The Department of Internal Affairs

The Department of Internal Affairs

Te Tari Taiwhenua

Building a safe, prosperous and respected nation

 

Kaikōura long-term plan Order in Council

 

The draft Order in Council


The Minister of Local Government is consulting on a proposed change to Kaikōura District Council planning requirements. The change is to reduce the burden during the recovery period and to focus the Council’s strategic planning around its recovery efforts.

This will require an Order in Council under the Hurunui/ Kaikōura Earthquakes Recovery Act 2016 to remove the long-term planning requirements on the Council and replace them with a customised three-year plan.

The draft Order in Council is attached here for you to review. We have provided some Q&As on the proposal below, including the reasons why an Order in Council is necessary.

Submissions must be received by midnight 15 January 2018 and can be sent to: kdcplan2018@dia.govt.nz or KDC Plan 2018 Submission, Department of Internal Affairs, PO Box 805, Wellington 6140.

Questions and Answers

Reasons assessment: Why an Order in Council is necessary

The Council does not have the capability or capacity to conduct the extensive planning process in parallel to earthquake recovery efforts. Persevering to produce a long-term plan would divert the Council’s focus away from the ongoing recovery efforts:

  • Long-term planning must have a detailed understanding of the present situation, including the financials and fundamentals such as asset condition and performance in order to plan for the future. The Council simply cannot meet the statutory requirements of a long-term plan with the information available at this time.
  • A long-term plan produced by the Council for this period is likely to be inaccurate and lack the necessary information to provide for meaningful community consultation on the future direction of the District.
  • The extensive process of adopting a long-term plan would require the Council to divert resources away from recovery efforts, which at this point need to be given the higher priority.

The preparation of a customised three-year plan in place of the standard long-term plan is considered necessary given the high level of uncertainty and the draw on Council resources to coordinate the recovery. The ten-year period of the long-term plan is not a realistic financial planning horizon, given the scale of the asset and infrastructure damage and subsequent funding uncertainties.

Preparing a customised three year planning document is considered reasonable under these circumstances.  It will reduce the planning burden on the Council and is better suited to a short-medium term focus on recovery. It will provide the Kaikōura communities with more useful information on the strategic planning for the district and will allow the Council to continue to focus on recovery efforts.

What is an Order in Council?

An Order in Council is a legislative instrument that is made by the Governor General to give effect to a decision by the Executive arm of the Government. The power to approve the proposed Order in Council comes from the Hurunui/Kaikōura Earthquakes Recovery Act 2016. The Order is able to alter the requirements of specific Acts, including the Local Government Act 2002.

What will the Order in Council do?

This is a temporary solution to support the Council over the medium-term. The Order will maintain as much of the traditional planning process as possible, but will customise the Council’s plan to reflect the recovery process.

The proposed Order would allow the Council to set a three-year plan that reflects the recovery efforts for the district, rather than a traditional long-term plan that contains extensive financial and infrastructure planning looking forward at least 10 years. The Council will return to the standard long-term plan process in 2021 at which point it will have better information to produce long-term forecasts.

What does a standard long-term plan do and how is it set?

The Local Government Act 2002 requires the Council to prepare a long-term plan every three years. The long-term plan also acts as a local authority’s annual plan for the first year it is adopted.

The long-term plan sets the strategic direction for the Council’s level of service provision and financial, infrastructure and asset management. It forecasts impacts and needs for Council activities over at least ten-years. The long-term plan does not commit the Council to any specific actions, but some decisions can only be made if they are provided for in a long-term plan.

Why three years and not ten?

Ongoing uncertainties about the extent of Kaikōura’s infrastructure damage, and its financial implications mean that the ten-year period is not a realistic financial planning horizon. A ten-year plan would be based on information and assumptions about recovery and business as usual post recovery. That supporting information is not clear yet. 

All local authorities must adopt a new long-term plan every three years. Reducing the plan to this period will keep the Council in alignment with this planning cycle.

What would the proposed three-year plan include?

Under the draft Order, the three-year plan will provide most of the same information as a long-term plan but with a three-year outlook rather than a ten-year one. The three-year plan will identify key challenges for the coming years, describe the Council’s intentions to deal with these, and discuss how this will be funded. The plan will also discuss things that are expected to have a significant impact on the Council during the next three years, including levels of service to be delivered during the recovery.

The Council will still need to prepare and adopt an annual plan for each financial year, with the three-year plan acting as the annual plan for 2018/19.

The proposed Order does not include audit requirements for the three-year plan, as this is impractical given the quality of the information available at this time and content of the plan. The plan will, however, be required to clearly set out information limitations and assumptions made by the Council in developing the plan. Annual plans and annual reports will continue to be audited.

How can I be involved in the three-year planning process?

Community consultation during the long-term planning process provides the basis for a dialogue between the Council and its residents. Community consultation will remain part of the process for adopting the three-year plan.

The Council will use what’s known as the ‘special consultative procedure’ as part of the process for adopting the three-year plan, and for any subsequent amendments to the plan. Under the Order this means the Council will make available a summary description and a copy of the draft three-year plan, and will provide an opportunity for you to present your views on the plan to the Council.