Extra year for long-term plan

Waitaki District Mayor Gary Kircher. PHOTO: ODT FILES
Waitaki District Mayor Gary Kircher. PHOTO: ODT FILES
Councils have been given an extra year to make their long-term plans, a solution Waitaki District Mayor Gary Kircher finds comforting but "not perfect".

The future of our water, health and resources is all under consideration by the new government, which has left councils full of stress and uncertainty as they sought to compile their 10-year plans.

But a move from the government is set to ease some of the concerns by allowing councils to run just annual plans for 2024-25, followed by a nine-year long-term plan.

Mr Kircher said the option gave the Waitaki District Council more time to understand the effects of all the changes being made.

"We were looking at a 10-year plan where we were probably going to do an amendment in year two."

An allowance for an extra three months was previously announced, but a full year allowed for more more comfort and certainty.

There could still be changes made after accepting the plan, but they would not be at the scale previously thought.

A lot of work had already gone into the 10-year plan, which would be used as the building blocks for the council’s nine-year plan.

"The steer I’ve given staff is we need to be looking at more than just one year."

There was still uncertainty about what would happen with reform to Three Waters and the Resource Management Act, which is being repealed, as well as how health reforms would impact the Oamaru Hospital, but the extension did provide some comfort, he said.

The council will consider the option to defer adoption of the next long-term plan on Tuesday.