Annual Plan 2023-24

No longer on display. Expired on 30 June 2023, 12:00 AM

Annual Plan engagement document cover

Thank you for your feedback on the 2023-24 Annual Plan. Feedback on our 2023-24 Annual Plan closed on Sunday 30 April but you can still read about the issues, challenges and projects we'll be working on in the upcoming financial year. 

We are committed to our vision of making the Waitaki District the best place to be – whenua taurikura! Part of this involves developing an Annual Plan for each financial year, which shows the community outcomes we want to achieve for the district, alongside our finances, programme of activities, and rates requirements which are set through the Annual Plan programme. 

Read our 2023-24 Annual Plan Engagement Document(PDF, 7MB)  and the supporting documents in the information below.

Message from the Mayor and Chief Executive

He karere mai nā te Koromatua nā te Tumu Whakarae

Life is challenging for many Waitakians right now. 

Local, national, and international trends and events are continuing to cause ripple effects within and across our district’s communities. Many of you may be finding yourselves affected by any number of pressures, such as affordability of food and housing, mortgage payments, business rents, or planning for approaching retirement.

Adding to these pressures, you may be feeling a sense of uncertainty in relation to the Government’s plans for the future ownership and control of our Three Waters assets, along with other proposed Government reforms, and what this means for you, the people, and the places of Waitaki you care about.  

Council is feeling these same pressures, dealing with the government reforms whilst seeing the cost of goods, services, projects, and infrastructure increase significantly. Therefore, we empathise with anyone and everyone who is doing it tough right now.  

Our approach to the Annual Plan for the upcoming financial year, as outlined in this engagement document, has been to take into account the increasing pressures our communities are facing. 

Our commitment and focus is on ensuring the wellbeing of Waitaki’s communities. This involves striking a delicate balance between ensuring Waitaki’s communities have robust core infrastructure, services and facilities, on the one hand, and maintaining a level of service provision which is affordable, on the other.  

To find this balance for the upcoming financial year, we have been working extremely hard in the lead up to this engagement period, to find ways we might be able to limit the rates increase for 2023-24, whilst ensuring you remain as supported by us as possible.  

As a result, we are proposing some changes to our programme of activities and finances, which were originally developed as part of Council’s Long Term Plan (LTP) for 2021-31.  

The 2023-24 LTP year included projects and general costs which required an overall 9.3% increase in rates. This was calculated on a low inflation rate of 1.5%. The situation has since changed and we are now dealing with an inflation rate of more than 7%, which would put the proposed rates increase closer to 15%. So, we are changing our plan, reducing our projects, and limiting the increases, to lower our proposed average rate increase to 8.06%, though this will vary for each ratepayer.  

We would like to hear your thoughts on the proposed changes presented in pages 10-13.  

Council is continuing to take a look at how we can work better for our community. Through our Transformation Programme, we are looking at every aspect of how Council works with a view to making it more efficient and effective in how it delivers. We need to consider the changing needs of our communities, and the reforms we are subject to. Over the coming year, we will put considerable effort into this programme and look forward to people across the district starting to see the benefits of the changes we plan to make.    

We encourage you to read the Annual Plan engagement document and share your feedback with us.

Alex Parmley 
Chief Executive | Tumu Whakarae  

Gary Kircher 
Mayor for Waitaki | Koromatua 


Our vision and community outcomes

Waitaki vision and Community Outcomes.PNG

When we are planning our work for the year ahead, we are focused on our vision and our community outcomes.

We believe Waitaki can be the best place to be! A place where people are proud to live, work, and thrive in, and a visitor destination that is welcoming, and offers something for everyone.

Our four community outcomes are the pillars that we strive to deliver on to support our communities to thrive, and to make Waitaki the best place to be.

Our Strategic Priorities reflect the focus of our work for the next three years, to realise our ambitions for the district and deliver the outcomes.

All projects that we are proposing to progress in the 2023-24 Annual Plan align to at least one of our community outcomes. These outcomes are a key consideration in the work that we do.

For a list of the projects we are planning on delivering in the 2023-24 Annual Plan, check 2023-24 Annual Plan project list(PDF, 53KB)

Our key challenges & opportunities

Waitaki’s population is changing…

What’s happening?

Our population is growing. Our total district’s population growth was 0.4% in 2022, higher than the national population growth for the same year (0.2%). People are moving from cities to regional areas such as Waitaki. Our population is ageing, with 23.4% of residents over 65 years, despite our growing Māori and Pasifika population being younger.

Why is this a challenge?

Different age groups have different needs in terms of health care, housing, transport, and recreation. The things we do to remain connected change over time. Those over 65 are more likely to be on a fixed income. While overall population growth is good for our district, it can place strain on our infrastructure and service capacity if we don’t plan ahead.

Our response

We’ve worked to keep the rates increase to a minimum, while still delivering the services you need. We have some projects planned that are being funded through Better Off funding to improve our community wellbeing through investment in our towns and hospital. We have also received a grant to improve our roadways and connectivity.

we have a housing issue...

What’s happening?

Like the rest of New Zealand, house and land values in Waitaki have increased significantly. In 2020, QV house values increased by 33.7% and land by 45.4% since 2017. Values continued to increase through 2022, though they are now easing. With building costs increasing, building material shortages, and new bank lending rules, it is harder to build or buy a home. Waitaki also has a shortage of smaller homes available to rent or buy. 

Why is this a challenge?

Buying, building or renting a home costs a lot more now meaning people are looking for more affordable options. The shortage of smaller homes across Waitaki means that many singles or couples are living in large family homes. Our ageing population is living in larger homes that are hard to keep, due to the low number of units and small houses. The average house price in Waitaki (Sept 2022) was $480,990.

Our response

Supported by Better Off funding, we are delivering our housing strategy to have healthy, affordable and appropriate homes for all. We want to work with partners on affordable homes projects, and our new District Plan will let people build smaller homes in some areas. The District Plan will be ready for your feedback in the next 12 months.

...and rising costs and affordability

What’s happening?

Events in New Zealand and across the world are impacting our supplies and costs of everyday items, as well as our inflation and interest rates. From the pandemic, to the war in Ukraine, coupled with the recent damage caused by Cyclonem Gabrielle, things aren’t getting any easier.

Why is this a challenge?

Rising costs mean that those on a fixed budget have less to spend on living. Costs of basic needs such as food, clothing and shelter are becoming unaffordable, which reduces our quality of life.

Our response

We’ve had to take a hard look at what work we can afford to do this year to keep our rates down and ensure the services you need are affordable, and that you see value for money in what we provide. Our Transformation Programme will improve Council efficiency to deliver a better customer experience and will look at other ways we can support our district.

as well as ongoing skill shortages…

What’s happening?

Finding the right people to fill jobs in Waitaki is hard. Across the country and internationally, skilled workers are in short supply, and housing challenges mean employers are finding it tough to get the workers they need. Additionally, without any local providers of higher education we risk losing our young people once they leave school.

Why is this a challenge?

Businesses across Waitaki are struggling to fill positions which places increased workloads on people covering vacant roles. This has resulted in employers having to offer staff more money to fill roles, or turn down work, or contract out work, in order to manage workloads. These additional costs for employers impact on affordability.

Our response

Our Economic Development Strategy proposes combining the management of economic development and tourism to build a more prosperous community. The implementation of some parts of the strategy will be funded by Better Off funding, including looking at how we support developing skills locally and how we attract skills our businesses need. We are partnering with others, such as Business South, to make this happen. 

COVID is still impacting us…

What’s happening?

The lockdowns may be over but COVID’s still very much present in our district. COVID is affecting our people through ongoing infection, our ability to access health services, and our business-asusual operations due to shortages in staff and supplies.

Why is this a challenge?

COVID is still causing disruption to supply chains, business hardship, and loss of income. The presence of COVID limits access to workplaces, services, events and recreation, which affects the quality of everyday life.

Our response

We’re trying to support our community by keeping rates as low as we can without impacting the services you receive. Implementing our Economic Development Strategy will bring benefit to our district and help overcome the challenges created by COVID and more recent events.

our climate is changing...

What’s happening?

The world’s climate is changing. We can see that in New Zealand and in other countries too. And the climate scientists say more change is coming in the decades ahead. The events we are seeing are becoming bigger and are impacting our communities and infrastructure.

Why is this a challenge?

We’ve seen the damage caused by Cyclone Gabrielle and earlier storms in the North Island. The scale of these weather events may be repeated. We may see warmer temperatures and droughts, less snow, extreme winds, an increase in storm intensity, and sea level rise. Loss of properties and loss of land are likely in these events.

Our response

We need to be prepared for more events. We have planned work to improve our infrastructure networks, and we’re looking at coastal erosion concerns. We are remediating coastal landfill risks, and we have a Better Off funded biodiversity project focused on our natural environment. We will be working with communities to help improve resilience and readiness for future emergency events.

...and so is our political environment

What’s happening?

The Government is making big changes that will affect all councils and our communities. The Three Waters reform means Council will no longer own or manage the water infrastructure. Four new entities will take over those services. RMA reforms will see changes to the planning system that means planning will be undertaken at a regional level, not locally. There are other big changes in the pipeline coming from Government.

Why is this a challenge?

The reforms will impact the way you receive the services you are used to getting from Council. As a resident there may be some anxiety toward the changes proposed as the future service structure is not clear.

Our response

We brought some projects forward last year to future proof our 3 Waters infrastructure. Some of these will continue this year and some new ones have been added to improve our community resilience. Our Transformation Programme will reshape the Council to respond to the reforms and ensure we can deliver better outcomes for our communities.


We have some new proposals for this Annual Plan and some other proposals you may have already seen in our 2021-31 Long Term Plan(PDF, 9MB).

If you have seen some of the proposals  before, we may be looking at doing these a little differently, or we would like you to know more information about them. Have a read and let us know your feedback using our online feedback form.