For Our Future: 10-year Plan 2018 - 2028 Consultation

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Consultation has concluded


Consultation on our draft long term plan for 2018-2028 has now closed.

From here, our Councillors will hear from those who have elected to present their submissions at hearings. Feedback will be considered by Council, with changes made to the draft plan as necessary. The final plan will be adopted at the last council meeting of this year (27 June). This will set the rates for the year to come, the proposed rates for the years following and the council’s work plan.


Consultation on our draft long term plan for 2018-2028 has now closed.

From here, our Councillors will hear from those who have elected to present their submissions at hearings. Feedback will be considered by Council, with changes made to the draft plan as necessary. The final plan will be adopted at the last council meeting of this year (27 June). This will set the rates for the year to come, the proposed rates for the years following and the council’s work plan.

Consultation has concluded
  • Message from your Councillors

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    by Charlotte,
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    Greetings and welcome to our consultation on the long term plan 2018 - 2028.

    Future-focused thinking is at the heart of what we do. With a vision to deliver a sustainable and prosperous future for Otago, all that we do in caring for Otago’s environment is geared to enable communities to thrive, today and far beyond.

    To be able deliver on this vision, we need a clear plan as our roadmap. We’ve factored our best knowledge and assumptions about what’s around the corner into our plan for the next ten years – and now we’re looking forward to hearing from you. Have we got it right? What should we be changing to ensure a sustainable and prosperous future for Otago?

    We know that political positions and community expectations about how the environment is managed are changing. We know that our climate is changing. We know that demographics are changing in Otago, especially with the significant growth we’re seeing in Queenstown and surrounds. We know from recent research that the threat of major seismic events in Otago is very real. We know, that with technology and other changes to how people work and live, it’s important that we ‘work smart’ and stay ready for new challenges and opportunities.

    With all of these factors in mind, we’ve brought together a draft plan for 2018-2028. Our work programmes and budgets are more detailed for the next three years, with less emphasis on the following years.

    As Councillors and staff of the Regional Council, we have a responsibility to use the best information we have to map out a path forward – but we need to hear from you, Otago.

    Your Councillors


    Graeme Bell, Andrew Noone, Stephen Woodhead (Chair), Michael Deaker, Ella Lawton, Trevor Kempton, Sam Neill, Doug Brown, Bryan Scott, Gretchen Robertson (Deputy Chair), Carmen Hope, Michael Laws

  • Main issues and projects

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    by Charlotte,
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    We want to know what you think about what we're proposing for:



    The social, economic and environmental impacts of climate change in Otago will be wide-ranging.

    We expect that climate change will have an impact on Otago’s natural hazards, freshwater quality, biodiversity, and biosecurity – all areas we are responsible for managing as a Regional Council. Some parts of our flood protection schemes will also need to adapt. We think local government has an important role to play in helping communities prepare and adapt for the impacts of climate change.

    Starting in the 2018-2019 year, we are proposing some new projects that will help Otago to be ready for the effects of sea level rise, focusing on South Dunedin and the Clutha Delta. We are also proposing a risk assessment programme which would give us a better understanding of the impacts and implications of climate change in Otago.

    More details of the projects proposed:

    • We will build a new groundwater computer model that will help us to understand the effects of sea level rise on groundwater levels in South Dunedin.

    • For the Clutha Delta, we will assess the effects of sea level rise on shoreline retreat, groundwater levels, and land drainage.

    • Our assessment of the risks of climate change impacts for Otago will show us how climate change might affect things like biodiversity, natural hazards and water availability. This will help us to prioritise our work plan of climate change adaptation actions.

    More information on Preparing for Climate Change >>


    We regularly collect environmental data that allows us to make good decisions about freshwater quality and quantity across Otago. We’re proposing to extend our monitoring programme.

    We’ve reviewed our State of the Environment monitoring programme to ensure that we’re giving full effect to the National Policy Statement for freshwater management.

    From 2018-2019 we’re proposing to:

    • Expand our freshwater monitoring to include a greater number of sites and more aspects of ecological health.

    • Make boat-based monitoring of Lakes Hayes, Wanaka, Wakatipu and Hawea part of our long-term programme.

    • Put monitoring buoys in Lakes Hayes (2018-2019), Wanaka (2019-2020) and Wakatipu (2021-2022).

    We’re also proposing to expand the scope of our monitoring programme to include wetlands and coastal waters.

    More information on Water Monitoring - Extended Program >>


    Our next steps for water quality: wastewater and urban stormwater.

    We are proposing to implement our strategy for urban water quality, reviewing our Water Plan provisions for managing wastewater and urban stormwater. This would help to ensure that our approach and rules are effective both in urban and rural settings.

    We intend to look at both on-site and reticulated community systems, and the risks and effects of contaminants on both surface and ground water, as well as seawater.

    We first propose to focus on understanding where there is a high risk of contamination. We would then work with each city/district council and their communities to identify the best way to ensure good water locally.

    We will also look at discharges from industrial and trade activities, and the management of hazardous substance discharges.

    Any necessary changes to our Water Plan resulting from this work would be made as part of a wider plan review process in three years.

    More information on Urban Water Quality >>

    Have your say on these Main Issues and Projects - Have your Say

  • Ongoing projects

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    by Charlotte,
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    These are key ongoing projects we're continuing work on:



    We are responsible for setting flows and allocating water take limits to balance environmental, social and cultural values for waterways.

    Otago has around 350 historic water permits that will expire in October 2021. Most of these permits are in water short areas such as Central Otago. To provide a transition to new replacement permits, we are working closely with communities to ensure everyone is aware and prepared for 2021, and to encourage the formation of water management groups or water allocation committees. We are also working with groups that have now been formed, assisting with their consent applications.

    In order to give certainty to water users and water management groups about how much water they can use, we are also prioritising our work to establish minimum flows.

    After the 2021 expiry of historic permits, our water quantity work programme focus will shift to our consenting and compliance.


    Two new rules in our water plan will come into effect in 2020 – helping to ensure good water quality in Otago.

    By 2020, rural landholders need to meet new standards on the amount of E. coli, nitrogen and phosphorus going into freshwater. To help landholders progress towards this goal, we will be completing environmental risk assessments on all rural properties and large lifestyle properties before 2020.

    These assessments will help landholders to understand what they need to do under the Water Plan, what risks to water quality might be present on the property, and how to take steps to address them.


    Air quality affects everyone in Otago. Poor air quality has an impact on our health, particularly the very young, the elderly and those with respiratory conditions.

    The greatest problems occur over the winter months, when solid fuel burners are being used. It is especially bad under certain climatic and geographic conditions, with Arrowtown, Alexandra, Clyde, Cromwell and Milton frequently breaching national guide air standards.

    We’ve been working on a strategy to improve air quality. We plan to continue our ‘Clean Heat Clean Air’ funding programme, promote the use of low impact heating systems and undertake more education, compliance and enforcement activities.

    We are also looking at introducing additional controls for new housing development and outdoor burning near urban areas, and we’re considering whether there should be a ban on the use of coal for domestic heating.

    We intend to work with those communities where winter air pollution is a problem, facilitating local initiatives to meet local circumstances.


    With our new Queenstown service up and running, and Dunedin’s network transition to be largely completed with the bus hub this year, the public transport workplan is heading towards ‘business-as-usual’ again – with some exciting trials of new service elements in the mix.

    In Queenstown, we are planning a trial of a ferry service as part of the network. We have also allowed for some route changes that should increase the overall level of service on the Queenstown network.

    In Dunedin, we’re planning for the frequencies of off-peak services to be increased to current on-peak levels. We have also planned for a feasibility assessment of a bus service to the airport – and a potential trial of this service.


    We want Otago’s harbours and waterways to be safe for all users. Our harbour management programme includes the facilitation of the safe use and navigation of our harbours and waterways, and includes harbour incident response.

    We are continuing to develop and implementation of navigational safety bylaws, undertake bylaw enforcement, and improve navigational aids.

  • Planned projects

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    by Charlotte,
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    We'd like to give you a heads up on projects currently in planning phases:



    We want to take a wider role in biodiversity in Otago – both on land and at sea. We propose to initiate more region-wide collaboration, supporting biodiversity projects which are led by local communities, and recognising the role of iwi as kaitiaki. We will bring together stakeholders to ensure that projects are co-ordinated and collaborative.

    We will look at how else we can limit pests and better encourage thriving ecosystems through our plans an rules. We will share information about what people can do for themselves and what others are doing. Initially, we will create a biodiversity position to provide a regional perspective and bring all of this work together.

    See more on the Biodiversity Strategy here.


    An options analysis is being conducted for to look at possibilities for remediating the water quality, and ultimately the swimmability of Lake Hayes. The purpose of this study will be to explore various potential solutions to improve the overall quality of this water body. Council acknowledges that this lake holds significance to the community, however, if remediation works proceed, an analysis of who would benefit from them would need to be broadly consulted on to establish how this work would most appropriately be funded.


    Our pest plan for Otago lists the pest plants and animals that are subject to control around how they are managed. It’s a regulatory document that contains pest control programmes, objectives and rules to manage pests that cause harm to the wellbeing of our people and environment. The current plan expires in 2019 and we are currently writing a new ten-year plan. Public consultation on the new pest plan took place in late 2017, and the draft plan will be open for public submissions around mid-2018. Otago’s new pest plan will be in place in late 2018/early 2019.


    We are moving towards a more active role in coastal resource management. We intend to review our approach to coastal management, bringing together all that we know about the coastal environment and the challenges we face with climate change and rising sea levels. We will prepare a Coastal Strategy before we undertake the full review of the Coast Plan.


    We expect to be ready to consult with you about proposed new Regional Council headquarters in Dunedin in the coming year. This has been under discussion for some time. We have a preferred site identified in Dowling Street, and we’re working through whether it’s going to be available. Once we have certainty about the site we will be able to prepare detailed costings which will provide the information we will need to be able to meaningfully consult on the options for our building needs. We expect to be pay for the majority of this project from our building reserve. This will be reflected in budgets only after we have consulted with the community.

  • Our Vision

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    by Charlotte,
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    Our plans are guided by:



    What we do and who we do it for.

    Caring for Otago's environment: enabling communities to thrive.


    What we aspire to achieve

    For our Future - a sustainable and prosperous future for Otago.


    A healthy environment: A place were people can enjoy their environment safely, productively, and respectfully.

    A connected community: Service delivery that puts the community first and ensures that operations are customer driven, efficient and fit for purpose.

    An engaged and proud community: Communities empowered to be the champions and custodians of their Otago environment.

    A strong economy: A region that prioritises sustainability as an economic measure whilst being attractive to industry.

    A future-proofed region: A region that is prepared for future environmental challenges and that retains the characteristics that make Otago a great place for everyone.

  • What does all this mean for your rates bill?

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    For 2018-2019 rates, the proposed total increase in general rates is around $1.4 million, paid for by approximately 115,000 households.

    Our draft long term plan builds on our existing work programs. It doesn’t include many big new projects. To be responsive to community expectations and provide greater service levels across our key areas of statutory responsibility, we are projecting expenditure in some areas will increase, which may affect your rates.

    Other than rates, one of our important sources of income is Port Otago, which is owned by the Regional Council. Each year, a dividend from the Port helps to offset the amount that needs to be collected in rates. Last year, we asked Port Otago for some extra help in the form of a special dividend to ease the impact on rates of a step up in expenditure.

    Instead of one big jump in rates, the increase will be over several years, as the special dividend amount reduces. We prefer not to have to draw on special dividends, as leaving these funds in the Port Otago company helps it grow, which in turn ensures we can rely on Port contributions in the long-term.

    So, although the amount of money we’re expecting to spend is increasing only relatively slowly in the next few years, rates will be increasing as we ease back from dependence on an additional special dividend over and above our normal dividend from the Port.

    Get the full picture of what your next rates bill would look like if all that’s proposed in this plan is approved by heading to our online rates calculator.