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Greater Wellington 10-Year Plan & Revenue and Financing Policy consultations

Consultation on our 10-year plan is now closed. Thanks to all those who took the time to tell us what matters to you. Oral hearings are scheduled for 22 - 24 May.

At Greater Wellington Regional Council (Greater Wellington) our vision is of an extraordinary region – thriving connected and resilient.

We’re reviewing our plans for the next 10 years and have identified four key priorities for the region. Freshwater Quality and Biodiversity, Regional Resilience, Water Supply and Public Transport. The work we do to progress these priorities will affect you and your community, so it’s important we understand what you think.

We’re also reviewing our Revenue and Financing Policy to consider the way we fund Public Transport and Flood Protection programmes and consulting on minor changes to our Rates Remission and Postponement Policy.

We want to know what you think about these changes.

Download the 10-Year Plan Consultation Document

Important choices – 10-Year Plan

In particular, there are three issues we want your feedback on – improving the Wairarapa rail service and Capital Connection, investing more in emergency management, and water storage options for the Wairarapa.


Future direction

We’re also letting you know about some big decisions that don’t fit the timeframe of this plan. We want to understand how you feel about our involvement in the Let’s Get Wellington Moving project, our approach to economic development, and our work on a resilient water supply for the region.

What about rates?

Balancing rates and services is always a challenge.

The proposals in our draft 10-Year Plan require an increase in rates of $8 million in 2018/19 and $75 million over the next decade (2018-2028). The average annual rates increase will be 5 percent over the 10 years of the plan.

The proposed average increase in residential rates across our region in the 2018/19 year is $30.89 a year or $2.57 per month.

To calculate your own indicative rates under our proposed 2018/19 rates please visit http://www.gwrc.govt.nz/regional-rates-calculator/

Proposed changes to how we allocate public transport and flood protection rates
We are in a good financial position, but we’ve been looking carefully at how we use rates to fund all of Greater Wellington’s activities. Two of our largest areas of work are public transport and flood protection and we’re proposing a new way of funding them.

The Revenue and Financing Policy consultation is separate from the 10-Year Plan consultation, but they are open at the same time to make it easier for you to share your feedback.

Download the Revenue and Financing Policy Statement of Proposal

Consultation on our 10-year plan is now closed. Thanks to all those who took the time to tell us what matters to you. Oral hearings are scheduled for 22 - 24 May.

At Greater Wellington Regional Council (Greater Wellington) our vision is of an extraordinary region – thriving connected and resilient.

We’re reviewing our plans for the next 10 years and have identified four key priorities for the region. Freshwater Quality and Biodiversity, Regional Resilience, Water Supply and Public Transport. The work we do to progress these priorities will affect you and your community, so it’s important we understand what you think.

We’re also reviewing our Revenue and Financing Policy to consider the way we fund Public Transport and Flood Protection programmes and consulting on minor changes to our Rates Remission and Postponement Policy.

We want to know what you think about these changes.

Download the 10-Year Plan Consultation Document

Important choices – 10-Year Plan

In particular, there are three issues we want your feedback on – improving the Wairarapa rail service and Capital Connection, investing more in emergency management, and water storage options for the Wairarapa.


Future direction

We’re also letting you know about some big decisions that don’t fit the timeframe of this plan. We want to understand how you feel about our involvement in the Let’s Get Wellington Moving project, our approach to economic development, and our work on a resilient water supply for the region.

What about rates?

Balancing rates and services is always a challenge.

The proposals in our draft 10-Year Plan require an increase in rates of $8 million in 2018/19 and $75 million over the next decade (2018-2028). The average annual rates increase will be 5 percent over the 10 years of the plan.

The proposed average increase in residential rates across our region in the 2018/19 year is $30.89 a year or $2.57 per month.

To calculate your own indicative rates under our proposed 2018/19 rates please visit http://www.gwrc.govt.nz/regional-rates-calculator/

Proposed changes to how we allocate public transport and flood protection rates
We are in a good financial position, but we’ve been looking carefully at how we use rates to fund all of Greater Wellington’s activities. Two of our largest areas of work are public transport and flood protection and we’re proposing a new way of funding them.

The Revenue and Financing Policy consultation is separate from the 10-Year Plan consultation, but they are open at the same time to make it easier for you to share your feedback.

Download the Revenue and Financing Policy Statement of Proposal

  • Choice 1: A long-term solution for the Wairarapa Rail Line and Capital Connection

    3 months ago
    Train image

    More people are using the Wairarapa train service and it’s a critical regional link. We know there are concerns about capacity and punctuality. We’re working to address these concerns, but we need a longer-term solution that also considers the growing passenger numbers and wider regional development outcomes.

    Achieving a long-term solution for the Wairarapa train service is not something we can do alone. Improving reliability, punctuality and journey times means not just upgrading the trains themselves, but also the tracks they run on. The tracks and related infrastructure are owned and maintained by KiwiRail. In early 2018...

    More people are using the Wairarapa train service and it’s a critical regional link. We know there are concerns about capacity and punctuality. We’re working to address these concerns, but we need a longer-term solution that also considers the growing passenger numbers and wider regional development outcomes.

    Achieving a long-term solution for the Wairarapa train service is not something we can do alone. Improving reliability, punctuality and journey times means not just upgrading the trains themselves, but also the tracks they run on. The tracks and related infrastructure are owned and maintained by KiwiRail. In early 2018 we submitted a joint business case with KiwiRail asking central government to invest in catch-up renewals for the Wairarapa tracks and wider network infrastructure. This business case is for a total of $97 million and has a healthy benefit cost ratio of 2.7. We’ll know the outcome about mid-2018.

    In addition to the track upgrades, we are investigating whether to replace the ageing trains on the Wairarapa line and the Capital Connection servicing Palmerston North and Ōtaki (currently owned and managed by KiwiRail) at the same time. In the meantime we will maintain and refurbish the current carriages.

    We are at an early stage of this project and expect further work will provide greater clarity on options and costs. We propose to prepare a business case for consideration by the Crown along with our partners including KiwiRail, NZ Transport Agency, the Wairarapa councils and the Horizons Regional Council. Once this has been considered we will have a firmer view on the available funding options. If there are major changes we will consult with the community again.


    Option 1A - our proposal

    We have made an indicative allocation of funds, starting in 2022/23 that will provide for new trains for the Wairarapa line and Capital Connection. A new fleet of modern, lower emission, dual powered (electro-diesel) trains (15 four-car units) that serve both long-distance lines means more flexibility and capacity. It also allows for extra train services on both lines servicing Masterton and Palmerston North. This new fleet would enable four morning and four afternoon services between Masterton and Wellington and two morning and two afternoon services on the Capital Connection line. The train units would have the ability to run on electricity in the metro area and switch to diesel propulsion outside of the electrified network.

    One important advantage of bundling the Wairarapa and Capital Connection trains together is that we achieve significant economies of scale – it’s very difficult and expensive to construct a small number of specialised train units.

    We have assumed that central government will fund 90 percent of the new trains. This is the same proportion as the funding that was allocated for the first fleet of Matangi train units introduced in 2011. However, the funding provided for the purchase of additional Matangi train units was closer to 50 percent. The new Government has announced a review of the Government Policy Statement, which sets out its approach to transport policy and funding, and intends to review rail funding. While there is still uncertainty about this assumption, it is clear the Government intends to give greater priority to public transport, rail in particular.

    While more regional funding may increase certainty, the overall affordability for ratepayers and investment in other priority areas must be balanced. We also have to consider that the Capital Connection train is currently owned and run by KiwiRail.

    We have allowed for $33 million in capital expenditure over two years starting in 2022/23. This equates to 10 percent of the estimated total cost of $330 million (subject to further refinement as we progress the plan). This will be a loan, paid back over 30 years with an annual rates cost of $2.16 million. This is equivalent to an average of $6.40 (incl. GST) per ratepayer per year.


    Option 1B - an alternative using existing train carriages

    An alternative would be to provide no funding for new trains on the Wairarapa rail line or Capital Connection in the short to medium term. This would mean that the existing carriages would continue in service for longer – together with the use of KiwiRail locomotives at a cost of $32 million. We have allowed $17 million for ongoing maintenance and refurbishment of the carriages in our funding (see our Infrastructure Strategy) but there may be additional costs depending on the length of time the existing carriages are in use. Eventually, replacement carriages would still be required – this alternative delays funding for new trains for around seven to 10 years.

    The effect of this alternative would be that levels of service would not be able to be significantly changed – the frequency of services would be similar to that at present. To provide additional capacity, there would be two possible sub-options:
    1. Additional shuttle services between Masterton and Upper Hutt, to connect through to the metro rail services, subject to satisfactory resolution of logistical issues. Funding for this option is $2.8 million annually; or
    2. Purchase and refurbish second-hand carriages from elsewhere in New Zealand. This option is not currently included in our 10 Year Plan but the total cost has been estimated at $113 million. Government co-funding may be available for this option
    Further work is needed to establish likely costs and the potential impact on rates.

    The Capital Connection, which is run by KiwiRail, would continue with the existing carriages and Greater Wellington would likely continue to provide some funding to support this service. Funding would also be required from Horizons Regional Council and KiwiRail – this would require extra funding commitments from both organisations. There could be large costs to refurbish the existing carriages and keep them running – these are owned by KiwiRail and are therefore not included in our 10 Year Plan or Infrastructure Strategy.

  • Choice 2: Improving the capability of the Wellington Regional Emergency Management Office

    3 months ago
    Wremo

    In 2012 the Wellington Regional Emergency Management Office (WREMO) was created to ensure that all councils in the region were better connected and able to share resources in the event of an emergency. WREMO’s role was stated as: To deliver the plans, programmes and systems to enable local authorities to deliver readiness and response services to the community. All councils in the region agreed to fund WREMO. Greater Wellington has the role of administering WREMO and all staff are employees of Greater Wellington.

    After the Kaikōura earthquake in late 2016, WREMO was asked to deliver a “step change...

    In 2012 the Wellington Regional Emergency Management Office (WREMO) was created to ensure that all councils in the region were better connected and able to share resources in the event of an emergency. WREMO’s role was stated as: To deliver the plans, programmes and systems to enable local authorities to deliver readiness and response services to the community. All councils in the region agreed to fund WREMO. Greater Wellington has the role of administering WREMO and all staff are employees of Greater Wellington.

    After the Kaikōura earthquake in late 2016, WREMO was asked to deliver a “step change in vision and strategy” for the region’s emergency management approach. WREMO carried out a review and identified a number of improvements that could be made, particularly in the areas of risk reduction and recovery. Also noted was the need to be better prepared to respond effectively to large-scale events.

    Chief executives of the region’s nine councils met to discuss the findings of the review and the preferred way forward. The following role for WREMO was agreed upon:

    • Lead and coordinate the effective delivery of Civil Defence and Emergency Management (CDEM) actions across the 4Rs (reduction, readiness, response and recovery) for the Wellington region
    • Integrate national and local CDEM planning and activity through the alignment of local planning with the national strategy and national plan
    • Co-ordinate planning, programmes and activities related to CDEM across the 4Rs and encourage cooperation and joint action

    Option 2A – our proposal

    Provide WREMO with additional regional funding so they can build their capability around coordinating efforts to improve regional resilience. Regional resilience is the ability of the region to resist, absorb, accommodate to and recover from the effects of a hazard in a timely and efficient manner, including through the preservation and restoration of its essential basic structures and functions.

    We have allowed for an increase of $297,000 starting in the 2018/19 year. This would bring our share of the funding to $1.19 million or 33 percent (total funding for WREMO is $3.66 million).

    Extra funding, along with a smaller (11 percent) increase from the local councils, would provide WREMO with more resources for coordinating and leading recovery, coordinating with the Lifelines group of utility owners and operators, communicating with businesses and the wider community, and improving emergency management training. WREMO would be able to start implementing the changes during 2018/19. This increase equates to less than $1 (incl. GST) per ratepayer per year.

    We are interested in your views both on the proposed outcomes and the balance of funding between councils.


    Option 2B – the alternative

    An alternative would be to provide WREMO with a reduced amount of additional funding: $155,000 in the 2018/19 year (a 2 percent increase for inflation and a 15 percent increase in funding). This equates to less than $1 (incl. GST) per ratepayer per year. This 17 percent increase would be shared equally across the councils, retaining the current funding shares between the councils.

    While this option would reduce the total funding increase from Greater Wellington to WREMO, the commensurate increase in funding required by the other councils (from 11 percent to 17 percent) is likely to exceed their available funding and delay improvements to capability. The region would be less prepared to manage a major event and its aftermath, and councils are keen to avoid delays.




  • Choice 3: Continuing to lead the investigation of water storage options in Wairarapa

    3 months ago
    Final apple image

    Greater Wellington and our partners are exploring options to give greater certainty of water supply to Wairarapa. This programme is called Water Wairarapa. Greater Wellington has led and funded this initiative with assistance from Crown Irrigation Investments Limited (funding to date has been split approximately 50/50). The project started in 2012.

    A completed scheme could comprise multiple water storage locations and a distribution network via rivers and piping. It could service each of the towns’ future drinking water needs, provide irrigation support to around 8,000 hectares of productive land (as an initial stage) and could be used to bolster minimum...

    Greater Wellington and our partners are exploring options to give greater certainty of water supply to Wairarapa. This programme is called Water Wairarapa. Greater Wellington has led and funded this initiative with assistance from Crown Irrigation Investments Limited (funding to date has been split approximately 50/50). The project started in 2012.

    A completed scheme could comprise multiple water storage locations and a distribution network via rivers and piping. It could service each of the towns’ future drinking water needs, provide irrigation support to around 8,000 hectares of productive land (as an initial stage) and could be used to bolster minimum flows, protecting water quality where it is most threatened. Discussions with local iwi, businesses and other interested groups have been ongoing. Upon completion of the feasibility study, a commercial entity could be formed to raise the capital to develop and construct the scheme.

    Earlier this year Greater Wellington commissioned a detailed report from NIWA which predicted increasingly severe water shortages in the Wairarapa due to future climate change effects. This will impact water quality and availability in the area.

    We have invested a lot of time and funding into this project. We have identified potential sites for water storage, looked at environmental factors such as climate change and assessed land use change that could occur if there was secure water supply. We have also worked with the community to assess where there might be demand for stored water, in both urban and rural locations.

    If we are to continue our involvement in this project we need to know the community’s view. There is clearly a need for better water security and availability in Wairarapa – the question is, is leading this a role for Greater Wellington?


    Option 3A – our proposal

    We’ve provided for additional funding ($200,000 for one year in 2018/19) to continue managing the programme and complete investigations. This is in addition to the existing commitment we have to servicing the debt we incurred to complete earlier stages of the programme, which has costs of approximately $225,000 a year for the 10 years of the plan. The funding for this programme is debt-funded and has a minimal rating impact. The additional funding for investigations is contingent on substantive funding from our partners – primarily the local Wairarapa councils and the Crown, as to succeed this project requires commitment from a range of other organisations.

    This investment will enable us to continue working with our partners to establish a management structure for the implementation stages and to complete investigations and feasibility for water storage options. At that stage we can consider whether the project stacks up and how it might be implemented.


    Option 3B – the alternative

    As an alternative, Greater Wellington could withdraw its programme funding now. This would reduce our funding to the amount required to service the existing debt (approximately $225,000 a year) for the 10 years of the plan. This programme is debt funded and has a minimal rating impact.

    The effect of withdrawing ongoing funding is likely to mean that the project stalls, but other organisations (such as water users and the Wairarapa councils) might decide to provide ongoing funding and leadership. As such there is a reasonable risk that the investment that Greater Wellington has already made in the project to identify water storage options and investigate feasibility might not be fully utilised.





  • Future Decisions - Let's Get Wellington Moving, Economic Development & building resilience in our water supply

    3 months ago
    Getting welly moving

    We think it’s important to highlight some upcoming projects even though we are not yet in a position to seek feedback on specific choices. Many of our programmes involve key partners and have timeframes that are agreed collectively – sometimes these don’t match the three-yearly review timelines of our long-term planning programme. Some of these are covered below.

    The first of these is the Let’s Get Wellington Moving programme:

    Let's Get Wellington Moving

    We are working alongside the NZ Transport Agency and the Wellington City Council on the Let’s Get Wellington Moving programme, an ambitious plan...

    We think it’s important to highlight some upcoming projects even though we are not yet in a position to seek feedback on specific choices. Many of our programmes involve key partners and have timeframes that are agreed collectively – sometimes these don’t match the three-yearly review timelines of our long-term planning programme. Some of these are covered below.

    The first of these is the Let’s Get Wellington Moving programme:

    Let's Get Wellington Moving

    We are working alongside the NZ Transport Agency and the Wellington City Council on the Let’s Get Wellington Moving programme, an ambitious plan to transform the city’s transport system and build the sort of city we all want to live and work in.

    While we don’t yet know the preferred option, we are aware it will impact on our transport planning and funding. It’s important you know that we have made provision for these changes. We have made an allowance for a $67 million contribution towards a new mass transit system beginning from 2021 through to 2026. This will pay our share of the cost of new infrastructure to support mass transit. Funding has also been set aside by both the Wellington City Council and NZ Transport Agency.

    We don’t know the final preferred option, so we have worked with our partners to identify an initial funding allocation. This is based on an estimate of the average costs for implementing the scenarios recently the subject of public consultation through the Let’s Get Wellington Moving programme. Once we know the preferred option, we will consult on the options and any changes to cost. We expect this to be during 2018/19.

    Our funding commitment shows our intent to progress with this important project.

    The second area we want to highlight relates to economic development projects and programmes:

    Our approach to regional economic development

    A key issue for Greater Wellington is ensuring that we get the maximum value from our investment in economic development programmes.

    One of Greater Wellington’s key programmes is the Wellington Regional Strategy, developed in partnership with city and district councils, and implemented by the Wellington Regional Strategy Office and the Wellington Regional Economic Development Agency (WREDA). Our WREDA funding (about $4.2 million a year in this 10-Year Plan) is for regional growth and developing partnerships with other organisations to pursue economic development opportunities. WREDA’s core role is understanding the region and delivering investment, skills retention and development and growth in targeted sectors – outcomes set by the Wellington Regional Strategy.

    Over the next year we intend to review how we invest in regional economic development to achieve the best outcomes for the region.

    There are options to consider, for example, we could change the focus of the activities undertaken by WREDA towards specific outcomes. We could change the delivery model to focus on delivering economic development at a local level. Another option might be for Greater Wellington to focus on its core role in providing regional infrastructure. There may be other options that we identify.

    We are currently preparing a Regional Investment Plan in partnership with the region’s city and district councils and central government agencies, and will develop an action plan to focus on public investment in the region.


    Lastly, we would like to highlight the future decisions on water supply:

    Cross-harbour pipeline

    In our previous 10-Year Plan, we consulted on the proposed construction of the cross-harbour pipeline – an option for securing a water source for Wellington city in the event of an earthquake. Our current plan continues to provide for this, at an estimated cost of $116 million (up from $101 million in the last 10-Year Plan). Since then, we have identified that harbour bores, which connect directly to freshwater sources, might be a more cost-effective solution. The harbour bores would cost an estimated $60-70 million. We are currently investigating and expect to make a decision about a preferred option in the coming months. Depending on the decision we might need to amend our plan.

    Planning for a new water source

    The projected population growth across our region will result in increased demands on water supply. We have made provision in our Infrastructure Strategy to develop an alternative water source from 2032/33 to meet future demands. While this does not fall within this 10-Year Plan, the investment proposed is significant. The cost is estimated to be around $320 million.

    We will look at other options that could delay the need to invest in expensive new infrastructure. These might include mechanisms to promote water conservation such as water metering. Any decision would require extensive consultation with the four city councils and wider community.


  • Revenue & Financing Policy - funding public transport and flood protection

    3 months ago
    Train crowd banner for have your say


    Greater Wellington Regional Council (Greater Wellington) proposes changing the way we use rates to fund public transport and flood protection.

    What is the Revenue and Financing Policy?

    The policy sets out how we fund all our activities, including the different methods of funding we’ll use, such as general rates, targeted rates, fees and charges.

    The policy isn’t about how much we intend to spend, but about how we intend to spread the costs of services across the region and among different groups of ratepayers. The policy is reviewed every three years, generally at the same time as the 10-Year Plan.


    Greater Wellington Regional Council (Greater Wellington) proposes changing the way we use rates to fund public transport and flood protection.

    What is the Revenue and Financing Policy?

    The policy sets out how we fund all our activities, including the different methods of funding we’ll use, such as general rates, targeted rates, fees and charges.

    The policy isn’t about how much we intend to spend, but about how we intend to spread the costs of services across the region and among different groups of ratepayers. The policy is reviewed every three years, generally at the same time as the 10-Year Plan.

    Why the proposed change?

    With changes to public transport across the region, and Greater Wellington introducing a new Public Transport Operating Model, we need to change how we fund public transport.

    We’ve used this opportunity to analyse how we fund all of Greater Wellington’s activities – the most comprehensive review we’ve undertaken on this policy in 20 years.

    How we use rates to fund two of the largest areas of work for Greater Wellington (public transport and flood protection) could be more equitable across the region.

    While how we fund public transport must change, we’re proposing a similar approach to how we fund flood protection work.


    What is proposed for Public Transport?


    Greater Wellington operates the Metlink network (buses, ferries and trains) and is making wide-spread improvements to the region’s public transport system.

    We’re proposing to spread public transport rates more evenly across the region. Everyone will pay the same basic public transport rate, then a weighting – called a rating differential – will be used to reflect the benefits each group of ratepayers gets from the public transport network.

    Under the proposed policy, most residential ratepayers would pay the same rate for public transport. The owner of a residential property in Wellington city would contribute the same amount towards public transport as the owner of a residential property of the same value in Upper Hutt or Porirua. The public transport network is less comprehensive in the Wairarapa, so residential ratepayers in this area would pay a lower rate.

    The proposed changes to public transport would mean residents in the Hutt Valley, South Wairarapa and Porirua pay a little less towards public transport than they do now, while residents in Wellington city, Kāpiti and Masterton pay a bit more, and there is very little change for residents of Carterton.




    What is proposed for flood protection?

    Greater Wellington invests a large amount in flood protection throughout the region. Our programme includes stopbanks on our main rivers, and barrage gates at Lake Wairarapa. Approximately 90 percent of our flood protection work takes place in three areas – the Hutt Valley, Wairarapa and Kāpiti. We estimate flood protection work will cost more than $200 million in the next 10 years.

    Greater Wellington proposes to change the way we fund flood protection through rates to reflect the benefits each group of ratepayers get from this work. Our proposal is that 70 percent of the cost of flood protection work is funded by a targeted rate on properties in the area where work is taking place. The remaining 30 percent will be funded by a targeted rate on all properties in the region. We all benefit from flood protection work, but the properties in the areas affected benefit the most.

    Current drainage schemes in some areas will remain unchanged, but river and catchment scheme rates in some parts of Wairarapa will be renamed to avoid confusion.

    The proposed approach would see residents in Kāpiti, Wairarapa and the Hutt Valley pay more for flood protection, while residents of Wellington city and Porirua would pay less. It is more in line with the way other regional councils in New Zealand fund flood protection work.

    The other option is that Greater Wellington continues to fund flood protection as it has until now – with around 50-60 percent of the funding from general rates, and around 40-50 percent from a targeted rate on properties in the area where the work takes place.

    Flood protection spending compared to flood protection funding 2018/19



    What is the impact on my area from both of these changes?

    Our proposed approach to both flood protection and public transport would mean rates reduce in some areas and increase in others. To find out more about the rates changes proposed in your area, see page 25 of the consultation document for the Long Term Plan 2018-28.

    When will proposed changes take place?
    The impact of the proposed changes varies according to area, so the policy recommends phasing changes in over three years from 1 July 2018. The new rating system would be fully implemented from 1 July 2021.



  • Proposed Rates - Balancing affordability and service

    3 months ago
    Rates graph
    We invest prudently to deliver real value to everyone in the region. We have a sound track record in financial management, with an AA credit rating from Standard and Poor’s.

    A key priority is to keep rates as fair and affordable as possible, while delivering the level of service our region needs. You have told us over many years what’s important to you and that you want us to deal with the key issues. We have prioritised, looked at ways to keep the rates down, and scheduled programmes of work in the coming years to reflect this.

    The proposals in...

    We invest prudently to deliver real value to everyone in the region. We have a sound track record in financial management, with an AA credit rating from Standard and Poor’s.

    A key priority is to keep rates as fair and affordable as possible, while delivering the level of service our region needs. You have told us over many years what’s important to you and that you want us to deal with the key issues. We have prioritised, looked at ways to keep the rates down, and scheduled programmes of work in the coming years to reflect this.

    The proposals in this draft 10-Year Plan require an increase in rates of $8 million in 2018/19 and $75 million over the 10 years of the plan. This equates to an average rates increase of 6.7 percent for the 2018/19 year. In the next three years the average rates increase will be 6.3 percent and over the 10 years of the plan the average annual rates increase will be 5 percent. The increases may be lessened by our growing rating base, as population growth is at historically high levels.

    The proposed average increase in residential rates across our region in the 2018/19 year is $30.89 (GST inclusive), or $2.57 a month.

    To calculate your own indicative rates under our proposed 2018/19 rates please visit http://www.gwrc.govt.nz/regional-rates-calculator/

    The key drivers of this increase are shown in the diagram below. Many of our increased costs relate to ongoing programmes and the increased cost of doing business, rather than new initiatives. This includes our key programmes, ongoing public transport transformation programme, our flood protection programmes and our freshwater and biodiversity programmes. We are also facing increased costs
    resulting from the aftermath of the Kaikōura earthquake – including more expensive insurance and rent.

    In 2018/19 we are introducing a range of fare discounts for public transport users including students, children, people with disabilities and off-peak travel. We consulted with you on these last year and there was overwhelming support for the discounts.

    We are also investing in improvements to our core systems and capability, to ensure we are able to keep up with technology change and provide efficient services.

    There are also some good news stories, with significant savings from the increased fare revenue we will receive as a result of more people using public transport, as well as from reduced costs for the new operator contracts we have negotiated for the bus network.

    The region has also paid the final instalment for the debt we incurred with the construction of Westpac Stadium, which first opened in the year 2000.

    The following diagram shows the key drivers of change (both ups and downs) underpinning the first year of the 10-Year Plan.

    The proposed changes to rates for average value residential, business and rural properties are outlined in the rates, including the proposed changes under the Revenue and Finance Policy consultation are:

    Impact of the proposed changes to the Revenue and Financing Policy in 2018/19 (please note these are averages for residential properties only)

    Water Levy

    Greater Wellington charges a water levy to the four city councils (Wellington, Hutt, Upper Hutt and Porirua) for the delivery of bulk water. This is on-charged to ratepayers through city council rates.

    We plan to increase the water levy by 7.1 percent ($2.2 million) in 2018/19, with an annual average increase of 4.6 percent across the 10 years of the plan. The increase in 2018/19 is driven by additional investment and ongoing costs required for water treatment at our Waterloo plant to resolve potential water quality issues following the November 2016 earthquake. Beyond 2018/19, the levy increases are due to
    increased investment in water supply resilience, principally the cross-harbour pipeline detailed in our Infrastructure Strategy.

    For more details on rates download the 10-Year Plan consultation document.




  • Public Transport - meeting customers’ expectations for the Metlink network and services

    3 months ago
    Train station large

    The Wellington Region has a high-quality, well-used public transport network (the Metlink network). Per capita, we have the country’s highest number of public transport users. Our buses, trains and harbour ferries play an important role in helping people get to work and to play, and contribute significantly to the region’s liveability and economic productivity.

    Delivering on our vision of a world-class public transport system is a big focus for Greater Wellington. We have a long-term commitment to improving public transport services in the region and it will take time and money to make changes. We’ve already seen the benefits...

    The Wellington Region has a high-quality, well-used public transport network (the Metlink network). Per capita, we have the country’s highest number of public transport users. Our buses, trains and harbour ferries play an important role in helping people get to work and to play, and contribute significantly to the region’s liveability and economic productivity.

    Delivering on our vision of a world-class public transport system is a big focus for Greater Wellington. We have a long-term commitment to improving public transport services in the region and it will take time and money to make changes. We’ve already seen the benefits of the substantial investment we’ve made in the Matangi trains. We’re now delivering a similar step change to the bus network. In mid-2018 we will be launching a new bus network in Wellington, and new bus operators will be working under new contracts throughout the region.

    We understand that expectations of the services we deliver are evolving. It is clear from customer feedback that you want us to invest in reducing emissions and providing seamless connections. The introduction of new buses in 2018 will reduce congestion and harmful emissions. A more modern fleet, alongside our commitment to a higher level of customer service, will bring us closer to meeting our goal of providing the region with a modern, world-class public transport network. We will be introducing a single ticket system for the bus network and are on the way to a system which means you can travel on a bus, train and ferry using one ticket. This is all part of our Public Transport Transformation Programme.

    Our focus over the next 10 years is:

    1. Continually improving levels of service for customers
    2. Unlocking capacity to cater for ongoing and expected high levels of population and economic growth
    3. Improving the resilience of the network as a whole

    A single ticketing system

    The extension of Snapper in July 2018 across the entire bus fleet will mark a significant improvement for ticketing on bus services. The extension of Snapper is an interim solution and is a prelude to a single ticketing system for travel on all public transport in the region, whether by bus, train or ferry. Greater Wellington is working closely with the NZ Transport Agency and other regions as part of a national approach to integrated ticketing. To prepare for this, a new Metlink fare schedule will come into effect in July 2018. The new fares have been simplified and applied consistently across the network.

    Transforming your bus experience

    The Wellington city bus network service is stretched, and future demands and expectations will make this worse. The new bus network means that more people will live closer to high frequency routes, providing greater coverage with more options to travel by bus, and increased capacity and frequency. In preparation for the new bus network we are developing transfer hubs and shelters, and more extensive public transport information, including Real Time Information and wayfinding. While the new bus network will significantly improve the overall bus service levels, it will not meet all current and future patronage demands or customer expectations. Capacity and frequency of service levels could be enhanced to attract patronage and better cope with urban population and economic growth. As a result, the 10-Year Plan includes funding for additional service enhancements for greater coverage, capacity, shoulder peak service and frequency. We’ve allocated $600,000 for these improvements in 2018/19, as well as ongoing funding throughout the 10 years of the plan.

    Overall for this area, the level of service is proposed to increase over the 10 years of the plan.


  • Regional Resilience - being prepared to cope with emergencies

    3 months ago
    Flood

    We have an important role to play readying our region for adverse events. This means providing support to you and your family, protecting core infrastructure such as water supply and public transport from the effects of emergency events, and making sure we’re in a position to recover.

    We need to be confident we have the right systems and structures in place given the increased frequency and severity of events.

    We administer and resource the Wellington Regional Emergency Management Office (WREMO), which is jointly funded by all councils within the region. WREMO plays a leadership role in regional resilience.


    We...

    We have an important role to play readying our region for adverse events. This means providing support to you and your family, protecting core infrastructure such as water supply and public transport from the effects of emergency events, and making sure we’re in a position to recover.

    We need to be confident we have the right systems and structures in place given the increased frequency and severity of events.

    We administer and resource the Wellington Regional Emergency Management Office (WREMO), which is jointly funded by all councils within the region. WREMO plays a leadership role in regional resilience.


    We invest a large amount in providing critical flood protection infrastructure, including stopbanks on our main arterial rivers and barrage gates at Lake Wairarapa. Our plan allows for continued maintenance to make sure this infrastructure is maintained and improved.

    Before we invest in flood protection infrastructure, we work with the community to develop flood management plans. This helps us understand risks in your area and consider how they should be managed. We are continuing to develop two floodplain management plans in the Wairarapa – for the Waiohine River including Greytown and the surrounding area, and for the Te Kāura Upper Ruamāhanga area. Over the next 10 years we will continue to implement floodplain management plans that have been approved in the Hutt, Wellington and Kāpiti areas.

    RiverLink – a key flood management programme

    A key project for Greater Wellington is RiverLink. This is a joint project with the Hutt City Council and the New Zealand Transport Agency to protect the Hutt CBD, and areas downstream, from the effects of a major flood. The plan includes widening the river and constructing larger stopbanks, contributing to the regeneration of the city centre, and improving transport options that connect central Lower Hutt to State Highway 2.

    RiverLink will deliver the levels of service agreed and consulted on as part of the floodplain management plan some years ago and confirmed through the Hutt Valley Flood Management Subcommittee. More recent consultation on the scoping of the RiverLink project showed a high level of support (85 percent of the community) to proceed with the work as quickly as possible.

    No major changes are proposed for this programme, but the overall costs have changed. More money is needed to buy additional property for the river widening scheme because of the buoyant property market. The total cost of RiverLink to Greater Wellington is now $125 million (up from $94 million), which will be funded through a loan. The loan will be repaid through rates and rental money collected from property acquired for the project. Surplus land will be sold at the end of the construction.

    The timing and overall affordability of this project will be further considered through the Hutt Valley Flood Management Subcommittee and any changes would be the subject of further consultation.

    Improving the resilience of Wellington’s lifeline services

    The Lifelines project is an initiative designed to improve the resilience of our region’s utility networks (electricity supply, communication networks, transport and water supply) against natural hazards. This is a joint project between central government agencies, local government and utility providers. An initial business case is being prepared for completion in 2018. We have anticipated that follow-on work will be required and we have made an allowance for a contribution of $400,000 over two years – 2018/19 to 2019/20.

    Overall for this area the level of service is proposed to increase over the 10 years of the plan.



  • Water Supply - supplying safe drinking water to the region

    3 months ago
    Watersupply


    We own around $406 million worth of water supply assets, and provide wholesale drinking water to the four city councils in our region (Upper Hutt, Porirua, Hutt City and Wellington). This is managed on our behalf by Wellington Water.

    We are also responsible for the treatment of the water supplied for distribution. Safe drinking water is vital, and we work with other councils and our communities to ensure that in the event of an emergency, people in our region have access to clean, drinkable water as quickly as possible.

    Key issues for us are making sure we can restore water...


    We own around $406 million worth of water supply assets, and provide wholesale drinking water to the four city councils in our region (Upper Hutt, Porirua, Hutt City and Wellington). This is managed on our behalf by Wellington Water.

    We are also responsible for the treatment of the water supplied for distribution. Safe drinking water is vital, and we work with other councils and our communities to ensure that in the event of an emergency, people in our region have access to clean, drinkable water as quickly as possible.

    Key issues for us are making sure we can restore water supply quickly following an emergency and that water is safe to drink. The Kaikōura earthquake and water quality issues in Havelock North recently highlight the importance of these responsibilities.

    Our key programmes of work are outlined below. These were all included in our previous 10-Year Plan. We will need to make decisions regarding additional water sources and a more secure supply for Wellington in the future. These decisions are explained in Future Decisions on page 15.

    Ngauranga Reservoir seismic strengthening

    This work will make the Ngauranga Reservoir, in Khandallah, more able to withstand earthquakes. We anticipate this will cost approximately $3.8 million and be undertaken in the 2018/19 year.

    Prince of Wales/Omaroro Reservoir

    The Prince of Wales/Omāroro Reservoir will provide potable water to approximately 70,000 residents and commercial businesses, and the Wellington Regional Hospital. The reservoir will provide water supply after a major event and extra capacity to cope with population and business growth. It will be funded primarily by the Wellington City Council, but Greater Wellington will contribute $5.6 million to the work starting in the 2021/22 year.

    Replace Kaitoke water main on Silverstream Bridge

    We’re strengthening the water main from Te Marua to reduce the impact of an earthquake on the water supply to Porirua. The cost of this work is approximately $19 million and is scheduled to begin in the 2018/19 year.

    This work impacts the water levy we charge to the four cities in our region. The water levy is on-charged through city council rates.

    Overall for this area the level of service is proposed to be improved over the 10 years of the plan.


  • Freshwater Quality and biodiversity - managing our water quality and natural environment

    3 months ago
    Water collection 1

    Maintaining and protecting the quality of our freshwater and our biodiversity is critical for making sure the region has a sustainable future. We work hard so our shared backyard is protected and thriving.

    We monitor the quality and quantity of the region’s freshwater, air and soil. We all have a responsibility for the state of our environment and our waterways, whether we live in cities or rural areas. Our activities impact on water quality. Sometimes excess nutrients and contaminants enter our water through pipes, run-off, and stormwater networks.

    We are working closely with the Ministry for the Environment which sets...

    Maintaining and protecting the quality of our freshwater and our biodiversity is critical for making sure the region has a sustainable future. We work hard so our shared backyard is protected and thriving.

    We monitor the quality and quantity of the region’s freshwater, air and soil. We all have a responsibility for the state of our environment and our waterways, whether we live in cities or rural areas. Our activities impact on water quality. Sometimes excess nutrients and contaminants enter our water through pipes, run-off, and stormwater networks.

    We are working closely with the Ministry for the Environment which sets the framework for what we should achieve in the National Policy Statement for Freshwater Management. One important goal is having waterways that are safe to swim in – the national target is for 90 percent of rivers to be safe to swim by 2040.

    While we take a lead role in managing our natural environment and our waterways, we also help communities contribute to the projects we deliver. Collectively, we can protect our most precious resources. Everyone has a part to play, so we’ll be focusing on education and community involvement as we look to the future.

    We continue to place a strong emphasis on working with our mana whenua partners and communities to set appropriate limits and find ways of improving shared outcomes.

    Whaitua committees and catchment communities

    We have two established Whaitua committees (Ruamāhanga Whaitua Committee and Te Awarua-o-Porirua Whaitua Committee) who are assisting with the development of limits for water quality and quantity in the Ruamāhanga and Porirua catchments. Whaitua committees are groups of local people who recommend ways to maintain and improve the quality of our freshwater. Committees are formed from within the community they serve, and consult with their people about the issues related to water quality in that area.

    We also have a number of catchment communities in Wairarapa that we will be working with to implement the proposed Natural Resources Plan. This initiative encourages behavioural change for better land and water management.

    Regional pest and predator control

    Greater Wellington is actively involved in the eradication of pests in the Wellington Region. We work to reduce the impact of pest animals and plants on native species, recreational areas, homes and farmland. Our Pest Management Strategy 2002-2022 (currently being reviewed) outlines a range of programmes to manage pests in the region. We are working with Wellington City Council and the NEXT Foundation on the Predator Free Wellington project.

    Managing sites of significance through the Key Native Ecosystem programme

    Greater Wellington’s Key Native Ecosystem (KNE) programme aims to protect some of the region’s best examples of original (pre-human) ecosystems by managing, reducing or removing threats to their ecological values. Sites with the highest biodiversity values are selected for management under the programme. There are 58 KNE sites in the programme. Within these sites we are able to give our native species the best chance to thrive and survive for future generations.

    Maintaining healthy waterways

    The riparian planting programme helps landowners to improve water quality and biodiversity with streamside fencing and planting. This reduces the amount of sediment and nutrients entering the waterways through erosion and intensive farming systems. It also keeps stock out of the region’s water bodies (rivers, streams and wetlands).

    Overall for this area, the level of service is proposed to increase over the 10 years of the plan.