Publication:

Kapiti News - 2021-07-21

Data:

Long-term Plan 2021– 41

Opinion

K Gurunathan Mayor, Kāpiti Coast District

Message from the Mayor Tēnā koutou katoa A big thank you to everyone who helped shape our Long-term Plan 2021–41, whether you had a say during the consultation phase or shared your thoughts with us another time over the last three years. Between a global pandemic, a growing population, issues with housing availability and affordability and responding to climate change, we’re at a point where bold action is required to make sure we’re building our resilience and protecting what we love about the Kāpiti lifestyle. Following central government’s lead and advice, we have adopted a stimulus plan and budget. We have trebled our capital expenditure programme, keeping our focus on our core infrastructure role, which makes up 71 percent of our $1.4 billion spend over the course of this plan. While many expressed concern over the rates increase, the plan was well supported, and there was agreement that investing for growth and resilience is the right approach to take at this time. The community also told us it wanted to see movement on a number of key issues and through this plan we are taking steps to address these. The plan will see an average rates increase of 7.79 percent for 2021/22. While Council would absolutely prefer to have a lower rates increase, Council’s view is that the district’s key need at this time is for investment to help stimulate recovery and prepare for the future. We can’t afford to wait. In this plan, we have included five community outcomes. These are our priorities and reflect the big issues we must address so we can continue strengthening our community, environment and economy. I am proud that, working with Mana Whenua representatives from Ngāti Raukawa au ki te Tonga, Te Āti Awa ki Whakarongotai, and Ngāti Toa Rangatira iwi, we were able to develop a community outcome highlighting the importance of the Mana Whenua–Council relationship and how it contributes to all the other outcomes. This is key to the future of our district’s development. No decisions were made lightly. Councillors, as your elected community representatives, had to weigh up the views of submitters, the benefits and risks, and the needs and aspirations of our community both now and in the future. We know not everyone will agree with our decisions, so we want to explain what sits behind them. I encourage you to read on to learn a little bit more about what’s in the plan and why. Ngā mihi YES – Council should take a bigger role in housing In the Long-term Plan, we will take action in several ways to expand our contribution to improving housing access and affordability in our community. Our main focus will be to increase our activities to support and enable development. THE WHY: There are significant and well-documented issues with access to housing and housing affordability in Kāpiti and we know this is something many are concerned about. Over half of the respondents to this question said yes, Council should take a bigger role, with 244 wanting Council to take on the role of enabler. Council will now look at the options available to us, including the possibility of exploring opportunities to increase our role in social housing (in partnership with iwi, a community housing provider or central government), how we could influence the supply of affordable housing through things like expanding land supply, incentivising higher-density development in suitable areas or looking at providing increased housing by encouraging a wide range of developments.

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