1                                               18 March 2020

HUTT CITY COUNCIL

 

Long Term Plan/Annual Plan Subcommittee

 

Minutes of a meeting held in the Council Chambers, 2nd Floor, 30 Laings Road,

Lower Hutt on

 Wednesday 18 March 2020 commencing at 2.00pm

 

 

PRESENT:

Mayor C Barry (Chair)

 

 

Cr D Bassett (from 2.44pm)

Cr J Briggs

 

Cr K Brown

Cr B Dyer

 

Cr S Edwards

Cr D Hislop

 

Cr C Milne (from 2.03pm)

Cr A Mitchell

 

Cr L Sutton

Cr N Shaw

 

APOLOGIES:                  Deputy Mayor Lewis and Cr Rasheed.  

 

IN ATTENDANCE:       Ms J Miller, Chief Executive (part meeting)

Mr L Allott, Chief Information Officer  (part meeting)

Ms A Blackshaw, Acting General Manager, City and Community Services

Ms H Oram, Acting General Manager, City Transformation  (part meeting)

Ms J Livschitz, Chief Financial Officer

Mr B Cato, General Counsel

Mr P Benseman, Budgeting and Reporting Manger  (part meeting)

Ms W Moore, Head of Strategy and Planning  (part meeting)

Mr J Scherzer, Manager, Sustainability and Resilience (part meeting)

Mr B Hodgins, Strategic Advisor, City and Community Business (part meeting)

Mr P Maaka, Manager, Urban Design  (part meeting)

Mr Sherwood, Head of Parks and Recreation (part meeting)

Ms J Randall, Programme Lead - Planning and Reporting  (part meeting)

Ms C Ellis, Senior Communications Advisor – Media  (part meeting)

Ms D Male, Committee Advisor

Ms T Lealofi, Committee Advisor (part meeting)

Ms D Hunter, Acting Committee Advisor (part meeting)

 

 

PUBLIC BUSINESS

 

 

1.       OPENING FORMALITIES - KARAKIA TIMATANGA

 

Kia hora te marino                                           May peace be wide spread

Kia whakapapa pounamu te moana              May the sea be like greenstone

He huarahi mā tātou i te rangi nei                  A pathway for us all this day

Aroha atu, aroha mai                                      Let us show respect for each other

Tātou i a tātou katoa                                        For one another

          Hui e Tāiki e!                                                    Bind us together!

MINOR ITEM NOT ON THE AGENDA - Covid-19 Update

 

Resolved:  (Mayor Barry/Cr Edwards)                 Minute No. LTPAP 20201(2)

“That in terms of Standing Order 10.13 the Subcommittee:

(i)          considers the item regarding a verbal update from the Mayor and Chief Executive on COVID-19 at this meeting as a minor item not on the agenda;

(ii)        notes that the item will be taken prior to item 2 on the public agenda for the Long Term Plan/Annual Plan Subcommittee meeting on 18 March 2020; and

(iii)      notes that no resolution, decision or recommendation may be made in respect of that item except to refer that item to a subsequent meeting of Council for further discussion.”

COVID-19 UPDATE

Mayor Barry elaborated on the impact of COVID-19 and the Annual Plan/Long Term Plan Amendment process.  He highlighted the importance of supporting the community and businesses who might struggle during COVID-19. 

The Chief Executive read out a statement attached as pages 10-13 to the minutes.

2.       APOLOGIES 

Resolved(Mayor Barry/Cr Edwards)                            Minute No. LTPAP 20202(2)

“That the apologies received from Deputy Mayor Lewis and Cr Rasheed be accepted and leave of absence be granted and the apologies for lateness received from Cr Bassett and Cr Milne be accepted.”

Cr Milne joined the meeting at 2.03pm.

3.       PUBLIC COMMENT

Comments are recorded under the item to which they relate.     

4.       CONFLICT OF INTEREST DECLARATIONS   

          There were no conflict of interest declarations.

5.       Recommendations to Council - 18 March 2020

i)

Draft Annual Plan 2020-21 and Long Term Plan 2018-2028 Amendment (20/160)

 

Speaking under public comment, Mr Max Shierlaw believed that the statement relating to challenges that could not wait outlined in the “Welcome to Hutt City Council’s Amendment to the Long Term Plan 2018-2028” were incorrect.  He elaborated on the difference of figures between budgets.  He considered the differences did not require an amendment to the Long Term Plan. 

 

In response to question from members, Mr Shierlaw believed it was the wrong time for Council to be dealing with the capital works.  He also believed it was unwise for Council to change the financial targets on a regular basis.

 

Speaking under public Comment, Ms Virginia Horrocks thanked Council for the time and attention given to the Eastern Shared Path.

 

Speaking under public comment, Mr Matt Young expressed concern with the lack of clear messaging about climate action in Council’s Annual Plan. He also expressed concern about Council’s lack of action in having a No Zero Change Plan in place.

 

Cr Dyer read a statement on behalf of Mr Chris ParkinI would like to draw the Council’s attention to the issue that while the previous Council has declared a climate emergency, and this Council has been doing some things to address climate change, it is still a siloed approach and public summaries of changes to the Long Term Plan, rubbish, and housing demand papers all are missing a Climate Change aspect.   If this is to be treated like an emergency then implications and methods of improving our response should be looked at and prioritized at every opportunity.  This is not happening yet and so potential opportunities eg appropriately dealing with organic waste and the associated greenhouse gas emissions, are being missed. The same goes for other opportunities incorporated in Urban planning and Transport. It is worth noting that it’s good to see that Council is still supporting the Cycleways programme, but this is still a small part of the overall spending and while new funding will be needed for some opportunities, some requirements eg future proofing homes with the ability to wire up an EV charger (not necessarily the need to have the charger installed) or requiring new builds to have solar or not use natural gas do not appear to have been addressed.

 

 

The Financial Chief Officer elaborated on the following:

 

·      overview of the Long Term Plan Amendment timeline.

·      Capital Investment Programme, operational expenditure.

·      Council’s decisions on opex and capex to date.

·      Three Waters investment.

·      Council’s Financial Strategy.

·      Rates Revenue.

·      Rating Policy.

·      Proposed rates revenue increase going out for consultation.

·      Impact on average residential ratepayer.

 

Cr Bassett joined the meeting at 2.44pm.

 

Mr Andrew Clark, Audit Director from Audit New Zealand gave an unmodified audit opinion once Council had adopted the Consultation Document. He also confirmed that Audit New Zealand had reviewed the documentation and the process.  He highlighted his appreciation for the excellent engagement with officers.  He commended the Finance Team for the excellent detailed work, thought and analysis in making the Consultation Document what it was.  He elaborated on the role of Audit New Zealand.  He highlighted that the documentation was appropriate for public participation.

In response to questions from members, Mr Clark acknowledged that there had been a lot more extra information and thought put into the process and the documentation than the previous Long Term Plan process.  He advised that the biggest changes made to the Consultation Document were ensuring that the topics were set out clearly and explaining clearly the reasons why there were potential changes to Council’s policies and strategies.

Mayor Barry foreshadowed an additional recommendation as follows:

asks officers to prepare advice on what actions Council can take to support our people and business across the City in light of economic and health impact of COVID-19.  This be undertaken as a matter of urgency and be presented to full Council on 24 March 2020.”

The Chief Executive highlighted an amendment to the Draft Annual Plan Flyer relating to Hutt Valley Tennis.

Cr Sutton highlighted an amendment to the Proposed Amendment to the LTP 2018-2028 to reflect the wording of ‘not worth’ to ‘now worth.’

In response to a question from a member, the Chief Financial Officer agreed to amend the wording to make the reasons behind the $1.35M contribution towards Hutt Valley Tennis clearer.

Mayor Barry foreshadowed an additional recommendation as follows:

“asks officers to include a climate impact implication as a standard assessment in each report starting from the next meeting cycle.”

 

In response to questions from members, the Chief Financial Officer agreed to add additional wording to the rubbish and recycling collection sections highlighting the following year was the effective year.  She also agreed to include the targeted rates in the timeline for the recycling and rubbish system, amend the wording for the Maori proverb and tidy up the wording for the indicative impact of rates changes on average residential property and how each option could affect average residential property rates.

 

Cr Brown left the meeting at 3.30pm and rejoined the meeting at 3.32pm.

Cr Milne left the meeting at 3.34pm and rejoined the meeting at 3.35pm.

In response to questions from members, the Chief Financial Officer agreed to tidy up the wording for the net changes to budgets per year capital expenditure funded from debt, the proposed green waste service changes and expand on the heading on ‘How could our finances be affected’.

Cr Edwards expressed support for the motion.  He congratulated the officers for their hard work. He noted that COVID-19 would have a major impact on the engagement with the community.

 

Cr Milne expressed support for the motion on the basis that there was no alternative.  He elaborated on the Naenae Pool project, the previous Annual Plan and this year’s draft Annual Plan.

 

Cr Briggs expressed support with the comments made by Cr Edwards.  He acknowledged and thanked the officers for their work in the planning of this matter.  He outlined the challenges for the City and officers on how Council engaged with the community.

 

Cr Mitchell expressed support with  the comments made by the previous speakers.  He acknowledged the well laid out plans to consult with the community.  He elaborated on the importance of reflecting climate targets and sustainability targets in next year’s Long Term Plan.

 

Cr Bassett expressed support for the motion.  He acknowledged the work done by the Chief Executive and the Chief Financial Officer.  He expressed concern for the community regardin COVID-19.  He expressed concern about the increase in rates and asked if there was a way forward to potentially reducing the rates.

 

Cr Hislop expressed support for the motion.  She spoke of the uncertainty with COVID-19, the current house revaluations and the impact of that on the community.  She advised of the importance of the consultation process and the importance of hearing from the community

 

Cr Brown commended the work of the officers.  She advised that the next phase of consultation with the community was the most important part.  She also advised that she would be working with the community to try and give clear articulation on how the ratings work.  Cr Brown suggested an additional recommendation:

“acknowledges the work and effort of officers in preparing the documentation and in particular the quantity and quality of information that has been provided.”

 

With the agreement of the mover and the seconder, the additional recommendation was included in the original motion.

 

Cr Dyer expressed support for the motion.  He thanked the officers for their work.  He acknowledged the challenges that laid ahead and acknowledged that with challenge came innovation.

 

Cr Shaw expressed support for the comments made by previous speakers.  .  She highlighted the need for climate change being a priority for Council going forward.

 

Cr Sutton expressed support for the comments made by Crs Bassett and Milne. 

 

Mayor Barry advised that the Long Term Plan Amendment process was set out in Council’s Significant and Engagement Policy.  He acknowledged the concerns raised by Cr Bassett around COVID-19. 

 

RECOMMENDED:  (Mayor Barry/Cr Briggs) BY DIVISION       

                                                                                      Minute No. LTPAP 20203(2)

“That the Subcommittee recommends that Council:

(i)     receives the information;

(ii)    notes that the Consultation Document on the Amendment to the Long Term Plan 2018-2028 is going through its final audit with Audit New Zealand and any necessary changes will be reflected in an updated version that will be circulated prior to the meeting;

(iii)   agrees to adopt the underlying information for the Draft Annual Plan 2020-21 and the Long Term Plan 2018-2028 Amendment, attached as Appendix 9 to 19 to the report;

(iv)   agrees to adopt the proposed Amendment to the Long Term Plan 2018-2028, attached as Appendix 8 to the report;

(v)    agrees to adopt the Consultation Document attached as Appendix 1 to the report for public consultation between 6 April and 7 May 2020; and

(vi)   receives the Audit opinion from Audit New Zealand following the adoption of the Consultation Document;

(vii)  notes the additional content for the LTP Amendment Feedback Form and Annual Plan Flyer, which includes reference to the Hutt Valley Tennis funding matter, refer to Appendix 20 and 21 attached to the report; and

(viii) acknowledges the work and effort of officers in preparing the documentation and in particular the quantity and quality of information that has been provided.”

 

 

The motion was declared carried by division with the voting as follows:

For

 

Mayor Barry

Cr Bassett

Cr Briggs

Cr Brown

Cr Dyer

Cr Edwards

Cr Hislop

Cr Milne

Cr Mitchell

Cr Shaw

Cr Sutton

 

Against

Total: 11

 

Total -

 

The meeting adjourned at 4.12pm and resumed at 4.25pm

 

Mayor Barry spoke to the motion.  He stated that it would be beneficial to receive advice on what Council could do in the immediate future to support people in the community outside of the Annual Plan/Long Term Plan Amendment process. 

 

 

RECOMMENDED:  (Mayor Barry/Cr Hislop)   Minute No. LTPAP 20204(2)

“That the Subcommittee recommends that Council asks officers to prepare advice on what actions Council can take to support our people and businesses across the City in light of the economic and health impact of COVID-19.  This be undertaken as a matter of urgency and be presented to full Council on 24 March 2020.”

 

In response to questions from a member, Mayor Barry advised that the Chief Executive would provide members with an update on Climate Change.

 

In response to questions from members, the Chief Executive advised that she was not anticipating a huge amount of work for officers in assessing climate impact implications when writing reports to Council and its committees. 

 

The Chair commented that the impact of climate change was an absolute priority for Council given that Council had declared a climate change emergency last year.

 

Cr Briggs expressed support for the motion. 

 

 

RECOMMENDED:  (Mayor Barry/Cr Mitchell)   Minute No. LTPAP 20205(2)

“That the Subcommittee recommends that Council asks officers to include a climate impact implication as a standard assessment in each report starting from the next Meeting Cycle.”

Cr Milne voted against the motion and requested that his vote be recorded.

 

ii)

Recommendation from the Community and Environment Committee - Cycleway Projects Updates and Budgets (20/195)

 

In response to a question from a member as to why the $1.4M information had not been included, the Chief Financial Officer confirmed that it had been due to the timing of the new information.  She stated that following the consultation process and ahead of finalising the Annual Plan 2020/21, the budgets would be updated to reflect the decisions of Council, including commentary regarding the additional cost.  She confirmed that Audit New Zealand had been made aware of this and they were comfortable with the way Council was proceeding.

 

 

RECOMMENDED:  (Mayor Barry/Cr Briggs)     Minute No. LTPAP 20206(2)

“That the Subcommittee recommends that Council approves the allocation of an additional $19.1M to complete all the projects in the original Cycleways

programme (this includes the provisional placeholder of $15M

currently in the Draft Annual Plan 2020/21).”

 

Resolved:  (Mayor Barry/Cr Briggs)                Minute No. LTPAP 20207(2)

“That the Subcommittee:

(i)       notes that, due to the timing of the new information regarding the cost of the Cycleways programme and the external audit process of the Consultation Document (CD) for the Amendment to the Long Term Plan 2018-2028 (LTP), the additional $4.1M has not been included in the base budgets or financial information presented in the CD or other LTP documentation to be consulted on;

(ii)     notes that the CD includes commentary regarding the additional cost of $4.1M to complete all the projects in the original Cycleways programme; and

(iii)   notes that, following the consultation process and ahead of finalising the Annual Plan 2020/21, the budgets will be updated to reflect the decisions of Council.”

6.       Information Item

 

RiverLink Project (20/216)

Memorandum dated 2 March 2020 by the Head of Strategy and Planning

 

The Urban Design Manager elaborated on the memorandum.  

In response to questions from members, the Urban Design Manager referred members to Council’s website to view the completed business case.  He also referred members to the video that was available on the Riverlink website.  He confirmed that it was likely that the project estimated costs would increase.  He noted that NZTA was currently working on cost sharing scenarios between relevant parties.  He added that there was a Riverlink Board and that any additional information/requests needed to be reported to the Board first before being reported to Council.

 

Resolved:  (Mayor Barry/Cr Sutton)                      Minute No. LTPAP 20208(2)

“That the Subcommittee notes the contents of the report.”

7.       QUESTIONS   

          There were no questions.

 

There being no further business the Chair declared the meeting closed at 4.44pm.

 

 

 

 

 

 

C Barry

CHAIR

 

CONFIRMED as a true and correct record

Dated this 26th day of May 2020

 


 

 

18 March 2020 – Update report to Council on COVID-19

 

Hutt City Council is focused on preparing for a pandemic. We’re following national emergency classification procedures which have six phases. We’re still in the third (yellow) keep it out/stamp it out phase and preparing for managing the virus should it become more widespread (orange phase 4). We have a team working on these next steps.

 

We adopted our Pandemic Plan in January. Since then we have:

 

The aim of our approach has been to provide leadership, reassurance and support for staff, stakeholders, and communities.

 

Our emergency management response team is in place and has been operating out of the Pavilion building (Emergency Operations Centre) this week. This means resource and response is being co-ordinated and preparations are underway ahead of any further announcements or change in status.

 

Both the Mayor and I continue to receive daily Situation Reports (SitReps) from the Wellington Regional Emergency Management Group noting that the lead agency for COVID-19 is the Ministry of Health and all key messages are being driven by the Ministry.

 

At a regional level the Wellington Regional Emergency Management Office (WREMO) activated their Emergency Co-ordination Centre in Thorndon last Monday and have asked today for assistance to help run the Centre.

 

Their role is;

 

·           to establish a coordinated regional response through integrated information sharing, action planning and public information management

·           to continue business as usual activities across the region, as much as possible, without endangering communities or creating opportunities for the virus to spread

·           where possible, make key decisions that will impact regional communities at the Joint Committee level to ensure regional consistency

 

I am acutely conscious that on your agenda today is the proposed LTP amendment/draft AP consultation report which is the result of many months work by officers and members. It is important that we proceed with that whilst recognising that whatever decisions council ultimately makes in June will need to be very cognisant of the financial situation that will unfold over the coming months.

 

The impact on our income profile and income projections in light of COVID-19 is being assessed as is our expenditure profile which will undoubtedly change. We are also looking at our rates postponement policy and the criteria to see if this can be broadened. We are also going to be promoting rates rebates more widely to our community and we will be asking for council support in this.

 

We are developing a different model for remote working. We have identified 54 ‘critical’ staff who must have the resources to be able to work from home. Our focus now is on those other staff who also need access to undertake business functions. A new firewall is being installed this weekend and we will be testing staff working from home from next week. We are also investing in new software to enable online meetings.

 

We’re contacting all council contractors and CCOs to ensure they have Business Continuity Plans in place. Those that provide essential services e.g. Wellington Water, Silverstream landfill have evolving plans in place should there be an escalation. We will be kept informed should things change.

 

Business community

Lower Hutt’s hospitality and tourism sector is being impacted by COVID-19. We are receiving regular reports from WellingtonNZ with their business survey results. WellingtonNZ is required to report on this to central government. WellingtonNZ is part of the government’s tourism advisory group that has been set up to respond to COVID-19.

We are working with the Hutt Valley Chamber of Commerce as the central local hub of information for businesses re Covid-19. They are working closely with government agencies, MBIE, MSD and MOE along with WellingtonNZ to produce resources i.e. currently information, but the Chamber may require funding in order to act in this capacity.

 

Hutt City Council has suspended the Chamber’s contract requirements KPIs to shift attention to supporting business.

 

Tomorrow there is a meeting between the Chamber, the Jackson Street Programme, Seaview Business Association and Love Wainuiomata and council staff to link the organisations more closely with the Chamber to coordinate response.

Communication with the business and tourism sector in Lower Hutt - several newsletters are being sent out with key messages including noting the government’s support package for business and providing ideas for businesses to think differently and new ways of working https://mailchi.mp/067e9c26e0f6/covid-19_update-2?e=82985777df.

 

Events

We are planning for no large scale events (over 500 people) before the end of April as per government advice.

 

We have collated a spreadsheet of events that we are running and are associated with. Most of the events are being cancelled including the upcoming citizenship ceremony. We are awaiting advice on the national RSA body in regard to ANZAC Day. We continue to monitor closely government advice on events.

We have produced an article here with an update - http://heart.huttcity.govt.nz/health-leisure/event-cancellations-in-lower-hutt-in-response-to-covid-19/

 

Events Centre

The Events Centre has advised that events are being cancelled or postponed. Staff are working with the Events Centre management to determine business impacts.

 

Specific Hutt City Council business functions

Communications

Ø  https://covid19.govt.nz/ - new government website that we have been asked to direct people to

Ø  Weekly update reports will be provided to Council and Community Board Chairs as of this week. The first email was sent yesterday.

Ø  Messages are on the HCC website with regular messaging via Facebook and Twitter. Staff are being kept up to date with regular emails and messages on Our Space (our intranet). The messages for staff cover leave, updating personal and emergency contact information, keeping us informed if anyone has an immune-compromised health condition, with a significant focus on health and safety and the precautions that are in place to protect staff and the community. We are also working on guidelines for staff who have to do on-site visits and interact with the public as part of their job.

Ø  AP/LTP Engagement - We are relooking at our approach given face to face communication may not be possible during the consultation period (6 April to 7 May). The digital platform Bang the Table is part of the engagement already. Facebook live, videos and Microsoft Teams are being considered for further engagement possibilities. We are also talking with other councils about their approach. We are keeping in touch with DIA and SOLGM who are providing advice and guidance. I am meeting on Monday next week with those colleagues to look at this and other flexibilities the sector may require.

Environmental Consents

Our staff are receiving calls from people needing their LIMs due to lending institutions signalling a restriction of borrowing. We have been in touch with a key stakeholders. Our LIMs team is responding to requests, and are aware of the volatile financial situation. There is a fast track 5 day LIM service available if requests are urgent (fees apply). More information is available at huttcity.govt.nz/lims.

 

Community Facilities and Services

All of our facilities are experiencing a reduction in visitation, both through cancellation of events and activities and a reduction in general foot traffic. In particular, participation in Learn to Swim has dropped significantly (204 cancellations), many sporting codes have suspended activity so no longer need pools, fields and courts, and six schools have cancelled visits to the Dowse.

 

Many sports codes and community groups have proactively cancelled or suspended their activity. Council has cancelled or suspended some activities where Ministry of Health guidelines are compromised. (e.g.: visits by the Build ‘n’ Play Trailer were cancelled by some schools and we have now suspended all as the equipment is shared and taken to different schools daily). Our usual cancellation policies are being used at this stage which means event organisers and participants get a full refund and people such as gym users are able to freeze their membership.

Where events and activities are going ahead we are following Ministry of Health guidelines and providing this advice to external organisers.

Our aim is to keep facilities and services going wherever possible and we are constantly assessing risk and mitigating where possible.

 

This includes:

 

Where we have contracts for the maintenance of sports field which are not required, we are switching the focus to additional cleaning where needed.

 

It’s vital that we all keep calm, but are prepared for what may be some major changes ahead. Our focus is on enabling our city and people to thrive in the face of this world-wide pandemic.

 

 

 

 

Jo Miller

Hutt City Council Chief Executive