Long-Term Plan 2021–31

Update 29 April

Hear community views on our draft Long-Term Plan 2021-31 as they present to Council from 27 April to 6 May.

Read written submissions on the Long-Term Plan webpage.

View public hearings on our YouTube channel

Update 12 April 2021

Consultation on the draft Long-Term Plan is now closed and submissions are being reviewed by Council. Thanks to everyone who made a submission. For those who indicated they want to speak to their submission, Council hearings are being scheduled on 27, 28 April and 4, 5 May.

Draft Long-Term Plan consultation

The plan sets out the activities, priorities and work programmes we propose to deliver over the coming 10 years. It also outlines the costs and how they could be funded.

We produce a new Long-Term Plan every three years, as required by the Local Government Act 2002.

The Consultation Document highlights the key changes we are proposing in our draft Long-Term Plan 2021-31, and the draft Long-Term Plan (or supplementary information) contains all the details.

Key areas in the plan

The Consultation Document focuses on a few key areas, and you can find more detail listed below under the heading ‘KEY AREAS’. The big issues we are tackling are:

  • Protecting and improving our freshwater
  • Reducing emissions via a well-utilised, low-emission public transport network
  • COVID-19 economic recovery work, including pest control
  • Flood protection and infrastructure
  • Enabling compliance with the rules we have worked hard with the community to develop
  • Climate change and community resilience
  • Active regeneration of the natural environment and tree planting programme (Me Uru Rākau)
  • Building community engagement (including youth engagement) and alignment with other agencies.

Update 29 April

Hear community views on our draft Long-Term Plan 2021-31 as they present to Council from 27 April to 6 May.

Read written submissions on the Long-Term Plan webpage.

View public hearings on our YouTube channel

Update 12 April 2021

Consultation on the draft Long-Term Plan is now closed and submissions are being reviewed by Council. Thanks to everyone who made a submission. For those who indicated they want to speak to their submission, Council hearings are being scheduled on 27, 28 April and 4, 5 May.

Draft Long-Term Plan consultation

The plan sets out the activities, priorities and work programmes we propose to deliver over the coming 10 years. It also outlines the costs and how they could be funded.

We produce a new Long-Term Plan every three years, as required by the Local Government Act 2002.

The Consultation Document highlights the key changes we are proposing in our draft Long-Term Plan 2021-31, and the draft Long-Term Plan (or supplementary information) contains all the details.

Key areas in the plan

The Consultation Document focuses on a few key areas, and you can find more detail listed below under the heading ‘KEY AREAS’. The big issues we are tackling are:

  • Protecting and improving our freshwater
  • Reducing emissions via a well-utilised, low-emission public transport network
  • COVID-19 economic recovery work, including pest control
  • Flood protection and infrastructure
  • Enabling compliance with the rules we have worked hard with the community to develop
  • Climate change and community resilience
  • Active regeneration of the natural environment and tree planting programme (Me Uru Rākau)
  • Building community engagement (including youth engagement) and alignment with other agencies.
  • Youth engagement, education and community partnerships

    supporting image

    The Consultation Document highlights the key changes we are proposing in our draft Long-Term Plan 2021-31. We recommend you read this document.

    Youth engagement and education

    We provide educational resources to schools and communities through our work in about 100 Enviroschools and early childhood centres in Canterbury. Over the next three years we are proposing to increase this to more than 130 Enviroschools. We want to empower young people to design and lead sustainability projects.

    In addition to this work, our Youth Rōpū enables young people to engage and kōrero with staff and Councillors, and to advocate for environmental matters.

    Difference between the options

    In Option 1, we are proposing to increase our capacity to deliver the Enviroschools programme to the 40 or more schools on our waiting list, as well as enhance the wider environmental education programmes.

    In Option 2 there is less provision for environmental education and Enviroschools support

    Community partnerships

    In Option 1 we have made provision for a contestable fund to support work by community groups for local environmental projects. The Community Action Fund would enhance the capacity and capability of these groups to take action with small grants and sponsorships. In Option 2, there is no provision for a contestable fund to support community projects.

    What do you think?

    • Your views are sought on whether we should expand our Enviroschools and education programmes.
    • Would you also like to see us establish a contestable fund to support environmental work by community groups.


  • Correction to consultation information

    supporting image

    Correction to targeted rates for local Hinds Plains community

    The Hekeao Hinds Managed Aquifer Recharge (MAR) is an environmental infrastructure project to improve water quantity, quality and ecosystem health on the Hinds Plains, alongside improved land-use practices required to meet environmental outcomes.

    In Year 1 of the draft Long-Term Plan 2021-31 there is provision for the full costs of the MAR project.

    In Year 2 there is some allocation, however, to continue to make enhancements to the project after Year 1 additional funding would be required through targeted rates paid by ratepayers in the local Hinds Plains community between the Ashburton and Rangitata Rivers. Input to the draft Long-Term Plan will determine if the Year 2 enhanced activity goes ahead or not.

    Draft Long-Term Plan 2021-31 – targeted rates

    The rates are paid by the Hinds Plains ratepayers in three different rating zones based on nitrogen leaching potential:

    • Upper – Hill and downs, extensive farming
    • Lower A – Plains, shallower soils
    • Lower B – Coastal drainage area.

    Targeted rates (inc GST) per $100,000 of property value

    Year Upper Lower A Lower B
    Year 1: 2021/22 in draft LTP $7.22/$100k CV $28.90/$100k CV $28.90/$100k CV
    Year 2: 2022/23 in draft LTP $3.31/$100k CV $13.23/$100k CV $13.23/$100k CV
    Year 2: 2022/23 with enhancements $9.79/$100k CV $39.15/$100k CV $39.15/$100k CV


    Note: in the Consultation Document the indication of the rates required for Year 2 (last paragraph of middle column on page 15) shows an incorrect allocation of the differentials between the rating zones. The correct numbers are shown in the table above.

    The same incorrect allocation of the targeted rates between the zones was applied to the Year 1 numbers on ratescalculator.ecan.govt.nz (until 30 March 2021 when the tool was updated with the correct information).

    Sincere apologies for any angst caused through the display of inaccurate information – and thank you to those who pointed it out so the figures could be double-checked and updated.

  • We need your input | Ka hiahia mātou ō whakauru

    supporting image

    The Consultation Document highlights the key changes we are proposing in our draft Long-Term Plan 2021-31. We recommend you read this document.

    In the ten-year plan we outline all the activity we’re proposing to undertake over the next decade. It also explains how we could pay for the activity – through grants, user-pays and rates income.

    We are also presented with the opportunity to continue to create jobs in the community and accelerate a number of pest control and river projects by attracting external funding through the Government’s COVID-recovery fund and Jobs for Nature programme. This requires some increase in rates to support the central government funds.

    To address these specific challenges, take advantage of the opportunity to move some significant projects faster, and continue to deliver on major commitments already made, such as public transport service enhancements, we need a Long-Term Plan that requires a greater investment from the community. This investment would be both financial and in terms of the action needed.

    Options for consultation

    In order to give informed feedback, the community needs to know all that needs doing and how much it would cost. Our Council have developed two options for consultation:

    Option 1 – the Council’s preferred option – is a package of work costing $246.54 million (2021/22 year). The proposed package includes all the statutorily required work as well as provision to accelerate key initiatives for Canterbury.

    This increase in total rates revenue is 24.5% more than the current (2020/21) year.

    The average total rates a property would pay in Year 1 would be $591.10, compared to $455.04 in the current year (2020/21). The average rates increase across the region would be $136.06. To find out the potential impact of Option 1 on your rates see ratescalculator.ecan.govt.nz and type in your address.

    Option 2 – the Council’s alternative option – is a package of work costing $240.19 million (2021/22 year). This proposed package will deliver what we are statutorily required to do – which is still a significant amount of work – but without the provision to accelerate the same number of projects, with some of those identified in Option 1 delayed/scaled back or not proposed to be funded in Option 2.

    This increase in total rates revenue is 18% more than the current (2020/21) year.

    The average total rates a property would pay in Year 1 would be $565.59, compared to $455.04 in the current year (2020/21). The average rates increase across the region would be $110.55. To find out the potential impact of Option 1 on your rates see ratescalculator.ecan.govt.nz and type in your address.

    Difference between the options

    The main difference between the two options is that Option 1 responds to increasing Government and community expectation of action, including environmental initiatives we need to progress but are not yet required by legislation. Option 2 accounts only for initiatives we are required by legislation to undertake now and some we are already committed to, such as public transport improvements.

    Find out more

    • Go to ratescalculator.ecan.govt.nz to see the potential impact on your own rates under both options
    • Information on Option 1 and Option 2 can be found on pages 10 to 15 in the Consultation Document, with more detail in the Supplementary Information.
    • Detailed financial information for both options is located on pages 28-35 in the Consultation Document and can be seen broken down by project at rates.ecan.govt.nz

    What do you think?

    • Have we prioritised the right issues and opportunities?
    • What do you feel are the significant challenges and opportunities we face?
    • Your views are sought on both Option 1 and Option 2 and the activity, expected outcomes and funding streams proposed for each.
    • Your feedback is also invited on the affordability of the proposed increase in total rates revenue (under Option 1 or Option 2) against the total activity the rates income would support. Noting that the increase will be different for different ratepayers.
  • Protecting and improving freshwater

    supporting image

    The Consultation Document highlights the key changes we are proposing in our draft Long-Term Plan 2021-31. We recommend you read this document.

    One of the big issues we’d like to tackle is protecting and improving our freshwater, and implementing the Government’s new ‘Essential Freshwater’ package.

    Implementing Essential Freshwater

    We need to implement the Government’s Essential Freshwater package by 2024. This package prescribes new limits for farming activities and for water quality. It will need planning and implementation work to build on the work already undertaken by our communities over recent years.

    In particular, the resource management concept of Te Mana o te Wai – the mana of the water – must be worked through, relying on the strength of our relationships within the region as well as the collective willingness of our communities to step up again when it comes to protecting the health of the waterways. It is up to communities and councils nationwide to consider and recognise Te Mana o te Wai. In Canterbury, this will involve considerable planning and implementation work in partnership with Ngāi Tahu.

    Braided river revival and regeneration

    Braided river revival and a regionwide tree planting programme (Me Uru Rākau) are key elements of our work in Canterbury to restore natural ecosystems and improve biodiversity.

    Difference between the options

    In Option 1 and Option 2 the work to implement the Essential Freshwater package will go ahead because it is a statutory obligation.

    In both options we have also allowed for the notification of the Regional Policy Statement, and Regional Coastal Plan alongside the Essential Freshwater plan in 2024. By notifying these plans together we can save the community a significant amount of money. Provision for community and partner engagement to develop these plans is in both options and this work needs to commence in year one of the Long-Term Plan.

    In Option 2 there will not be the same uplift in braided river revival and tree planting programmes for regeneration of the natural environment through Me Uru Rākau.

    In Option 2 there is a reduced level of support for landowners to assist with compliance and to support implementation of the regulatory framework.

    Page 17 of the Consultation Document outlines the high-level programmes of work and the difference in rates required to deliver Option 1 and Option 2 for each programme.

    Proposed new targeted rate for Ashburton

    We are proposing to introduce a targeted rate for the local Ashburton community so the Hekeao Hinds Managed Aquifer Recharge (MAR) project can continue. This environmental infrastructure project, proposed by the Ashburton Zone Committee and supported by the Ashburton District Council and Environment Canterbury, to improve water quantity, quality and ecosystem health on the Hinds plains, alongside improved land-use practices required to meet environmental outcomes. To date, a mix of funding from central government, the Councils and local landowners has paid for the project.

    In Option 1 and Option 2 there is provision in Year 1 of $1.39 million ($1.09 million from targeted rates, and $300,000 from grants) to run the project. This is included in the financial information for both options. There is also some allocation in Years 2 and 3. However, to continue to make enhancements to the project after Year 1, additional funding would be needed – also through the targeted rate to the local Hinds Plains community between the Ashburton and Rangitata Rivers.

    What do you think?



  • Transforming the public transport network

    supporting image

    The Consultation Document highlights the key changes we are proposing in our draft Long-Term Plan 2021-31. We recommend you read this document.

    The region’s public transport network continues to evolve. We have already committed to several projects as part of the implementation of the Regional Public Transport Plan, for eg:

    • increasing the frequency on selected routes
    • moving to low and zero-emission vehicles
    • delivering the national ticketing system in Canterbury.

    These projects require ongoing funding to deliver an attractive, well-utilised public transport offering.

    The new bus contract roll-out, real-time information system implementation, Total Mobility services and the progression of the national ticketing system are all included in both Option 1 and Option 2.

    Difference between the options

    MyWay by Metro is the on-demand public transport system being trialed in Timaru. In Option 1 there is provision to keep the system beyond the trial. In Option 2, there is no provision to keep it. See page 14-15 of the Consultation Document.

    What do you think?

    • Should investment continue to be made in this on-demand public transport option for Timaru after the trial period has completed?

    Note: it will require a total of $1.18 million in Year 1 of the Long-Term Plan with continued investment in future years and would be funded through a targeted rate for the Timaru community and from Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency grants. It would add about $14 inc GST per $100k of property value for Timaru District ratepayers in Year 1.

    • Would you like to see this type of on-demand public transport as part of the wider Canterbury public transport service in the future, should the MyWay trial be successful? This would not materially impact rates proposed for the first few years of the Long-Term Plan as investigation and feasibility work would need to be carried out first. We are seeking community interest in principle at this time. 
  • Climate change and community resilience

    supporting image

    The Consultation Document highlights the key changes we are proposing in our draft Long-Term Plan 2021-31. We recommend you read this document.

    Pest control, flood protection and environmental restoration

    Investing in COVID-19 recovery projects attracts significant central government funding for key biosecurity pest control, environmental restoration and river works – enabling us to undertake more work in a shorter timeframe through this co-funding arrangement that also supports job creation in the region.

    There is also additional work to do to evolve our Compliance, Monitoring and Enforcement function to ensure our region’s resources are being utilised according to plan limits. This includes working with, and providing advice to, landowners to understand how to give practical effect to our rules.

    As the level of activity increases, so too does the supporting and enabling activity, including enhancing our organisational collection and storage of mātauranga Māori and community data. Through making that data more readily available for decision-making and community information, we aim to increase the community’s access to the council, and our access to the knowledge and input of the community, through enhanced engagement.

    Difference between the options

    In Option 1 we have proposed sufficient funding for our regional Civil Defence activities as we face an increasingly uncertain future in the face of climate change, and progressing the previously deferred and increasingly urgent Coastal Plan review.

    Option 2 would deliver the full extent of our statutory requirements and activity already committed to, but not all that we believe could be done to bring about meaningful environmental change in a shorter timeframe.

    In Option 1 we have made provision for a contestable fund to support work by community groups for local environmental projects. We have also made provision to increase our capacity to deliver the Enviroschools programme to the 40+ schools on our waiting list, as well as enhance the wider environmental education programmes.

    In Option 2 there is less provision for environmental education and Enviroschools support. There is no provision for a contestable fund to support community projects.

    In Option 2 there is less investment in the data programmes, which are proposed in Option 1 to continue to build on what data we collect and share for optimal decision-making.

    What do you think?

    • Your views are sought on both Option 1 and Option 2 and the activity, expected outcomes and funding streams proposed for each.
    • It is important that we hear what you would like to keep in the plan, what you think could/should be removed, and anything that you think we have missed.
  • How could this be paid for? | Me pēhea te whakautu?

    supporting image

    The Consultation Document highlights the key changes we are proposing in our draft Long-Term Plan 2021-31. We recommend you read this document.

    The draft Long-Term Plan 2021-31 outlines the activity proposed for each year and how it could be paid for. Ratepayers will want to consider what the community would need to pay in general rates, targeted rates, user-pays and other fees and charges in the proposed plan.

    Council has a number of policies guiding how we determine how different activities should be funded, and on page 36 we describe what the different rating types are.

    Check out pages 24 and 25 of the Consultation Document for a summary of changes to the following four key documents:

    • Financial Strategy
    • 30-year Infrastructure Strategy
    • Revenue and Financing Policy
    • Fees and Charges Policy.

    Your feedback is invited on these as part of this consultation.

    If you want to find read these strategies and policies in full read them in the draft Long-Term Plan or Supplementary Information.

    What do you think?

    • Do you support the rationale and the proposed changes in the draft Fees and Charges Policy?
    • What are your thoughts on the way we have proposed rates are charged, as outlined in the draft Revenue and Financing Policy ie the proposed use of Uniform Annual Charges, targeted rates, general rates, and user-pays?
  • Rates and borrowing | Ngā tāke kaunihera me ngā pūtea taurewa

    supporting image

    The Consultation Document highlights the key changes we are proposing in our draft Long-Term Plan 2021-31. We recommend you read this document.

    Not all of Environment Canterbury’s work is funded through rates, although rates income does contribute over half the annual revenue. The amount of rates collected affects the work Council can do, and the pace at which we can progress.

    Environment Canterbury receives income from several other sources:

    • grants, including significant income from Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency for the public transport system
    • user-pays charges – such as bus fares, resource consent applications, and monitoring of resource use (like water for irrigation).

    In this draft Long-Term Plan, Council is also proposing an initiative to explore alternative funding sources alongside the ones we currently have.

    Uniform Annual Charges for this Long-Term Plan

    See page 26 of the Consultation Document

    In the past Environment Canterbury has used uniform charges (flat fees) for a smaller number of activities than we are proposing in the draft 2021-31 plan. See page 36 for an explanation of the different types of rates, including targeted uniform annual charges (UAC) and uniform annual general charges (UAGC).

    Borrowing for operating expenditure

    See page 27 of the Consultation Document

    Environment Canterbury has the ability to borrow, with repayments being spread over a number of years funded by rates. We currently borrow for a number of capital expenditure items.

    Borrowing can be used to spread the burden of a high-cost activity over several years – useful if there are intergenerational benefits from that activity. Borrowing is usually only applied when it is considered appropriate to spread the cost of an activity because the benefit of the activity lasts the same time or longer than the repayment period. Borrowing is addressed in the Council’s Treasury Policy.

    Council could consider the use of operating expenditure borrowing to alleviate some of the first year impact on ratepayers.

    Council would like community feedback on whether the cost of some natural capital projects – specifically those within the planning programme of work (Freshwater, Coastal and the Regional Policy Statement) – should be spread over a number of years through the use of borrowing.

    What do you think?

    • Would you support the use of borrowing for operating expenditure as indicated below, to offset some of the first-year rating impact?