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Our Challenges

National and Local Context

We understand that people around New Zealand are facing cost-of-living pressures that make it harder to manage further rates increases. Councils around the country face similar challenges. Costs to maintain and build infrastructure for services like water and transportation have increased a lot recently. Climate change and preparing for climate-related emergencies is another issue facing all councils that will cost time and money.

Locally, Napier has many issues that need attention. There are unexpected costs from Cyclone Gabrielle, with parts of our community still recovering from this event.

We need to stay focused on cyclone recovery while still providing the core services and infrastructure the community needs and expects of us. We must also keep working on other important projects that will help us achieve our community outcomes.

We believe it’s important to adapt to these challenges by changing the way we do some things. We want to be a financially sustainable Council, so we’re looking at taking a more commercial approach to how we operate some of our services. We are also thinking about how our assets can work harder for us, to bring in more income for the city and reduce pressure on ratepayers.

Changing how we do things means we’ll need to make bold decisions. It will take time and focused effort, but it will result in a firm foundation for a sustainable future.

There are internal and external factors that are affecting our ability to deliver all the services and activities we want for the city. These challenges also make it harder to keep our rates increases as low as they have been historically.

Internal challenges

Ageing infrastructure (physical assets)

To help keep rates low in previous years, we have taken a more risk-based approach to managing our physical assets. We have now reached a point where significant investment in these assets is needed to deliver required levels of service and keep up with Napier’s growth.

Inability to deliver on time

Over the past few years, staff shortages with certain roles, supply chain issues and external events such as Cyclone Gabrielle mean we’ve struggled to complete projects in the time we said they would take. This has resulted in budgets and work being moved to the next financial year, creating an even bigger work programme the following year.

Financial sustainability

Our external and internal challenges have made it harder to maintain our financial sustainability. In response to this, we reviewed different parts of our organisation and considered new ideas to see if there were any efficiencies, cost savings, or opportunities to make further income for the city. We want to know what you think about these reviews and plans.

External challenges

Impacts of Cyclone Gabrielle

Cyclone Gabrielle affected Hawke’s Bay and Napier City Council in many ways. Our Wastewater Treatment Plant became inoperable, and we had to spend a large amount of money and staff time on recovery work that will continue for a few years. The cyclone affected our ability to deliver what we had planned over the last 12 months. We need to be realistic about what we can deliver for Napier over the next three years. You can read more about our recovery projects on the Our Recovery Plans page here.

Increasing inflation and affordability

Just like everyone, we are feeling the impacts of rising costs. This is mainly through increasing insurance premiums and labour costs. To help us achieve our priority of being a financially sustainable council, we need to live within our means.

Long term effects from Covid-19 and Napier’s 2020 floods

Some projects were put on hold while we focused on dealing with these events. We’re still catching up on the work we had to put on hold. This has had a knock-on effect on the timing and funding of other projects and essential work.

Climate change and the environment

Climate change presents challenges. It affects our health and wellbeing, our safety, the natural and built environments, food production, essential infrastructure and the economy.

We want to become a more resilient city. It’s important that we lead our community in improving climate resilience and reducing emissions, but it’s not just up to Council. We will need authentic partnerships with residents, businesses, industries, community organisations, government agencies and other local councils. Building climate resilience includes having more sustainable transport and urban development. It includes improved water quality and management and improved biodiversity.

We have a role in educating and helping people to take ownership of these matters. We also need to get our own house in order, by reducing our carbon footprint across all areas of our work. We are developing an emissions reduction plan that is aligned with New Zealand’s targets and will roll this out over the next three years.

How to have your say

We've provided a number of ways for people to have their say on Napier's Three-Year Plan. 

  • If you need assistance or would like a copy of the full document, pop in and see the friendly team at our Customer Service Centre, Napier Library or Taradale Library.
  • Come and see us at one of our drop-in sessions on Sunday 7 April, Saturday 13 April and Saturday 20 April.
  • Complete the online submission form here.

NDiS logoNapier's Three-Year Plan consultation document is also available in various alternative formats, including easy-to-read, audio, and New Zealand Sign Language (NZSL). You can access these files here.

A pdf version of the consultation information is available here. Please make your submission online here.

Do you want to hear from us more often and have your say on other Napier projects?

Join our People's Panel

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