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Long Term Plans - originally called Long-Term-Council-Community-Plans

Long term plans and a number of other documents that need to be joined up (like the District Plan, rates and other policies) set out the elected council's strategy. and guide the CEO ten years into the future, informing them of the anticipated shape and style of growth and levels of service and major expenditure. This allows the CEO to design the Council organisation and recruit staff with the competencies and capabilities to meet those future needs. Napier needs a mayor who will implement proper governance led strategy development and stop the flip-flops and short term meddling at operational level.

If the Council chop and change short term expectations, in the long term plan it makes it impossible for the CEO to perform and frustrates management as they have to push and pull resources to suddenly meet the need for research, consultants, reporting, and juggling budgets to pay for activities that are out of sequence. This causes unintended consequences; the things staff were planning to do now aren’t being done even though budget and people had been allocated.

For experienced governance practitioners, you suggest surely not, surely the strategy should inform what things should happen when, not the whim of ‘individuals’ or the collective? Sadly 'leaders' without strategic vision act this way.

An obligation in the Local Government Act is that council's deliver a 'balanced budget' over the life of the long term plan. this allows over or under expenditure in some years but by the end of the ten years income should match expenditure. Simple accountancy right? The more external lending council requires, with increasing interest rates, the bigger the impact on available cash flow and this will reduce the ability for council to maintain levels of service or advance some capital expenditure.

The Pool fiasco is an example of a shovel ready project, publicly consulted ready to go. So ready to go there was actually a tender, price and contractor ready to start in 2019. Let’s not mention the opportunity that other councils grabbed when the Government started to throw money around looking for shovel ready projects. Then let’s remember that Council took the whole Aquatic Centre project out of the Long Term Plan in 2021, forcing Management to do a whole lot of work considering and proposing how they were going to keep the old aquatic centre going. Suddenly it’s election year and suddenly someone wants the Aquatic centre back in the plan. What a farce, where’s the Governance led Strategy, clearly absent if the Council are mucking around in the short-term stuff.

Since the Long Term Plan was finalised in June 2021 a number of reviews (like the pensioner housing review) that were under way prior to the Long Term Plan being made, have been finalised and brought to council and been added to the list of unbudgeted items, a list stretching into many ten's of millions every year on top of existing rates. This is reckless commitment of rate payers money.

It's the Long-Term-Plan that sets your rates, if I were Mayor, I will only say yes to new proposals once Council have agreed cuts somewhere else or can ensure that Council maintains a balanced budget. Ratepayers do not have limitless wallets.

I'll say it as I see it, your view may differ and that is ok, so lets be respectful throughout this process.

So lets be nice about it.

Regards and best wishes

Nigel Simpson , Candidate for Mayor Napier City Council Elections 2022

This blog is approved by Nigel Simpson, Napier New Zealand - website -

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