crisis and the impacts of Cyclone Gabrielle have hit households and businesses across the country hard.

The same costs that are impacting households are impacting Council. Since the last Long Term Plan (2021–2031), we’ve faced a pandemic, experienced a devastating cyclone and seen the cost of infrastructure and operation skyrocket: