Council defers long-term plan amid uncertainty

Photo: ODT files
Photo: ODT files
Dunedin Mayor Jules Radich says much uncertainty will be dealt with by the time the city council adopts its 2025-34 long-term plan.

The Dunedin City Council decided yesterday to defer its long-term plan (LTP) by a year, confirming it will run an annual plan for 2024-25, followed by a nine-year LTP.

The call was made amid uncertainty about transport funding and structures that might be used for managing Three Waters in future.

"We have a duty of care to produce the best LTP we can," Mr Radich said.

"In 12 months, most uncertainties will be resolved."

The government this year allowed councils to have the flexibility to defer their LTPs by a year.

Jules Radich
Jules Radich
City councillors had a series of questions about how cancelling the 10-year plan and opting for an annual plan for 2024-25, followed by a nine-year LTP, would work.

Cr Sophie Barker established the council would effectively be working on year 4 of the 2021-31 LTP.

Cr Steve Walker said the council would have more clarity about large parts of its operation before it works on its next LTP.

One uncertainty was about how the council’s zero-carbon work might be affected by the new government’s transport priorities.

Cr Walker wanted the council to make progress on aspects of the programme not dependent on national subsidies.

Cr Christine Garey was worried about "another year of delay around the Peninsula Connection".

Information that had been pending for the 10-year plan about the ongoing road widening and safety project for the Otago Peninsula would no longer be imminent, Cr Garey said.

Two councillors were "ambivalent" about deferring the LTP, but none at the meeting voiced opposition.

The Waitaki District Council also agreed yesterday to defer its LTP by a year.

Waitaki District Mayor Gary Kircher said the annual plan needed to achieve the same as the first year of an LTP and would be approached with this mindset.

Uncertainty about water services, as well as funding for roading and healthcare, led to the deferral, the council said. — Additional reporting Wyatt Ryder