Monday, March 4, 2024

Hastings begins buyback consultation

Consultation on Hastings District Council’s involvement in the voluntary purchasing of Category 3 residential properties, which will unlock a regional funding offer from the Crown, is planned to begin today.

Hastings District Council, along with the other Hawke’s Bay local authorities, has been in
discussions with Central Government to arrive at a Cyclone Gabrielle support package that
enables the region’s communities to move forward with their lives.

The funding package secures $556m Crown funding for the whole region, of which almost $350m is directly for the Hastings District.

This comprises around $197m for repairs to roads and bridges across Hastings – a $50m increase over standard transport funding – and would support $100m funding for flood mitigation in the district.

As part of the funding package the Crown is calling on councils that have Category 3 properties in their jurisdictions to participate in voluntary Category 3 property purchases.

The Crown has made a regional provision to share these costs 50/50 with the councils involved, of which Hastings District Council’s share is estimated to be about $50m.

This contribution would be offset by the transport funding received, and as such this particular package would not have an impact on rates for Hastings residents, Council said in a statement.

“As the Category 3 voluntary residential property purchases are a new activity for Council, which will need to be provided for in the 2021-2031 Long Term Plan LTP), community feedback is being sought on changing the LTP to allow for this new activity, along with the changes to the revenue and finance policy.”

Hastings Mayor, Sandra Hazlehurst said the proposal stemmed from complex negotiations over several weeks.

“The negotiation teams have been working extremely hard to get the best outcome for Hastings residents, as well as other communities around the region,” she said.

“This funding package offer does not directly impact rates, but the reality is even though this particular offer is cost-neutral, and we would be no worse off than we would have been if we didn’t take on the role of voluntary property purchases, we still have an expensive road to recovery, and that will mean future rate increases.”

The remaining costs – after government funding – would need to be paid for locally. How they would be paid for, and the rating implications, will be a primary focus for Council when it puts together its 2024-2034 Long Term Plan, which it will consult on during 2024, Council said.

Residents can find more detail about the Government recovery funding package and have their say at www.myvoicemychoice.co.nz.

Information and feedback forms will also be available at the Hastings, Havelock North and
Flaxmere Libraries and a number of public information sessions are planned within the next two weeks, details of which will be publicised when confirmed.

The consultation will close on Wednesday, September 5.

Latest Articles