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Draft 2023-2024 Annual Plan

Each year Council’s Annual Plan sets out what Council intends to do and how this should be funded for the coming 12 months.

What do I need to know about the 2023 – 2024 Annual Plan?

The plan covers what Council intends to do in the coming financial year (from 1 July 2023) and how it intends to pay for these activities.

Some of the key areas of focus for the draft 2023-2024 Annual Plan include Westport water, funding flood recovery costs, setting rates, Road to Zero funding, as well as Three waters reform and targeted rates. The plan also outlines Council’s financial performance and specific initiatives like the ongoing rates review and Council’s intention to engage with the community and stakeholders on the next stages of the Climate Change Adaptation Plan. Council will also consult on the 2024-2034 Long Term Plan in the coming 12 months. 

What is different this year to other years?

We did not seek submissions on the draft Annual Plan but welcomed your feedback.

Our proposed plan for 2023-2024 does not vary significantly from what we signalled in the 2021 – 2031 Long Term Plan, so we did not complete a formal consultation process. 

The community was invited to to provide feedback on the draft Annual Plan through a range of ways. 

Annual Plan 2023 timeline and key dates

  • Monday 8 May Community feedback welcomed  
  • Sunday 28 May Community feedback closed  
  • Wednesday 7 June Public workshop with Councillors  
  • Wednesday 28 June Council to adopt the Annual Plan  
  • Saturday 1 July Annual Plan comes into effect.  

Key things to know about the Draft 2023-2024 Annual Plan

Overall, rates are proposed to rise by an average of 6.8% from 1 July 2023.  

This is higher than the 5.4% forecast in the Long Term Plan, reflecting changes in economic conditions over the past twelve months. 

Funding impact of flood events   

Council is responsible for some of the flood recovery costs that are not covered by government funding, including the cost of the Emergency Operations Centre, and the thresholds for NEMA (the National Emergency Management Agency) and Waka Kotahi funding.

We’re proposing to use cash reserves to cover this shortfall, rather than setting a targeted rate to recover this cost over time or set a special levy.

In the Annual Plan we have accounted to cover a provisional estimate of $1.75 million.

Three waters reform and targeted rates 

The outcome of the government’s three waters reforms for the entire country currently remains uncertain but Council is planning on the assumption that the reforms will proceed, and assets will transfer to the new entity in the future. 

Council is facing rising costs for water and wastewater services, but we propose to hold water and wastewater targeted rates at the same level as in 2022-2023, while we wait for further clarity on the three waters reform.    

Holding these rates at the 2022-2023 level would result in a $1.2 million shortfall, which Council will fund initially from cash reserves, but we will need to recover this through increased rates in future years.  

Road to Zero funding   

Road to Zero is Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency’s road safety strategy, which aims to significantly reduce deaths and injuries on New Zealand roads.    

A key item in the strategy is to set safe speed limits around all schools by the end of 2027, with an interim target of 40% of schools by June 2024. We’ll start working with schools and communities to develop safe speed limits in the coming year. 

This initiative will cost $245,000 with $68,600 funded from general rates. 

Council has a range of other initiatives coming up that were already included in the 2023-2024 Annual Plan. They are: 

  • Community grants funding totalling $422,000 across tourism, museum and community grants   
  • Completing our rates review – to consider different rating system options and a preferred method for rates calculation   
  • Long Term Plan 2024-2034 – engaging with the community to set our direction for the next 10 years    
  • Continuing our property rationalisation project, to realise financial opportunities through the sale of surplus land and buildings which are underutilised   
  • Further investment of $325,000 in the Council-led urban revitalisation project, which aims to provide reliable, affordable services and infrastructure to create attractive, liveable towns and places    
  • Progress on upgrading Council’s information management systems    
  • Engaging with the community and stakeholders on the next stages of our Climate Change Adaptation Plan.  

In 2023-24 we are forecasting a total capital spend of $28.8 million. That’s a significant increase on the past two years and is paid for by Council, and various government agencies. 

This includes:

  • $9.8m roading network reinstatement (95 -100% Waka Kotahi funded) 
  • $2.1m local road renewals (72% Waka Kotahi funded) 
  • $1.0m Karamea Highway renewals (100% Waka Kotahi funded) 
  • $7.0m Infrastructure Acceleration Fund (upgrades from SH67 to Alma Road/McPaddens Rd) 
  • $0.5m Westport 3 Waters infrastructure, water supply and network improvements (NEMA) 
  • $0.3m Westport and surrounds 3 waters upgrade (DIA) 
  • $1.0m Westport water supply renewals and backflow prevention rollout 
  • $1.2m Westport sewer renewals 
  • $0.5m Reefton sewer renewals 
  • $1.3m stormwater upgrades and replacements 
  • $0.9m commercial and demolition waste project 
  • $0.4m Reefton Pool upgrades 
  • $0.4m NBS upgrades 
  • $0.3m Clocktower upgrades 

Every three years Council produces a Long Term Plan (LTP) setting out the budget and priorities for projects, activities and services that we will invest in and develop over a ten-year period.

The Long Term Plan is a comprehensive statement of the Council's intentions. It sets out our 10-year direction and work programme. The LTP incorporates the Annual Plan for that year. In the intervening years, an Annual Plan is produced on its own.

The Annual Plan sets out the Council’s operational and financial plans for the financial year. It must also identify variations from any budgets that have been allocated in the Long Term Plan.

The Long-Term Plan and Annual Plans are key documents covering: 

  • Key infrastructure: roads, footpaths, water, sewerage, stormwater, solid waste and drainage. 
  • Regulatory responsibilities: Resource Management Act, animal control, policies, monitoring and consents, building consents, food and liquor. 
  • Community services and support: community grants, libraries, theatres, cinemas and swimming pools. Emergency management. 
  • Community facilities: parks, reserves, housing for seniors and Council-owned properties. 

At the end of each financial year, Council produces an Annual Report which details what Council did during the financial year compared to what it planned to do in the LTP or Annual Plan. The Annual Report also outlines our achievements and accountability for decisions we make on behalf of the community.

It includes details of any significant variances in operational and capital expenditure. The Annual Report provides information about Council’s financial performance and position, service performance levels and progress on major projects.

Because the Draft 2023-2024 Annual Plan is not significantly or materially different to what was proposed in the Long Term Plan, we were not required to consult in a formal way. 

We care about what people in Buller think about the Draft Annual Plan so we were committed to informing you about key topics of the plan. Hence we provided updates on what is in the plan and how you could contribute your feedback throughout May.

While we were not formally consulting on this Annual Plan, we have started planning for the review of the 10-year Long Term Plan, which happens every three years. Towards the end of this year, we will pre-engage with our communities across Buller with a consultation process in the first half of 2024.  

You can read the Annual Plan Summary and Draft Annual Plan to find out more.

Copies can also be read at Council facilities in Westport and Reefton, as well as the Sue Thomson Casey Memorial Library in Westport, the DoC Visitor Centre in Punakaiki, the Karamea Information Centre, and the Northern Buller Resource Centre.  

If you have specific questions or queries, you can email   

You can talk to your elected members about the Annual Plan. 

You can watch the livestreamed Question and Answer session with Mayor Jamie Cleine

We won’t be taking applications for community funding during the 2023-2024 draft Annual Plan process. Funding that has already been approved for this financial year will be unaffected. 

However, consultation on the 2024-2034 Long Term Plan is just around the corner. Towards the end of this year, we will pre-engage with our communities across Buller with a formal consultation process in the first half of 2024.  

This will be the opportunity to pitch for your community initiative for 2024-2025. 

If you have any general questions around what community funding is available during our grant rounds, please contact our staff via email at