You can now have your say on a budget that aims to keep rates increases down while continuing to deliver the basics and invest in the Christchurch's future.
The Council's Draft Annual Plan 2023/24 is open for public feedback until Monday 10 April 2023, and proposes what we'll spend on projects and day-to-day services over the next financial year and how they'll be financed. Read more on Newsline.(external link)
There were four big issues at top of mind when we developed the Long Term Plan 2021–31.
They remain key priorities, and they've shaped the decisions about our spending over the next year.
With sea levels rising and storm surges becoming more frequent, the effects of climate change are already being felt in Christchurch. We’re adapting to our changing environment and making decisions in the face of uncertainty. This Draft Annual Plan continues to draw on the commitments to climate resilience we set out in the Long Term Plan 2021–31, as well as set the scene for further work in the Long Term Plan 2034–34. While we’re still considering the details, there’s also a firm commitment to the proposed Climate Emergency Response Fund (CERF) funding offered to Christchurch to help us with climate-related initiatives.
Our city is growing. That means more people contributing to our economy, but it also means more demand for services. You’ve told us to keep rates as low as we can while continuing to invest in our city for future generations – this requires a careful balance of priorities and funding, while weighing up the effects of inflation, rising interest rates and the ongoing ripples of COVID-19.
Upgrading our aging infrastructure is always a focus, and we’re continuing with our programme of repairs, maintenance and enhancements. We’re delivering $15.3 billion in capital projects over the next 30 years. We’re taking the same approach we took last year when we adjusted our budgets: focusing on what we can realistically do, given the wider economic environment.
With nationwide water reform in the pipeline, the Council will maintain its focus on protecting our water source and ensuring Christchurch’s water is safe and secure. We’re also continuing to invest in the infrastructure required for the collection and disposal of wastewater and stormwater.
The Government is establishing four independent entities to deliver the wastewater, stormwater and drinking water services that are currently being provided by local authorities. Until 1 July 2024, when those entities are up and running, local authorities will continue to be responsible for providing water services to their communities.
Your rates are used to pay for day-to-day operational spending.
We know inflation is pushing up the cost of living for residents so we want to keep rate increases as low as possible.
We want your opinion on whether we should consider lowering the Uniform General Annual Charge (UAGC) to try and reduce the impact on the revaluation increases on some of our lower income households. Doing this would also mean the shortfall caused by this reduction would need to be recovered from the capital value portion of our general rate.
The UAGC is a fixed portion of every rates bill charged across all ratepayers, and reflects that many of the things the Council does – like roads, parks, libraries, etc. – benefit everyone equally. We do it to avoid placing too much weight on the capital value of people's homes as the basis for the rates we charge, and gives us a wider tax base. Read a summary in our consultation document(external link), or get all the details here [PDF, 2.2 MB].
The significant increase in the residential valuations will move more of the rates burden from business to residential ratepayers. Without some action from the Council, this will increase rates for most residential ratepayers while reducing rates for most business ratepayers. At present, business properties account for 22% of the city’s capital value and pay 26% of all our total rates. To keep the proportion of rates paid by business properties the same, we’re proposing to increase their general rate differential. Read more.(external link)
The main reason we've introduced the Excess Water Supply Targeted Rate(external link) to help reduce the extreme demand on our water supply network at certain times, particularly over summer. If we can do this, it means we won't have to spend as much money upgrading and building new infrastructure to cope with the extreme demand.
At the moment, residential properties have an allowance of 700 litres of water a day before we start charging for their excess water supply. We’re proposing increasing this average daily allowance to 900 litres from 1 July 2023. This proposal is already included in our proposed 5.68% rates increase, and it accounts for 0.10% of it in 2023/24. If the proposal doesn’t go ahead and the limit stays at 700, it would reduce the overall rates increase by 0.10%.
While this won’t affect next year’s annual plan, we would like your feedback on a proposal to extend the City Vacant Differential rating from 1 July 2024. We introduced the City Vacant differential rating in 2022 to encourage owners of vacant land in the central city to keep their sites neat and tidy, and now we want to consider extending this to other areas of the city with the same issues. Read more.(external link)
Since our Long Term Plan 2021–31 was confirmed, the economic environment in Christchurch has been affected by the same factors that the whole world is navigating – interest rates, inflation, supply issues, a tight labour market, geopolitical instability, and more. Government reforms on the horizon also need to be factored in.
All this means the playing field is uncertain, but the adjustments we’re proposing in our budget give us the flexibility to respond as and when we need to.
Operational expenditure for 2023/24 is $48.4 million more than what was forecast in the LTP. This includes the overall inflation of $24.5 million, which is higher than forecast, and cost increases we have little control over – things like insurance, electricity and road condition assessment, which amount to $9.1 million.
Excluding property-based rates, which are our biggest source of revenue, our total revenue for 2023/24 is $459.6 million – $149.4 million higher than what was forecast in the LTP.
We propose $241 million of new borrowing in the Draft Annual Plan to help us deliver our capital programme in 2023/24 – $171 million lower than planned for in the LTP. We also propose to repay $60.2 million of existing debt.
See the major proposed changes.(external link)
This is spending on the construction of facilities and infrastructure. We’ve reviewed the whole capital programme with a focus on deliverability– there’s no need to charge the ratepayer for work in 2023/24 if we don’t think we’ll be realistically able to do it that year.
The Draft Annual Plan shows our commitment to our priorities for the capital programme:
With an ever-changing economic environment created by supply chain issues, cost escalation, the Government’s proposed reforms, and the availability of human resources to actually do all the work, we’re being realistic about what we can deliver, and when. That means we’ll invest a total of $616 million in the capital programme in 2023/24. This is $137 million less than what was in the LTP 2021, amended by the FY23 Annual Plan. Read more.(external link)
The Council has a small number of properties which are no longer being used for the purpose they were originally acquired for.
We want your feedback as part of this Draft Annual Plan to help us decide the future of each property.
See the full list of the properties and more information.(external link)
The properties we’re putting up for consideration make up less than 1% of the Council’s overall portfolio and won’t affect current levels of service. Because owning property has a cost, it’s good financial practice to continually review the portfolio and decide whether to keep or dispose of properties that are no longer being used for their original purpose. Read more.(external link)
Browse the Draft Annual Plan 2023/24 in full or chapter by chapter.
Read the Draft Annual Plan 2023/24 in full. [PDF, 4.1 MB]
You can also read the Draft Annual Plan 2023/24 chapter by chapter:
The easiest way to see all our proposed changes at a glance is using our handy online search tool.
This is your handy guide to the Council projects that are affected by the Draft Annual Plan.
Search by the area you live in, the type of project, the project name or even just a key word, and see at a glance what sort of funding has been proposed for the next three years for all sorts of different things.