10-Year Plan FAQs

​​​10-YEAR PLAN CONSULTATION DOCUMENT  

HOW DO I HAVE MY SAY

WHAT’S DRIVING THE PROPOSED CHANGES?

RATES INCREASES

OTHER RATE CHANGES

PROJECTS, PLANS AND STRATEGIES

DEVELOPMENT CONTRIBUTIONS (DCs)


What is the 10-Year Plan?

All Councils are legally required to produce a 10-Year Plan and to revise this every three years. The 10-Year Plan sets out the Council's priorities, plans and budget for the coming decade. It includes specific capital projects that will be delivered by Council and sets out how much they will cost and when they will happen. It also sets out levels of service delivery.

To date the draft 10-Year Plan has been agreed by the Council. It is this budget that we are seeking your feedback on to help us decide what should be in the final 10-Year Plan.

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What is the consultation document?

In December 2017 the Council discussed the four big challenges it is currently facing and agreed a draft 2018-28 10-Year Plan to address these. The consultation document explains the challenges and how the Council is proposing to address them as well as some alternative options.

This is not the detail of the 10-Year Plan but an overview of the key matters we need your feedback on.

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Where can I find the information?

The consultation document is on the Council's website, hamilton.govt.nz/10yearplan, along with submission forms, information provided at elected member briefings and other useful documents and supporting information for the 10-Year Plan.

The consultation document is available at all branches of Hamilton City Libraries and the Council's Municipal Building reception. You can also phone the Council on 838 6699 during business hours and request a copy of the consultation document and submission forms.

A summary of the key points of the consultation document and details on the submission process will be in the April edition of Council's newspaper City News.

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What if I want to know about something that is not mentioned in the consultation document?

You can contact us on 838 6699 during business hours, email us at 10yearplan@hcc.govt.nz​ or talk to our staff at our mobile 10-Year Plan stands who can find the right people to answer your questions. The schedule of where the mobile stand will be throughout April is here .

Check this list of frequently-asked-questions to see if your question is covered here.

If your request is very large or complex it may need to go through our Local Government Official Information Act Request process.

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How do I make a submission?

You can make your submission online through our website. If you can't make an online submission you can fill in a hard copy submission form (see "Where can I find the information").

You can also get help from our staff at one of our mobile information stands. The stand will be at key sites around the city during the submission period, for the list of venues and dates, click here. The Council's Facebook page and the April edition of the Council's newspaper City News will also tell you where the mobile stand will be or you can phone 838 6699 during business hours to ask when the team will be at a site near you.

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When will I be able to give my feedback on the 10-Year Plan and what is the process?

  • Consultation is open from 29 March to 30 April 2018.
  • In mid-May 2018 people who have made submissions can present verbal submissions to the Council.
  • Throughout the rest of May2018 the submissions will be reviewed and analysed.
  • By early June 2018 the Council will make its final deliberations on the draft 10-Year Plan.
  • From 11-20 June the 10-Year Plan will be finalised and audited.
  • The 10-Year Plan will be adopted on 28/29 June 2018 and take effect from 1 July 2018.

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What if I gave you my views on Facebook?

It won't count as a formal submission, but we will be collating general data about feedback on social media and other informal channels and giving this to councillors through the review process.

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I'm not a ratepayer, can I still have a say?

Yes. Anyone can make a submission. If you live, work and play in Hamilton or even just visit you use our services, facilities and infrastructure and we want to hear what you think about the Council's plans for these.

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How do I access the document if I am visually impaired?

There is a link to an MS Word version of the submission form you can use with your word reader.

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How do I access the document if I am hearing impaired?

There is a link to a New Zealand Sign Language video of the submission form and how to provide feedback in NZSL.

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Why do you need to put my rates up?

Hamilton's rates are not enough to run a city of our size. The Council is proposing rates increases because our everyday revenue (from rates and user fees and charges) has not been covering our everyday costs, and it hasn't been for some time. Everyday costs are things like providing drinking water, rubbish collection, park maintenance and repairing roads.

We have been borrowing around $10m every year for the past five years to continue everyday costs for several reasons:

  • Tight budgets have led to under-investment in the maintenance and replacement of some assets and now we need to catch up.
  • Higher-than-expected growth has compounded the problem, as the extra revenue from new ratepayers is less than the increased costs to provide services to them and look after new assets.
  • On top of this compliance costs have been increasing making it more expensive to do business. New rules about how we manage water and stormwater, new health and safety requirements and other changes in government legislation such as for earthquake-prone buildings all increase the everyday costs of running the city. 

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What if we don't increase rates?

Increasing cost pressures have made it harder and harder to work within current budgets. Big cost reductions cannot be achieved without stopping some services entirely, or closing some council facilities.  The Council is not proposing this.

We would see our facilities and infrastructure decline in quality if we don't invest in the funds necessary to repair and maintain these. Investment in new infrastructure would be limited and add to problems already being experienced as we come under greater pressure from population growth – like traffic congestion.

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Do we have to expand the city?

Yes. We can't opt out of growing the city because the Government has set land supply targets that we must meet. 

The law also says the Council has a role to provide infrastructure that supports a growing city.  We are responsible for the big infrastructure that connects subdivisions up to the city's network, such as treatment plants, water reservoirs, large sewer and water pipes and roads.  We're also responsible for upgrading the city-wide services to absorb the extra load from infill housing.

Relying on private developers to do this work can lead to ad-hoc infrastructure that doesn't link well to the rest of the city and ends up costing us more to fix in the long run. It's also unaffordable for developers to provide some of the infrastructure needed - like a new bridge over the Waikato River. In these situations, the Council provides the infrastructure and the costs are shared by developers (through contributions they pay) and ratepayers.  

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Why can't the Council find the money from somewhere other than rates?

The Council considered many ways to find the money needed to run the city without increasing rates. The main way to do this would be to cut services to reduce costs. However, in the draft 10-Year Plan the Council has chosen not to close facilities or stop any of the services currently provided.

The Council is looking into how the organisation works and in the draft 10-Year Plan has committed to finding $55m over the 10 years through innovation and changing the way we do things.

A lot of effort is going into seeking and leveraging effective partnerships, third party funding and subsidies where these are available. The Council is fortunate to have a number of key partners including neighbouring Councils, Government, philanthropic as well as private sector groups who support us to deliver infrastructure and services to our community.

Subsidies and other arrangements with central government are important ways that the Council seeks to keep costs of ratepayers. The Housing Infrastructure Fund interest free loan and NZTA subsidies are examples of these.

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Is the Council spending enough looking after our current assets?

Yes, Council staff have calculated the budget needed to look after our existing assets.  This budget is currently fully funded in the draft 10-Year Plan budget and the funds set aside to replace existing assets are much higher than previous years. 

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Will we have more issues with places like Founders, the Central Library and Waterworld?

We are doing what we can to avoid this and to rectify the low levels of investment in maintenance and renewals that led to the issues we have had.  The Council has budgeted and set aside enough money to make sure we look after the assets we have. Historically there has not been enough money spent on some of the building assets, however the budget going forward will allow for all known maintenance and renewal needs.

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What will my rates be?

There are different options for rates in the draft 10-Year Plan. The Council's preferred option is an average 9.5% rates increase for each of the next two years, plus a change to full capital value rating and the inclusion of a $500 Uniform Annual General Charge.

The rates increase is an average of 9.5%. As such, your rate change may be higher or lower than this. What your rates will be is affected by several factors including:

  • your rating category;
  • the number of SUIPs;
  • the ratios of your land value to capital value; and
  • your capital value compared to other properties.

Each ratepayer will get a letter (or email if you are registered for these) detailing how proposed changes would impact their rates. There is also an online tool where you can look up what your rates would be under each option in the consultation document.

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Will my rates be lower if you don't invest in new assets?

The Council's contribution to building new assets is funded by borrowing which is repaid over time.  This is so that ratepayers who benefit from the use of these assets, now and in the future, all help to pay for them.

Most of the everyday costs related to these assets, including interest, depreciation and running costs, are paid for by rates. In general, if we reduce the amount we spend on new assets, we take on less debt and reduce the amount of rates needed to pay for everyday costs. However, because the nature and timing of investment for every project is unique, the actual impact on rates in any given year is highly variable.

The majority of everyday costs relating to the Peacocke and Rotokauri growth proposals start after Year 2 of the draft 10-Year Plan. These are spread over several years, as are projects in the Transport Improvement Programme. So, changing our investment in these areas would not have a significant impact on the 9.5% rates increase required in the first two years of the 10-Year Plan. 

However, a number of Community Infrastructure projects do have relatively high everyday costs in the early years of the 10-Year Plan, so changing our investment in this area could impact the rates required in the first two years.

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Is there any help if I can't afford the rate increase?

Yes. The New Zealand Government has a rates rebate scheme that provides subsidies to low income home owners. This scheme works on a sliding scale and is specific to your usual place of residence on 1 July each year. If you have a household income of less than $42,000 you may be eligible for a rebate depending on the level of your rates and the number of dependants you have. The Government updates the criteria for this scheme each year.

Hamilton also has its own rates rebate scheme that you may also benefit from. The Council provides an option of lower rates for some people. There are criteria you need to meet to access this support – the first of which is you will need to qualify for the government scheme. You can find out more information and whether you are eligible for a rate rebate under the current policy here.

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What is a UAGC and what does it mean?

A Uniform Annual General Charge (UAGC) is a fixed portion of the rate set the same for every ratepayer. The proposed UAGC is $500 and this is part of the rates not on top of them.

A UAGC helps smooths out the impact of moving to capital value rating - it takes a bit off rates on high value properties and puts a bit on rates on low value properties. This would make Hamilton rates more comparable with other similar cities in New Zealand. The UAGC is proposed to increase annually at the same rate as the CV general rate.

The UAGC will be charged on the basis of SUIPs. SUIP stands for Separately Used or Inhabited Part of a rating unit. You can find more detail on this here. That means every dwelling and business will pay a UAGC for each SUIP, so if there are multiple dwellings or businesses on one rates bill they will each pay a UAGC. Most properties only have one SUIP and therefore only pay one UAGC but if you have two SUIPs you will pay two UAGCs.

The rates letter sent in the first week of April tells you how many SUIPs we have recorded for your property. This information is also available on the website.

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How do our rates compare?

We are the second smallest council area in New Zealand and one of the major cities. Our average residential rate is lower than other fast-growing councils in New Zealand and our neighbouring districts. Hamilton serves as a hub for the region by providing transport infrastructure and sporting and cultural facilities such as FMG Stadium, Waikato Museum, Hamilton Gardens which are used by people from outside our rating area.

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Why are we moving from Land Value to Capital Value?

Most councils in New Zealand use a capital value rating system and not a land value based rating system. Under a land value rating system rates are calculated on the value of the land of the property only, whereas a capital value rating system uses the total value of the property – land and buildings combined.

In 2014, the Council decided a rating system based on total value of the property not just the land was more appropriate and resolved to change from a land value to a capital value based rating system. We are not consulting on the fact we are making the move, only that we are proposing to move to capital value rating faster.

We now are in the third year of a 10-year transition from land value to capital value rating.  The Council is now proposing to complete this transition faster and move to full capital value rating in the 2018/19 financial year which starts 1 July 2018.  

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What is the change to the rural rate?

The Council is proposing to increase rates on rural properties within the Hamilton boundary, to be on par with residential rates (except for water and wastewater components of rates as rural properties do not receive those services). For more information see the Rating Review Statement of Proposal here .

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There were other things I heard the councillors discuss. What happened to them?

The Council discussed a range of projects and some projects were not voted into the draft 10-Year Plan.  There is still a chance that these may be put back up for discussion as part of the final Council deliberations if a lot of support is raised for them during the submissions process.

If Council was to add a lot more projects than currently planned, these would need to be in the latter years of the 10-Year Plan and could lead to further rates increases in the future.

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What is happening with all the projects in the other strategies and plans for example the River Plan?

A number of strategies and plans were developed after the last 10-Year Plan and not fully funded in that plan.

As part of developing the draft 2018-28 10-Year Plan, the projects within these strategies and plans have been considered by the Council for funding. Some projects have been voted into the draft 10-Year Plan budget, some haven't and others have evolved. For example, the River Plan while retaining certain projects, has been expanded to include a Central City Park concept.

The strategies and plans remain relevant to guiding the direction of the Council even if the projects are currently not prioritised for funding. Other projects may be reconsidered by the Council and included in the final 10-Year Plan if a lot of support is raised for them during the submissions process.

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What are Development Contributions for?

A Development Contribution is a one-off charge on new developments to ensure any development creating additional demand on Council infrastructure contributes to the extra cost that it imposes on the community.

Development Contributions are collected for water supply, wastewater, stormwater, reserves and transport.

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How do these compare to other cities?

Our proposed charges are similar to, or higher than, other major growth areas. 

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Will this affect housing affordability?

A higher DC charge does add to the overall cost of building housing which could either be absorbed into profit margins or have an impact on the end sale price. 

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Who would pay if developers don't?

Increasing DCs is a way to have developers pay for their fair share of the cost of growth. If DCs do not increase, the ratepayer will be left to pick up the bill.

The Council does work hard to secure, where possible, outside funding deals including NZ Transport Agency subsidies and the Council's Housing Infrastructure Fund proposal to make it more affordable. 

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Where can I find more information about Development Contributions?

For more information on Development Contributions including who pays when, view our Development Contributions page here. You will also find a link to the consultation page for the draft DC Policy there. 

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What is happening with rubbish and recycling?

Through a 'bags or bins' consultation process in 2016, we asked Hamiltonians about what type of kerbside rubbish and recycling collection they wanted.  The feedback we received showed overwhelming support for wheeled bins for rubbish instead of black bags, more recycling options and a food waste collection. The Council is currently in the process of negotiating contracts to deliver the new service. 

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You can also get in touch on Facebook or send an email 10yearplan@hcc.govt.nz ​​

Page reviewed: 12 Apr 2018 2:15pm