'Significant rate rise' on the cards for Canterbury

Photo: File image / LDR
Photo: File image / LDR
A “significant rate rise” is on the cards for Canterbury - and one cause is central Government mandates, ECan's chairperson says.

Chairperson Peter Scott says he is keen to engage with central Government to reduce the regulatory burden on ratepayers.

The new coalition government has announced sweeping changes including the repeal of the Resource Management Act (RMA) reforms, National Policy Statements (NPS) on Freshwater, and Indigenous Biodiversity.

Scott said it will take time before any specific detail about how the policy changes signalled by the new Government will impact Canterbury. 

‘‘There was general agreement the old RMA was no longer fit for purpose, so the question is what will they replace it with.

‘‘I imagine it is relatively easy to repeal legislation, but replacing it will take time.’’

The burden of constant reform has seen the council make submissions on 22 pieces of legislation over the last two years, he said.

“Our community and ratepayers have to foot the bill every time government changes policy.

“This ultimately results in extra work for us to deliver with no additional funding, meaning we have to cover those costs ourselves.”

To meet the demands from the government mandates, as well as growing community expectations, and the impacts of climate change, Scott said ECan will “reluctantly be proposing a significant rate rise as part of our long-term budget planning process”. 

“We’re feeling the pinch of rising costs driven by inflation, and are facing challenging times in delivering our growing legal obligations and your ambitions for the region.

“With the regulations we’re currently operating under, and the information we have in front of us, we’re left with little choice. 

“How much money we’ll need, and what services we should deliver, can only be determined with the community.”

By David Hill and Jonathan Leask
Local Democracy Reporter

■ Public interest journalism funded through New Zealand on Air.