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Long Term Plan FAQs

What is a Long Term Plan?

A Long Term Plan is a 10-year budgeted plan that your Council puts together once every three years for all the work we do on your behalf.

Do we get a say on it?

Yes. A Long Term Plan for the next 10 years (2021-31) can’t be adopted by Council until it has been consulted on with you. Consultation for the Long Term Plan took place between 7 April 2021 and 7 May 2021.

We received and considered more than 600 submissions before finalising and adopting the Long Term Plan 2021-2031 on 28 June 2021. You can read about the process we followed on our website here.”


Why have my rates gone up?

Your rates have gone up because the cost for the work that we do for you is rising. Government reform in the three waters area (drinking water, wastewater and stormwater) is also expected to have a major impact. We have worked hard to balance the need to invest in infrastructure to support the growth in our district with rates affordability.

Individual rate increases overall will vary depending on your property type (residential, lifestyle, rural, commercial or industrial), your property value and location, and the services available to you.  You can check your rates here.

What's the difference between general rates and targeted rates, and what is the UAGC?

Your rates are made up of two types: general rates and targeted rates.

General rates primarily pay for Council services that are available to all properties in the district (like roading, parks and reserves, libraries).

Targeted rates are a user-pays rate, which covers services (such as water, wastewater, rubbish and recycling collections), and these are charged according to the location of your property and the services available.

The general rate is made up of two parts; one is variable and is linked to the value of your property, and one is a fixed charge that is the same amount for every property. The fixed charge is called the Uniform Annual General Charge (UAGC)

Who pays targeted rates?

You only pay targeted rates for localised services like wastewater and rubbish collections if you own a property with access to these services. 

I live rurally - what do I get for my rates?

The general rate pays for services that are available to everyone in the district, even if you live further away. It covers the cost of roads, parks and reserves, libraries and so on. We understand roads are of high importance for our rural residents and ratepayers. With the establishment of the Waikato District Alliance, our response time to customer requests for roading work has dropped from an average of six days to less than two days.

What does an audit opinion mean?

The Local Government Act 2002 requires the Auditor-General to audit the consultation document and the Long Term Plan (LTP). For both, the audit report must cover the auditor’s opinion on:
  • whether the document gives effect to the purpose set out in the Act;
  • and the quality of the information and assumptions underlying the forecast information provided in the document.

The purpose of the consultation document is different to the purpose of the LTP. In auditing the consultation document, Audit determine whether it provides an effective basis for consultation (with a particular emphasis on whether it fairly represents the matter(s) a council proposes to include in its LTP).

What is an emphasis of matter?

The inclusion of an emphasis of matter paragraph doesn’t mean that the auditor has found anything wrong. The auditor simply wants to draw the readers’ attention to something that’s important. Audit have previously described an emphasis-of-matter paragraph as the auditor’s way of calling out “Hey, reader! Make sure you take a note of this.”

For every territorial local authority, the auditor has included an emphasis of matter paragraph in the audit report to draw readers’ attention to the council’s own disclosures about the proposed three waters reform. Although councils have prepared their consultation document as if these services will continue to be provided by the council, future decisions might result insignificant changes. However, because no decisions have yet been made, councils simply don’t have the information available to present anything but the status quo.

A number of emphasis of matter paragraphs have also drawn readers’ attention to the delivery of capital expenditure programmes. For those, the auditor has gained assurance that the council’s forecast programme can reasonably be delivered. However, there is still a high degree of uncertainty because of matters like the availability of contractors and suppliers, and what other councils and organisations might be planning. The audit report on a council’s consultation document might include other emphasis of matter paragraphs for other reasons.

What is the development contributions policy all about?

Development contributions is money that developers pay towards the costs of infrastructure required for growth. This could include water supply and wastewater pipes, roads and footpaths, parks and reserves.

The policy outlines in more detail how development contributions works in our district. You can find a copy of this policy on our Development Contributions page.