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Contributions Policy to be drafted

2021 12 23

A new policy that would see housing developers make contributions for new infrastructure required for the developments will be drafted by the Wairoa District Council.

On Tuesday (December 21) elected members resolved that a policy on development contributions be drafted, which will then come back to Council before going out for public consultation.

The decision is in relation to developing a mechanism to equitably fund development-related infrastructure and has been prompted by the increased demand for housing developments in the district.

Wairoa is one of eight of the 67 local authorities in New Zealand which doesn’t have a Development or Financial Contributions Policy. At least four of these eight Councils are in the process of drafting development policies.

Wairoa Mayor Craig Little said historically Council didn’t have a policy as it didn’t want to discourage development.

“Given the low level of development throughout the district for the past two decades, Council has always tried to be an enabler and development friendly and by not having a development contributions policy we tried to encourage more development throughout the district.”

Wairoa, like other local authorities throughout the country, is experiencing major growth in residential development and other construction activity with building and resource consents trending higher than long-term averages.

While growth is positive for the district, each new development puts further demand on infrastructure and often requires infrastructure upgrades.

“Without this policy, present ratepayers will face a much higher burden in terms of growth-related infrastructure expenditure. We need to ensure infrastructure such as stormwater, wastewater, water supply, transport and development for parks and open spaces and community infrastructure are funded by the developers.

Historically, larger developers have been expected to cover these costs and, in some instances, Council has funded a proportion of costs with the infrastructure vested in Council. Smaller developments have effectively ‘coat tailed’ off existing infrastructure.

“A development contributions policy will allow Council to apply a consistent approach across all developments while finding a balance in supporting community and private development, operating with prudent financial management and providing a level of service for the district. It will enable funding for funding future growth and help reduce the reliance on rates while ensuring our infrastructure networks are more resilient.”

“Wairoa is experiencing levels of development not seen for decades which is fantastic, but it is important we plan now to ensure we are future proofing the impacts of these developments.”

Mr Little said a development contribution policy is the fairest and simplest means of ensuring that Council can adequately service growth and maintain its current levels of service into the future.

The policy will be developed by Wairoa District Council staff at no additional cost to Council.

23 December 2021

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