Keeping rates real – NPDC asks what’s in, what’s out?

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Rising rates bills are an unwanted headache for New Plymouth District residents, who are already struggling with runaway inflation.

This is the fourth chapter in a six-week public conversation seeking feedback on five big issues that are important to our district as we work on our draft 10-year Plan.

These are:


So how can New Plymouth District Council (NPDC) tighten its belt to ease the burden as we look at how we manage $4 billion in assets and our $3 billion budget in our draft 10-year work programme? 


“We’re navigating an economic storm that we haven’t seen since the 1970s. We have a track record of prudent financial management with the highest possible rating of AA+ from international rating agency S&P Global, but we can’t crunch our budget numbers any lower, so like every household we’ve got to decide where our money is best spent,” says Mayor Neil Holdom.


NPDC Councillor Sam Bennett is resolute that our residents are suffering severe hardship.


“Every day people are coming to me as their elected official to say enough is enough. Our community is telling me that they cannot afford double-figure rate increases at a time when they cannot pay their mortgages or put food on the table for their families. It’s time to stop, pause and reset. Finding the balance between long-term rates affordability and service provision is achievable, but we will need to focus on efficiencies across the entire organisation. Sadly, for many we are not living our vision of a Sustainable Lifestyle Capital,” says NPDC Councillor Bennett.               


It’s important to remember that rates account for less than half of NPDC’s operating and capital expenditure each year. The rest comes from fees and charges like parking, pools and alcohol licensing; Central Government, which chips in half of our transport costs; our Perpetual Investment Fund; and other grants and private donations.


Should we maintain fewer walkways, parks, playgrounds and public toilets? Could users take up more of the financial burden for parking and pools by raising charges again?


If we cut back lawnmowing on walkways and in parks by 20%, we’d save about $100,000, but the last time this happened our residents weren’t happy with the longer grass.


Dropping the Winter Festival of Lights, for instance, would save about $162,000 but last year it pulled about 15,000 people into our city centre.


Whatever happens it’s time to bite the bullet and have some tough conversations.


“I continue to be extremely concerned about the compounding effects of rates rises which will impact our kids and future generations. We live in a great place with our Mountain and Sea, but we need to keep rates affordable rather than investing in big expensive projects which don’t measure up, especially when we can all enjoy our natural assets for free,” says NPDC Councillor Murray Chong.


Every three years, residents help us build our draft 10-year work programme to manage $4 billion worth of assets and $3 billion budget.

Give us a hand by completing this short survey. Everyone who completes it goes into the draw to win one of five $300 shopping vouchers. Find out more at


Feedback closes 5pm, Wednesday 12 July.