Greater Wellington urges Government to take a closer look at regional pressures and ease burden on ratepayers
Greater Wellington published its Briefing to Incoming Minsters today urging the Government to take action in a number of areas to help facilitate the growing role of regional councils and ease the funding burden on ratepayers.
Greater Wellington is one of the largest and most diverse regional councils in New Zealand. It manages the country's second largest public transport operation, has a unique role in providing drinking water to the metropolitan area, it owns the region's port, provides flood protection for many parts of the region, and acts as the environmental steward for the region's natural resources.
Greater Wellington Chief Executive Greg Campbell says the briefing clearly outlines the competing expectations placed on the council.
"In short we need additional funding sources to stop an over reliance on ratepayers. Overseas jurisdictions share tax revenue with regional and local authorities through capital grants, or provide a much wider range of funding tools beyond property owners such as regional fuel taxes or congestion charges. What that could look like for our region is unknown but we would welcome the opportunity to discuss the options available to the Government".
Greater Wellington is also asking for further support on decarbonisation activities and help ensuring that central, region and local government entities work together to plan for the growing challenge of climate adaptation.
"Our primary concerns are rising sea levels, storm surges and the impact on our coastal communities. Transition costs are unaffordable for ratepayers on their own and given the impact on people's homes, livelihoods, emotions we will need strong legislation and policy guidance as well as funding from the Government," added Greg Campbell.
Greater Wellington Chair Daran Ponter says the briefing outlines the regional council's key priorities, the actions it will take over the next six months and the ongoing need to work closely with Government.
Greater Wellington has a moral obligation to raise the challenges in our region and beyond. Whether that's enabling full participation of Māori in local government decision-making processes, strengthening environmental legislation across the country, future proofing public transport, or ongoing reform in the three waters space," says Cr Ponter.
"That's a lot to discuss and there will at times be inherent tensions, which is all the more reason that we forge a closer working relationship. This relationship is already strong with agencies like the Ministry of Transport, Waka Kotahi, and the Ministry for the Environment. We need continued commitment to ensure a joined-up approach to addressing our common challenges," adds Cr Ponter.
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