Taranaki Regional Council’s 2024/34 Long-Term Plan adopted

Protecting the environment is front and centre in Taranaki Regional Council’s Long-Term Plan (LTP) with new investment to safeguard the region’s biodiversity, deliver freshwater improvements and address climate change.

The 10-year plan for the region was adopted today, including over the period $4.04m in additional funding for freshwater monitoring and developing a new Land and Freshwater Plan, $915,000 for improving climate science, $440,000 for the Council to coordinate biodiversity work across the region and $540,000 to improve resource management by creating a spatial plan to guide development.

“We’re looking to the future with this Plan and how we can address the many challenges our amazing region is facing,” says Council Chair Charlotte Littlewood.

“There’s funding for our key environmental work programmes to ensure we build on the Council’s freshwater and biodiversity mahi and we’ve responded to our community’s feedback on responding to the threat from climate change.”

The Plan includes an overall rates increase of 16.3% for 2024/2025. While in percentage terms this is higher than previous years, for most Taranaki ratepayers the financial impact will be measured in tens of dollars over the course of a year. The overall rates rise for year two of the Plan is 13.23% and is 10.19% in the third year.

“We got an excellent response to our community conversation with nearly 340 people giving their feedback and we heard some passionate and knowledgeable submitters at the hearing last week too. A huge thank you to all those took the time to have their say.

“This feedback was vital to shaping a Plan we can be proud of and which we hope will make a tangible difference to our communities and improve how we care for Taranaki and our environment.”

The Council sought feedback on six key issues in March and April with some submitters also sharing their thoughts at hearings on 6 May before deliberations by the Councillors. The options adopted by the Ordinary Council today were:

  •  Improving resource management: Create a regional spatial plan to guide development across all Taranaki and drive better alignment with the region’s four councils.
  •  Delivering on freshwater: Implementing the new regime with a focus on core activities to improve freshwater management in the region.
  • Addressing climate change: Focus on improving climate science and reducing the Council’s emissions.
  • Our approach to possum control: Maintain the existing self-help programme while exploring bringing control in-house.
  • Protecting indigenous biodiversity: Taking s a strong role coordinating biodiversity across the region by undertaking work such as the review of the Taranaki Biodiversity Strategy.
  • The future of Towards Predator-Free Taranaki:
    • Rural predator control: Funding for the programme continues with no expansion of the areas.
    • Zero Possum project: The management approach reverts to keeping possums at very low levels.

While the option to revert to keeping possums at very low levels was adopted, the Zero Possum project will continue for 18 months using reserves from Towards Predator-Free Taranaki funding with a decision by the Government on Predator Free 2050 funding expected during that time.

A requirement of the Local Government Act 2002, the Plan continues funding information on everything the Council does and sets the strategic direction for the next decade. The LTP will become active on 1 July this year.