Message from Mayor Lyn Patterson
Kia ora Masterton,
Next week, on Wednesday (30 June), the elected members of the Council will meet to adopt the Long-Term Plan – after numerous public engagements, hearings, and meetings. The meeting formally confirms the decisions your council has made up to this point, including councillors’ votes on the proposals for a Civic Facility, the Masterton Revamp, and more housing for seniors. It will also set the rates for 2021/22.
We heard from those submitters who wanted to speak to the council at a day of hearings on 19 May. This was just one of the many opportunities we have had to listen to our community and hear their thoughts on what we are proposing. And at our deliberations meeting on 2 June, all Councillors had their say. I was clear in my support of the building the Civic Facility with at least $4 million in external funding. I firmly believe it was time for Councillors to step up and not only listen to current members of our community but to be a voice for future generations. We needed to do our job and show good leadership and governance.
It is time to be brave, and create something that embraces our Māori culture, tells our stories, and celebrates our diversity as a multi-cultural community. The deliberations meeting also saw us decide to defer the start of work on the Masterton Revamp for three years, and to provide land for more housing for seniors – but not build the housing ourselves.
The Long-Term Plan consultation document set out the impact on rates of these Big Decision projects. On these pages you will find the facts behind what the Long-Term Plan contains and the background to what has previously been discussed with our community. It’s important to note that all the statements and figures in the consultation document have been audited and confirmed accurate by Audit NZ. The final Long-Term Plan document is also subject to audit.
The Big Decisions | Ngā Whakatau Nunui
In April, the building housing the Wairarapa Archives was found to be earthquake-prone, and the operation was moved to the Masterton library. During this move, the basement of the library was found to be mouldy, as a result of ongoing leaking. In May, as part of Long-Term Plan consultation, the community was asked when the Civic Facility should be built and how it should be funded:
- 46 per cent of the 191 submitters preferred either building straight away or with a minimum of $4m funding.
- 53 per cent (103) selected the ‘neither’ option. Of these responders, 58 provided commentary that indicated:
– 17 per cent supported a facility, either new or other
– 48 per cent were neutral to the Civic Facility
– 34 per were against building any Civic Facility.
On 2 June, the Council voted 6-5 to proceed with building the Civic Facility, including the library and archive, from 2022/23, with at least $4 million in external funding. An annual operating cost of $1.3 million is forecast for the Civic Facility, from 2025/26. You can see more about the timeline of decision making for the Civic Facility in the Questions and Answers.
Impact on rates
This translates to a $101 increase per year in rates for an average urban residential property – made up of the annual operating cost, and the cost of servicing the loan used to fund the construction of the building.
Masterton Revamp and Housing for Seniors
The Council has listened to the community and made important decisions on two proposals Long-Term Plan consultation document. It has deferred the start of work on the Masterton Revamp for three years, and decided that it will make land available for more senior housing, but not build the houses itself. In 2018, Masterton District Council adopted the Town Centre Strategy, and as part of the draft 2021-31 Long-Term Plan proposed a 10-year programme to implement the strategy. This included taking the opportunity when underground infrastructure work was being done to revamp all three sections of Queen Street and Charlie’s Lane as well as improving links with Queen Elizabeth Park for Park and Bruce Streets, and developing the Waipoua River precinct to create a lively hub for our community.
The draft Long-Term Plan proposed unused land in the Council’s Panama Village site be used to build 25 more housing units for seniors. With the Government this year introducing new incentives for private developers to build community housing, the Council decided to implement the alternative proposal in the long-term plan, and investigate making the land available for other providers to fund and build public housing.
Impact on rates
There will be no impact on rates in the next three years from the Masterton Revamp, and no impact at all from the plan to increase housing for seniors.
What Else is in the Long Term Plan?
The Long-Term Plan includes capital expenditure of nearly $300 million over the next 10 years – that is largely renewing and upgrading the assets that deliver services in our community. The main areas are:
- Roading – $100 million (excluding Masterton Revamp project of $31.5m over the 10 years)
- Three waters (drinking, wastewater, stormwater) – $82 million
- Community spaces and facilities – $29 million (excluding Civic Facility ($30.8m) and HoodAerodrome ($16m))
Rates make up $35.3 million of the revenue needed to pay for the costs of delivering Council services. After taking account of the growth in the number of properties, the average increase in urban residential rates over the previous year is 5.5 per cent.
Videos of Hearings and Deliberations
Questions and Answers
What conversations have we had with our community so far?
Since the combined town hall and district building was closed in 2016, we’ve been talking with our community about what options we have to replace it. Below is a high level timeline of communication and consultation with our community to date:
|2016||We advised: We’re closing the town hall due to its earthquake prone status.|
|2017||We asked: Should we build new or strengthen? 65% of 220 survey respondents told us they preferred to build a new facility over strengthening the existing town hall building.|
As part of consultation on the 2018-21 Long-Term Plan (LTP), we proposed three key options:
As a result of this consultation, the Council decided to build a new performing arts and events centre. This Long-Term Plan also included up to $5 million for extending the library in 2020/21 and 2021/22. The 2020/21 Annual Plan put this expenditure on hold to consider other options, including whether the library should be included in the new multi-purpose facility.
In the summer of 2019/20, over 1,050 people responded to a survey on what a Civic Facility should contain.
The 2020/21 Annual Plan included a decision that a multi-purpose Civic Facility be built, with $250,000 budgeted for the year to pay for initial planning and design work. In August, the Council announced it was looking at a range of potential
The Council agreed that the preferred location be at the north end of town
What are the objectives for the civic facility?
The objectives that Council confirmed for the civic facility are that it:
- Meets the needs of the Masterton community.
- Utilises green building design for efficiency and environmental benefit.
- Embraces our Māori culture and multi-cultural community.
- Well utilised for future generations.
- Financially sustainable and affordable for the community to use.
- Is well located and compliments the surrounding community facilities.
Why are we including the library and archive?
In our 2015-25 Long Term Plan we noted that the library was smaller than recommended for our population. In the 2018-28 Long Term Plan we consulted on a project to expand the library at its current site. Our current Archive is also too small, and the building where it is located does not belong to Council – we rent that space. The new civic facility presents an opportunity to bring the projects together, which will increase day-to-day utilisation of the civic facility, address library needs, enable cost savings overall, and allow us to address the current shortage of space in our archive and save money that we currently spend on rent.
Where is the new Civic facility going to be built?
We are looking at site options that align with our Town Centre Strategy. We can’t disclose the exact location yet due to commercial sensitivity, however in 2020 Council agreed that locations north of the current Town Hall site should be looked at. A location further north allows us to celebrate the connection to the Waipoua river, a stronger link to our nationally recognised Queen Elizabeth Park, and most importantly, deliver a facility of the size and scale that meets the future needs of our tamariki and mokopuna – something the current Town Hall site doesn’t allow.
Why not build on the current Town Hall site?
The time and effort we’ve put into the civic facility project so far has shown us that we can’t just replace the old town hall with a newer version. We need to think broader and longer term. The site of the current Town Hall might have been the best location in 1915, but it’s not anymore because it’s not well connected to our Town Centre and getting people safely across State Highway 2 (SH2) is a challenge, the site is limited in size which means that we aren’t able to build what we need for our future generations, and it doesn’t utilise some of the great things that make Masterton special like Queen Elizabeth Park and the Waipoua river.
How is the budget made up?
The total estimated cost is $30.3 million with a variance of approximately 30% due to the costs being such an early estimate. In our 2018-28 Long Term Plan Consultation Document we indicated a cost of $15.5 million for the civic facility and $8.1 million for the library upgrade, assuming we would also secure some external funding. Considering inflation, the current estimate is approximately $5 million more than we indicated then.
What is the basis for the estimates and will it be enough?
Based on what we know today, including things like the national library standards and what that means for a new library in Masterton we’ve had some help pulling together our figures. The budget figures are called “pre-concept estimates” which means just that, and until we have a concept design worked out they’re the best numbers we can work with. We talk about the capital budget having a variance of + or – 30% and that’s just to give us some wiggle room as we work through the design stages and have a better understanding of all of the things we might need.
We have allowed for additional operating costs associated with the new facility, on top of most of the existing costs of the current library, archive and Queen St office. We have allowed for some cost savings arising from combining into one facility, such as reduced external rental being paid on two of the premises.
Will Council partner with other funders on this?
We will pursue potential funding opportunities and partnership arrangements, just like we have for the skatepark and Hood Aerodrome developments, where we have been successful in our applications for central government funding support. There will also be philanthropic activities to help raise funds where the community and others will have the opportunity to contribute if they wish.
Why don’t we scale back the build?
We are making this investment for our mokopuna and future generations. We want to make sure it is something they will be proud of and that will meet their evolving needs over time If we build something smaller, or with less functionality, it will not meet the needs of current or future generations.
Building a multi-purpose facility that includes the library and archive now resolves three issues and is more cost effective than working to solve each of these separately.
Why don’t we defer it?
The Council committed to building the civic centre in May 2020. The longer we defer this project, the greater the likelihood of the cost escalating.
How well used will the civic facility be?
Incorporating the library, archive and some of our customer services team will increase the day-to-day use of the new civic facility. Our library averages over 500 visitors per day.
Who will be able to use the new civic facility?
We want the new civic facility to be a space that everyone in our community can use and enjoy for a range of purposes – from accessing our library or Customer Service team, to attending a live performance or community meeting. One of the key objectives for the project is for it to be affordable for our community to use – and that’s a priority for us.
What do you mean by ‘flexible theatre space’?
This will be a venue that has a flat floor that can be used for multiple purposes, including theatre and other functions and events. The technical term for what we are planning is a ‘black box theatre’. A black box theatre is commonly described as a simple performance space that is usually a square or rectangle room with black walls, flexible seating and a flat floor. The simplicity of the space is used to create a flexible stage and audience interaction. It also enables the space to be used for other purposes when not being used as a theatre.
What will happen to the old town hall?
We’ll decide what to do with the old Town Hall and municipal buildings in the future, once we’ve done some detailed planning around Masterton’s layout and identified land or buildings needed to support our future. We’re planning for the next 50 years, and we want to get it right.
The Town Hall and Municipal buildings were identified as earthquake-prone in 2016. You can see a copy of the structural report here. The earthquake-prone status has to be addressed by 26 February 2026, so we still have some time.
What will happen to the existing library building?
No decision has yet been made about that. Like the town hall site, we need to do some more planning about what buildings we need to support our future and how they can best be used.
What will happen to the existing archive building?
The Council does not own that building, but we would save the current cost of rent.
What will happen to the Queen Street site?
The Council does not own that building. If the staff who are located in that building now vacate the building (by either moving into the new facility or another Council owned site), we would save the cost of rent which is currently $170,000 per annum.
Will we save money on operating costs?
We expect there will be operating efficiencies by bringing together our Library, Archive and some front of house customer service staff in the one building. Currently, we pay rent for both our Queen Street customer services site and our Archive. We also pay for things like power and heating at each site.
What happens if we do nothing?
We will still need to deal with the issues that we are working to resolve through this project, including the library being too small for a community our size, needing to find another larger space to store our archives and not having a civic space where we can hold community events and gatherings. We would need to go ‘back to the drawing board’ regarding these issues.
What is the Masterton Revamp project about?
We want to bring residents and those that are visiting, into our town centre, and to create spaces that facilitate community connection. We plan to deliver improvements to our town centre and entrances into Masterton over a 10-year period and there are four over-arching things we want to focus on delivering:
- Increase connection with the Waipoua River – Masterton is the only Wairarapa town set on a river. Let’s make the most of it!
- Joining things up – we need to create linkages throughout the town between key features.
- Focusing investment – helping to create a “heart” for the town centre and avoid it spreading out
- Greening things up – bringing in more natural landscapes and plantings.
What happened to the Town Centre rejuvenation?
You might have noticed that we’ve changed the name of this project from “Town Centre rejuvenation” to the Masterton Revamp. We’re now looking wider than just the work in the Town Centre and thinking about how we welcome people into the district, whether it be visitors to the district or whānau returning home. All the work that has been done to date on the Town Centre, including the Town Centre strategy, has provided some strong foundations for the project so we’re definitely not starting from scratch!
How is the community represented in the process?
A community reference group has been appointed and 10 members have been chosen from over 50 applications. They reflect a broad range of interests and perspectives, and ensure the different needs of our diverse community are well represented – youth, business owners, iwi/hapu/marae, senior citizens, and other community groups of interest. The members will be able to provide a local perspective to the Council and its contractors during the design and construction work. We expect they will also be able to raise concerns or questions from their local community. You can find out more about the reference group online.
While the LTP won’t be adopted formally by the Council until June, this group has been established now because we are in early design stages for a number of key areas of the project.
Where are you going to be doing the work?
The key projects that we’re going to focus on aligning with our Town Centre Strategy.
- Waipoua River precinct – recognising and celebrating the Waipoua landscape and how people interact with the river
- Queen Street – consolidating the main shopping/café area
- Park Street – creating an active east-west connection between Queen Elizabeth Park and the town centre
- Bruce Street – create a strong art connection between Queen Elizabeth Park that supports diverse use of the street
- Dixon Street – link the park to the town centre and make the street more user-friendly
- Charlies Lane – adding vibrancy to the laneway in conjunction with Masterton Trust Lands Trust
- Northern entrance – improvements and landscaping from the Ascension statue north to the town boundary
- Southern entrance – a multi-staged project that includes upgrades from the Waingawa river through to Kuripuni
- Coastal connection – enable better east-west flow of pedestrians, cyclists and traffic from adjoining neighbourhoods
- Railway link: shared cycle path – provide an east-west active movement corridor from the railway station through the town centre, connecting the eastern and western suburbs
- Placemaking – create an identity for the town centre that reflects the community of Masterton and its culture and heritage
What is the Town Centre Strategy about?
We want people to be attracted to our town centre – both Masterton residents and those that are visiting – and to create spaces that facilitate community connection. A vibrant and interesting town centre that attracts people helps build:
- Community connection and satisfaction
- Tourism appeal
- Foot traffic through town
- Retail spending in our town centre businesses
- Investor confidence around investing in our town centre.
The Town Centre Strategy includes 10 projects. Our plan is to implement eight of these. Two projects, the Library precinct and the existing town hall precinct, have not been included given our plans to bring the library and civic facility together on a new site.
When will the work start?
The plan is still to kick off the town centre work with lower Queen Street after the busy 2021/22 Christmas period, but we’ll also be doing some work around the north entrance and the Kuripuni roundabout in 2021.
What’s wrong with things as they are now?
Masterton’s town centre needs a rethink – we’ve been aware of this for a while and have been speaking with our community about possibilities. We heard that people wanted connectivity and a revitalisation of parks and public spaces. We also know that the entry points into Masterton are tired and don’t necessarily reflect ‘us’ well. In our 2019 survey 8-in-10 residents agreed Council needs to do something about the entrances into Masterton, so now is the time to act.
What disruption will there be while you do the work?
There will be some disruption as we undertake work. We will work to minimise this disruption as best we can. For example, we have taken other scheduled maintenance work into consideration when planning this project. Revamping the Town Centre at the same time as scheduled maintenance and looking to coordinate with NZTA when they’re working in the same areas we want to will help to minimise any disruption.
How is the budget made up?
The total estimated cost is $35.4 million. Council’s contribution will be $27.3 million (loan funded). Key components of this funding include (rounded to the nearest million):
- $8.3 million for Queen Street
- $3.1 million for Park Street
- $1.7 million for Dixon and Bruce Streets
- $1.2 million for the Waipoua precinct
- $0.78 million for Charlies Lane
- $0.82 million for the Northern entrance
- $1.4 million for the Southern entrance
- $1.9 million for the East and West entrances
- $5.5 million for roading and footpath infrastructure
- $1.7 million for water, wastewater and stormwater infrastructure
Will Council partner with other funders on this?
We have aligned our work programme with NZTA funding opportunities to ensure we maximise the level of NZTA funding that we could receive. We will also pursue other potential funding opportunities and partnership arrangements as they come up.
What is NZTA funding?
Every three years Waka Kotahi (the New Zealand Transport Agency, or NZTA) approves a three year programme of work to help Councils across New Zealand maintain and renew roads, streets and footpaths. Some of the work we are doing in this revamp will be eligible for this funding. For this LTP we will be eligible for up to 57% subsidy for any work that meets the criteria and is approved by NZTA. Given that, we have staged some of the revamp work to align with NZTA funding opportunities.
Why don’t we scale back the project?
Scaling back is an alternative option that could be considered. This would mean that the benefits of the Town Centre Strategy projects we are progressing will take longer to achieve. There is also a risk that it would cost more as budgets escalate, and that we would have to ‘re-do’ some scheduled maintenance work that we have to get on with over the life of this LTP. There is an opportunity to attract high calibre contractors and competitive prices if we wrap the work together as a package rather than contracting out smaller projects on a stage by stage basis.
Why don’t we defer it?
The Council adopted the Town centre Strategy in 2018. Including the time we spent talking with our community about what they wanted to see in the Strategy, it took two years to develop. As part of the 2020/21 Annual Plan, the Council committed to starting work in 2021 so work will be underway this year. Deferring the work increases the risk of costs escalating. We will still need to undertake scheduled maintenance work within the town centre regardless. Doing this work at the same time as progressing our improvement plans will be more efficient and more cost effective for our community.
How will this project impact other important things we need to deal with?
This investment doesn’t take anything away from other important work we are undertaking. It’s important to highlight that we have engaged with our community extensively on plans for investment in the town centre and received strong support. This sort of investment helps build our social connection and sense of satisfaction within our town, as well as assisting economic development.
Housing for Seniors
Where is the Panama Village complex?
On Ngaumutawa Road between Upper Plain Road and Ballance Street.
How did the Council receive the Panama land?
The Panama land on Ngaumutawa Road was originally owned by Arthur Powys Whatman, who died in 1938. In his will, Mr Whatman made a bequest of the land to the Wairarapa Hospital Board. The bequest was subject to very specific directions that the Panama land be held in trust, with Mr Whatman’s former dwelling to be used for a convalescent or rest home for the “sick, aged or needy”. His will specifically directed that “no part of my trust realty shall at any time be sold, let or leased”.
A home for elderly people was established on the land in 1958. It ran at substantial losses and, as a consequence, the Hospital Board invited applications from other organisations to take over the operation. The then Masterton Borough Council put forward a proposed scheme to transfer the Panama land to the Council for the provision of houses or villas for “old people”. In this respect, it preserved the wishes of Mr Whatman by continuing to use the land as a residence for the “aged or needy” with land not required for accommodation to be used for “general recreation”. The scheme was approved by the Supreme Court in June 1966.
What is public housing?
The Government has moved to use the term ‘public housing’ instead of ‘social housing’.
The definition of public housing in the NZ Public Housing Plan 2021-2024 is: Public houses are properties owned or leased by Housing New Zealand and Community Housing Providers that can be tenanted by people who are eligible for public housing. Public housing is therefore a general term covering both state and community housing.
The government provides subsidised rental housing through state-owned housing managed by Kāinga Ora (formerly Housing New Zealand) and through around 40 community housing providers (CHPs) throughout New Zealand. CHPs can include churches, iwi and housing trusts. Councils are not able to become CHPs. CHPs operating in Masterton include Emerge Aotearoa and Trust House. Public housing is allocated on the basis of need via the social housing register.
The Work and Income website provides information on Income Related Rent for people living in public housing. The website (March 2021) states:
When you live in public (social) housing, the amount of rent you pay is based on your income, and the income of people you live with. This is called ‘Income Related Rent’.
Income Related Rent means:
- you pay some of the rent
- the government pays some of the rent.
For more information see Work and Income
Who are Masterton’s community housing providers?
Trust House Masterton became New Zealand’s first registered provider in 2014, enabling it to offer the government’s income-related rent subsidy to new tenants taken from the Ministry of Social Development’s Social Housing Register. Trust House owns 361 residential properties in Masterton.
The Salvation Army New Zealand Trust (the Salvation Army) is a registered Social Housing Provider in the Wellington region. The Salvation Army owns land and buildings adjacent to the Panama complex.
Emerge Aotearoa operates social housing across the Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch regions, including 20 transitional houses/units in Masterton.
Is it the Council’s role to provide public housing?
The Council has a role to play in supporting the wellbeing of our community. Housing is a basic need for health and wellbeing. The council has provided senior housing since at least the 1960s. Most councils around New Zealand provide senior housing, and many city councils also provide broader public housing.
How do people qualify for the Panama pensioner housing units?
Anyone who meets the eligibility criteria can, at their request, be put on council’s waitlist for a unit. Criteria include being aged at least 60, receiving a permanent benefit, and having assets not exceeding $25,000 (for a single person) or $35,000 (for a couple).
How many people are on the waitlist?
As at 22nd March 2021 there are 26 people on the council’s waitlist. Some of these people require more than bedsits, and 16 of those have indicated they would be happy to be located at Panama. There were 144 people listed on the public housing register in the Masterton district as at December 2020.
Who will be able to rent the new houses?
The Council’s Pensioner Housing Policy criteria will apply to the new houses. Currently, the criteria include being aged at least 60, receiving a permanent benefit, and having assets not exceeding $25,000 (for a single person) or $35,000 (for a couple).
What will the rent be for the new units?
We have based our estimates on current market rents for equivalent properties which are $250 for the one-bedroom and $300 for the two-bedroom (based on the Tenancy services website). The actual rent will be aligned with market rents at the time the units become available.
How much subsidy will people who rent these houses get?
People who are eligible could access an Accommodation Supplement through Work and Income New Zealand (WINZ). The WINZ website (March 2021) states:
You may get an Accommodation Supplement if you:
- have accommodation costs
- are aged 16 years or more
- are a New Zealand citizen or permanent resident
- normally live in New Zealand and intend to stay here
- are not paying rent for a social housing property. Social housing properties are provided by Kāinga Ora (used to be Housing New Zealand) and approved community housing providers.
It also depends on:
- how much you and your spouse or partner earn
- any money or assets you and your spouse or partner have.
How much you will get on the Accommodation Supplement will depend on:
- your income
- your assets
- your accommodation costs
- your family circumstances
- where you live.
If a Community Housing Provider (CHP) managed these houses, people who rent the houses could be eligible for an Income Related Rent subsidy. This means they pay some of the rent, and the government pays some of the rent. The rate of the subsidy ensures people pay no more than 25% of their income on rent.
What other housing does the Council own?
The Council owns 78 senior housing units in total, located across four sites – Panama, Bodmin flats, Truro flats and Laurent Place. The council also owns seven other houses associated with council assets that are managed as general rentals.
Why is the council only looking at public housing for elderly?
The land available at Panama was gifted to us and one of the requirements is that it is used for housing for the sick, aged or needy. The Council also has a history of providing pensioner/senior housing and existing units on the Panama site house senior members of our community.
What is the Council doing about housing for families or first home buyers?
We will continue to advocate for more affordable housing for our district, whether that is through central government or other housing providers.
How will the Council support others to build more affordable housing?
The Wairarapa Combined District Plan is currently being reviewed and we will be considering how that plan can best support our community’s needs. We will be consulting on proposed changes to the plan in the near future. We are also part of the Wellington Region and have been part of the development of the Wellington Regional Growth Framework, which addresses the need for housing across the entire region.
What is Council doing about having enough water during dry periods?
The Council accepts that the effects of climate change are forecast to cause longer dry spells in the District. The Council has committed work in the 2021-31 Long Term Plan to increase water storage and create further resilience during those dry spells. This work includes:
- New water reservoir at Lansdowne
The Council plans to install a new treated-water reservoir in Lansdowne, with the work starting in 2021/22. This will give the supplied area greater water supply resilience.
- Additional raw water storage
In our 2021-31 Long-Term Plan, Council is planning additional raw water storage.
A provision has been made in our 10-year plan to increase raw water storage to provide around 40 days of storage for Masterton. The Council has tagged $7.4 million for this project, starting in 2023/24.
The Council has also signalled in our plan that we will consider alternative raw water storage options, such as the Wairarapa Water Ltd (WWL) project which is currently being managed as a private company and is in the resource consenting phase.
What is Council doing about using the water we already have efficiently?
Water is precious and we all need to do our part in using it efficiently. Masterton District Council believes that as custodians of the drinking water supply to the community we need to be championing efficient use of water and leading by example. Projects to use water efficiently in our 2021 LTP include:
- Water meters
The installation of urban water meters is now well underway in Masterton with approximately 80 per cent of meters installed. Water metering will allow all users to manage water more efficiently and identify leakage in our water network.
Current plans include charging for water use from 2022/23. This enables time to detect leaks in the system and on private property and remedy these problems.
- Public conservation media
The Council is also committed to the efficient use of water. New projects, ideas and initiatives that the Council is involved with or support will be communicated to the wider community to make water conservation part of our daily activities.
What have we done so far?
- The Council has already undertaken work to fix leaks at the Recreation Centre.
- Old and deteriorating water pipe is being replaced to address pipe leakage.
- Public plantings are being changed to plants that are better adapted to a drier climate.
Are we able to recycle wastewater?
In the 2021-31 Long-Term Plan we have included water re-use projects. These include
- exploring tapping into the existing wastewater system, and extracting and treating the water to re-use and irrigate plantings and trees
- Homebush water irrigation
As part of our Homebush Wastewater Strategy, we have objectives to re-use our treated wastewater for land irrigation.
We currently already border-strip irrigate 75 hectares of land and we are looking to increase this land irrigation through various other initiatives, including spray irrigation.
Why don’t all new houses have to have water storage?
The Council is exploring options that may require residential properties and businesses to adapt how they operate. Examples may include.
- water storage for all new properties
- more efficient water use cisterns
- low-flow showerheads
These options require a regulatory change and the Council is committed to exploring which options are best for Masterton District in the review of the Wairarapa Combined District Plan.
Paying for our Plan
What are rates?
Rates are charged on properties in our district and they are the main way the Council funds the work it does for the community. User charges and other revenue also help us pay for the services the Council delivers.
How much are rates going up?
The LTP sets out an average 5.3 per cent increase across the 10 years – we have been able to smooth rates increases to provide certainty and avoid some years with much larger increases than others. About half of the increase each year of the LTP are due to inflation.
How do the Big Decisions impact rates?
The three major projects (civic facility, Masterton revamp, pensioner housing) will largely be paid for with loans. That debt incurs interest and needs to be repaid over a period of time (known as debt servicing) that is longer than 10 years, and that pushes up the Council’s costs and need for increased rates revenue.
Once the projects are completed the impact on average urban residential rates is:
- Civic facility – $101 per year by 2025/26
- Masterton revamp – $214 per year by 2030/31
- Pensioner housing – $11 per year from 2023
What about inflation over time?
We have built inflation into our Plan based on forecast inflation rates advised by BERL (Business and Economic Research Limited). BERL provides the local government cost index information for all Councils to apply in our long-term plans. See our Significant Assumptions Part 3 for more information.
What about changes in interest rates for lending time?
We have forecast interest rates on our debt-based on our current costs in year 1 and then financial market projections which are for interest rates to remain low (an average of 3% or below) for the duration of this ten-year Plan. See our Significant Assumptions Part 3 for more information.
How do the QV revaluations impact rates?
Our rating system uses property valuations as one of a number of tools to allocate rates between properties.
Revaluations are carried out by Quotable Value every 3 years – this process is independent of the Council. When a revaluation occurs, the Council recalculates the rates-per-dollar of value required to collect the total rates income that is needed in the budget. The valuations are used to determine each property’s share of the rates – rates do not simply increase by the percentage increase of valuations.
If all valuations in the district increased by the same percentage, every property’s rates would only change by the percentage of the Council’s budget increase. Where a property’s valuation increases by less than the average increase, they can expect to pay a lower share of the total rates the Council needs. Where a property’s valuation increases by more than the average increase for the district, the property owner can expect to pay a higher share of the total rates the Council needs.
New valuations will be used for rates calculation in the new financial year, which starts on 1 July 2021. There is high variability of valuation changes this year, so typical rates increases are difficult to predict.
Please enquire with the Council our use the property search to find out what your property’s rates increase will be.
Fees and Charges
Why does council have fees and charges as well as rates?
Fees and charges are targeted at people who choose to use a particular service or make lifestyle choices that the Council is required to oversee or monitor, such as owning a dog or having a swimming pool.
Why are fees and charges increasing?
We are suggesting some changes to fees and charges from 1 July 2021 including increasing all fees by the rate of inflation.
We are also proposing to increase some fees by more than inflation to better reflect the cost of delivering the service. These fee areas include resource management fees, food premise verification fees, dog registration fees and swimming pool inspection fees.
We are proposing to increase dog registration fees to reflect the cost of building the new animal shelter, and cover costs that were absorbed last year when we chose not to increase dog registration fees as part of our COVID-19 response.
The Long-Term Plan and Submission Process
What is a long-term plan (LTP)?
An LTP is the council’s forward looking “road map”, covering a ten year period. It describes the services the council intends to provide for its community, capital projects to be undertaken, budgets, how everything is to be funded, and how the council’s performance in delivering its key services will be measured.
What period does the long-term plan cover?
LTPs are a 10 year plan. This LTP will cover from 1 July 2021 to 30 June 2031.
How often do councils prepare a new long-term plan?
The LTP is refreshed every three years with an Annual Plan produced in a non-LTP year. The last LTP was adopted by Council in 2018.
Will there be a draft long-term plan prepared for public consultation?
No. Councils are not required to have the full LTP document available for public consultation, but do need to make available all the major components that build up the LTP. This information is available below as supporting information for the Consultation Document.
The key document that Council consults on is the LTP Consultation Document. The Council will prepare the full long-term plan after public consultation has taken place and the community’s views have been considered. The supporting information includes the key financial policies, the draft financial statements, the full financial and infrastructure strategies, and the forecasting assumptions used as a basis for the projections.
What is the ‘consultation document’?
The consultation document sets out what the council plans to do in the coming 10 years. It outlines proposals for the major projects and changes to funding over the 10 year period and identifies options and costs being considered. It includes an overview of our financial and infrastructure strategies and an overview of planned major projects.
The Consultation Document focuses on Councils key proposals, seeking feedback from the community on these. In saying this, there is an opportunity for residents and ratepayers to put forward their ideas to the Council.
Where can I get a copy of the consultation document?
The LTP consultation document is available on this page in the Key Documents sidebar. Hard copies can also be picked up from our Council office at 161 Queen Street, Masterton or from the Library.
What is the process for giving feedback to the council around its LTP?
We are inviting submissions from anyone interested in having a say on what should be included in our Long Term Plan and which option should be chosen for the proposals on the big decisions.
Submissions close at 4pm on 3 May 2021. As part of an open and transparent consultation process, submissions are treated as public documents once received.
There will also be an opportunity to provide feedback at face-to-face sessions during the consultation period. While verbal comments at these sessions are not treated as “formal submissions”, a summary of comments received will be provided to Council to consider as part of the deliberations process.
How do I make a submission?
We encourage everyone to make their submission online.
You can read the Consultation Document and answer the questions as you work your way through the document. By registering in our submission software you have the ability to save as you go and pause your submission, finishing it the next day, or the next week. Once you’ve registered and used the system you can look back at past submissions and use parts again if they are still applicable. The online system saves Council administration costs and allows us to publish the submissions faster.
Who do I contact if I have trouble registering?
Phone the Council and a staff member will talk you through the registration process. We will also be holding drop-in sessions every Wednesday 10 – noon in our Library where staff will be available to help you register to make a submission.
Other ways to make a submission include:
- Send us an email to [email protected]
- Phone us on 06-370-6300 and tell us what you think.
- Or, if you require a hardcopy submission form, you can pick one up from our Queen Street office or the Library.
Can I also speak to the mayor and councillors about my submission?
Yes, during the consultation period you can attend any of our ‘kanohi ki kanohi’ (face to face) sessions – these are listed above and will be updated as new opportunities are confirmed.
Our Costs in Detail (PDF, 2MB) includes Financial Statements and Revenue & Financing Policy
Section 101-3 Analysis (PDF, 211KB) supporting information for Revenue & Finance Policy
Our Costs in Detail (PDF, 2MB) includes Financial Statements and Revenue & Financing Policy