Horizons Regional Council adopts their 2021-31 Long-term Plan

After considering over 430 submissions, feedback on 2,263 submission points, and hearing from more than 46 individuals and organisations, Horizons Regional Council today adopted its 2021-31 Long-term Plan.


The Long-term Plan (LTP) will guide the way Horizons manages the region’s land, air and water resources, and how they will help to make this part of New Zealand a great place to live, work and play.
Horizons Chair Rachel Keedwell says Council heard from a large number of passionate community members who shared their feedback on the key issues highlighted in the consultation document.
“These topics included proposals on ways to fund our implementation of Central Government’s policy and regulations reforms for freshwater, a new dedicated climate change activity, improvements to the Capital Connection, and changes to Palmerston North and Whanganui bus services,” says Cr Keedwell.
“Following submissions and deliberations, Council has identified which work programmes we will continue and which will require increased expenditure.
“This includes additional funding for Council’s priorities areas of freshwater, climate change and biodviersity, as well as public transport, environmental education and some changes to river management schemes.
There is also a financial commitment to Covid-recovery projects that will progress environmental projects Council already had planned or underway. Central Government has provided a significant contribution to this work and Council has committed a local share of $1.34 million in Year 1 of the LTP.
“This funding will go towards Mahi mō te Taiao - Jobs for Nature projects to improve water quality and enhance native fish populations, as well as Infrastructure Climate Resilience Projects to help manage flood hazards in Foxton, Lower Manawatū, Palmerston North and Rangitīkei.
In addition to growth in our biodiversity and biosecurity programmes over the first three years of the LTP, Council has diverted other funding towards their new Kanorau Koiora Taketake - Indigenous Biodiversity Community Grant. This contestable fund of $260,000 will support projects that provide connections between nature and people, and projects that work to restore and protect indigenous biodiversity including those that support regeneration and continuation of mātauranga Māori (Māori knowledge).

Cr Keedwell says Council has big work programmes to deliver over the next decade, many of which are unprecedented in terms of scale and pace.
“However, these activities will provide an opportunity to accelerate improvements to our fresh water, biodiversity, and resilience to flooding, address climate change concerns, and enhance the way our passengers commute around and through our region,” says Cr Keedwell.
As a result of today’s resolutions, rates for Year 1 will be increasing by an average of 8.4 per cent across the region, an average of 8.2 per cent for Year 2, and an average of 6.5 per cent for Year 3.
“It is important to keep in mind that these rate increases are only an average and the rate impact will differ from district to district due to factors such as changes to property values, and specific rating inputs such as river schemes and urban passenger transport rates for certain areas,” says Cr Keedwell.
“Our average rates increases are some of the largest we have ever proposed and something Council hasn’t taken lightly. We thank everyone who took the time to provide us their feedback. This input is invaluable when it comes to guiding decisions around our work programmes and helping Council achieve their new vision for the region: Tō tātou rohe – taiao ora, tangata ora, mauri ora. Our place – a healthy environment where people are thriving.”
The final Long-term Plan, with the full details of Horizons’ work programmes, will be made publicly available on Horizons’ website www.horizons.govt.nz within the next few weeks. Anyone wanting to check what their next rates invoice will look like can use the rates search tool available here.