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Buller District Council defers adoption of Long-Term Plan in favour of enhanced Annual Plan

29 Feb 2024

The Buller District Council decided to defer adopting its 2024 – 2034 Long-Term Plan (LTP) at yesterday’s council meeting. 

Council will defer adoption of the 2024-2034 LTP by 12 months, to June 2025, and instead adopt an enhanced Annual Plan for the 2024-2025 financial year. A reduced nine-year LTP will be produced for 2025 – 2034.

This decision comes in the wake of an announcement from Prime Minister Hon. Christopher Luxon and Minister of Local Government Hon. Simeon Brown on 13 February updating Local Government on their plans for the coming 12-18 months.

Key points were the repeal of the existing Water Services Legislation and implementation of the replacement Local Water Done Well legislation.

The council also faces significant challenges in its long-term planning in terms of ensuring compliance with regulatory expectations whilst maintaining a financially sustainable, affordable future.

There are several significant items currently on the table in relation to this: flood protection for the town of Westport, New Zealand Transport Agency funding, and relating to water services, compliance with Taumata Arowai regulations and the creation of a regional water entity.

Benefits of deferring the LTP for 12 months include allowing more time for the new water legislation and waters entity to be put in place, therefore reducing the ‘unknown’ factors likely to impact planning, with potential financial savings for council and ratepayers.  

Deferral will allow council extra time to address the challenges it faces with local water supplies and help ensure a sustainable solution, aligned with the needs of the community as well as legislative requirements, is reached.

The new water legislation will be enacted through a two-step process, with an initial bill outlining the structure and transition plans for the new water services system to be approved by mid-2024. Council will retain ownership and delivery of water services as part of this process.

The second bill, which will pave the way for a permanent replacement regime, is due to be introduced in December 2024.

Buller District Mayor Jamie Cleine says: “Deferring the LTP until we have greater clarity on the substantial changes in legislative direction should result in more long-term certainty for ratepayers and a greater understanding of the implications these changes may have on the district’s future.” 

The enhanced 2024-2025 Annual Plan will involve public consultation and include detail similar to the level of the LTP document.  


For further information please contact:
Chief Executive Officer
Steve Gibling