1                                        17 November 2020

jHUTT CITY COUNCIL

Policy, Finance and Strategy Committee

 

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

 Tuesday 17 November 2020 commencing at 2.00pm

 

PRESENT:

Cr S Edwards (Chair)

Mayor C Barry

 

Cr K Brown (Deputy Chair)

Cr J Briggs (from 2.04pm)

 

Cr D Bassett (from 2.04pm)

Cr B Dyer (from 2.05pm)

 

Cr D Hislop

Deputy Mayor T Lewis

 

Cr S Rasheed

Cr A Mitchell

 

Cr L Sutton

Cr N Shaw

 

APOLOGIES:                  Cr C Milne.

 

IN ATTENDANCE:       Ms J Miller, Chief Executive

Ms A Blackshaw, Director Neighbourhoods and Communities

Ms H Oram, Director Environment and Sustainability

Mr M Boogs, Director Strategy and Engagement

Ms A Welanyk, Director Transformation and Resources

Mr K Puketapu-Dentice, Director Economy and Development  

Ms J Livschitz, Chief Financial Officer

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

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

Ms K Alkema, Chief People Officer (part meeting)

Ms J McCandlish, Health, Safety and Wellbeing Manager (part meeting)

Ms C Taylor, Principal Research and Evaluation Advisor (part meeting)

Ms T Lealofi, Democracy Advisor

Ms H Clegg, Minute Taker

 

 

 

PUBLIC BUSINESS

 

 

 

 

1.       APOLOGIES 

 

Resolved: (Cr Edwards/Cr Mitchell)                                         Minute No. PFSC 20601

“That the apology received from Cr Milne be accepted and leave of absence be granted and apology for lateness received from Cr Briggs be accepted.”

 

2.       PUBLIC COMMENT

There was no public comment.

3.       CONFLICT OF INTEREST DECLARATIONS     

The Chief Executive advised that all Councillors were members of the Hutt Valley Chamber of Commerce.  She also advised that she was on the Board of Hutt Valley Chamber of Commerce.

4.       Recommendations to Council

 

i)

Hutt City Council Annual Report to 30 June 2020 (20/1204)

 

Mr Andrew Clarke and Mr Stephen Usher, representing Audit NZ were in attendance for the item.

The Chief Financial Officer explained that the final audit was not yet complete.  However it was expected to be considered at the Council meeting on 8 December Council meeting.

Cr Bassett and Cr Briggs joined the meeting at 2.04pm.

Mr Clarke advised there were no real issues with the Council Controlled Organisation audits and he expected these to be completed shortly.

Cr Dyer joined the meeting at 2.05pm.

With regard to the Annual Plan audit, Mr Clarke advised valuations, group consolidations, tax disclosure and performance and financial reporting were still being worked on.  He advised that this year, a significant portion of Council’s assets had been revalued resulting in extra audit work being required. He said no major issues had been identified.  He added that a key area of focus (Covid-19 impacts) had been completed and that no issues had been identified.  He explained that he was waiting on the full audit from Wellington Water Ltd (WWL), for inclusion in the Council’s audit report.  

In response to questions from a member, Mr Clarke advised the final audit needed to be approved by Council by 31 December 2020. He anticipated this timeframe would be met, dependent on receipt of the WWL audit. 

Cr Bassett advised WWL was holding its Annual General Meeting on 25 November 2020. It was expected the audit would be approved at the meeting.

In response to a question from a member regarding the links between the Annual Plan and the four wellbeings, the Chief Financial Officer acknowledged this was a work in progress as the wellbeing framework was not in place when work on the Annual Plan commenced.  She advised the 2021-2022 Annual Plan would be better aligned with the wellbeings.

In response to a question from a member regarding the drop in revenue for development contributions, the Chief Financial Officer advised the Development Contributions Policy was currently under review and the outcome for the budget would be different moving forward.

 

ReCOMMENDED: (Cr Edwards/Cr Brown)                  Minute No. PFSC20602                                                                

“That the Committee recommends that Council:

(i)    notes that a public notice will be published in the Hutt News, as well as on Council’s website and Facebook page advising of the availability of the Annual Report and Annual Report Summary attached as Appendix 1 to the report;

(ii)   notes the Annual Report and Annual Report Summary will be available on Council’s website within one month of adopting the Annual Report; 

(iii)  agrees hard copies of the Annual Report Summary will be made available by request and in the City’s libraries, Community Hubs and at the main administration building;

(iv)  agrees that a subcommittee comprising of Mayor Barry and the Standing Committee Chairs Deputy Mayor Lewis,  Cr Hislop and Cr Edwards will sign off the final documents;

(v)   approves the draft Annual Report and Annual Report Summary for the year ended 30 June 2020 attached as Appendix 1 to the report, subject to satisfactory resolution of the following outstanding items:

(a)   completion of final edit checking;

(b)   completion of any final audit adjustments; and

(c)   receipt of final audit clearance;

(vi)  receives Audit New Zealand’s opinion on the 2019-2020 Annual Report; and

(vii) adopts the 2019-2020 Annual Report.”

 

ii)

Budget Update 2020/21 (20/1308)

 

recommended: (Cr Edwards/Cr Dyer)                        
                                                                                       Minute No. PFSC 20603

“That the Committee recommends that Council:

(i)   notes the year-end carry overs of projects due to timing changes; and

(ii)  agrees to amend the operating and capital budgets as detailed in the report due to changes in timing of expenditure, refer to Table 1 and Appendix 1 attached to the report.”

 

iii)

Draft Hutt City Council COVID 19 Recovery Plan (20/1342)

 

The Director Neighbourhoods and Communities elaborated on the report.  She explained the Recovery Plan (led by Council); was step two in a three step process. She advised that steps two and three converged as small pockets of resurgence of COVID would occur during the recovery phase.  She added that significant social and economic impacts were expected for the next five years with minimal short term health impacts.

The Director Neighbourhoods and Communities explained the Recovery Plan goals were to ensure that residents and the economy of the city thrived. She said there were three initiatives proposed: targeting community funding towards groups responding to COVID; pivoting Council resources to connect all forms of funding to the areas where it was most needed and developing strategic themes to inform the Long Term Plan 2021/2031.

With regards to strategic themes, the Director Neighbourhoods and Communities advised that many issues faced by the community during the COVID lockdown and subsequent months were not new. She said Council should be able to better assist and manage such situations.

The Director Neighbourhoods and Communities explained the Circular Economy theme; the Food Resilience theme; and the Connected and Resilient Communities theme.  She added Business and Employment, and Housing and Homelessness themes were also being developed and holistic and high trust approach to how Council worked with the community was being proposed.

In response to a question from a member regarding the extent of homelessness in the city, the Director Neighbourhoods and Communities acknowledged many people currently lived in overcrowded conditions. She noted that Council had provided two tranches of funding to assist with the homelessness situation.

In response to a question from a member regarding the wellbeing aspect of the Recovery Plan, the Director Neighbourhoods and Communities advised building relationships with communities across the city and within Council were important. She said that the strategic themes would be reflected in future reports to Council.

In response to a question from a member regarding links to communities, the Director Neighbourhoods and Communities acknowledged that Council was not well connected to some parts of the community and that had hampered the initial response roll out.  She highlighted better links with the District Health Board (DHB) were required.

The Chief Executive added that links with the Ministry of Education, DHB and Public Health were growing and were a focus of the Regional Leadership Group.

In response to a question from a member concerning the timeline of establishing a Response Plan in the future, the Director Neighbourhoods and Communities advised it was intended this could be rolled out quickly and that the basis of a Recovery Plan would be incorporated in the LTP to ensure continuity.  She added that a repot to the next Audit and Risk Subcommittee meeting would detail the Recovery and Resurgence Plans.

In response to a question from a member regarding the dashboard graphics, the Director Neighbourhoods and Communities advised these covered regional information and could readily be included in future reporting.

In response to a question from a member regarding a lack of reference to the Lower Hutt District Plan review and the National Policy Statement – Urban Design (NPS-UD) in the Homelessness and Housing strategic theme, the Director Neighbourhoods and Communities confirmed these would be referenced in future documentation.

In response to a question from a member regarding economic recovery, the Director Neighbourhoods and Communities advised that whilst Lower Hutt had not been as negatively affected as other areas of the country, there was a concern that once all government subsidies ended the true economic impacts would be realised.  She added that Council needed to have a plan in place to support businesses.  The Chief Executive added that the Hutt Valley Chamber of Commerce was active in this area.

In response to a question regarding the $42,000 in funding allocated to the community, the Director Neighbourhoods and Communities advised this funding was used to assist group stakeholders in building a resilient food network and to community groups responding to the impacts of COVID.  She added that funding had a proviso that the group stakeholders work with Council in forming strong partnerships into the future.

In response to a question from a member regarding Connected and Resilient Communities, the Director Neighbourhoods and Communities advised that officers were in liaison with the Police who had established the Neighbourhood Watch Programme. She said strong neighbourhood support networks fitted with Council’s more holistic approach to supporting communities.

 

ReCOMMENDED: (Cr Dyer/Cr Shaw)                         Minute No. PFSC20604    

“That the Committee recommends that Council:

 

(i)    notes that the Recovery Plan has been approved by the Corporate Leadership Team;

 

(ii)   agrees to adopt the HCC COVID-19 Recovery Plan (the Plan) (attached as Appendix 1 to the report);

 

(iii)  notes that initiatives already underway have been enabled by reprioritising existing budgets and resource, including $127K allocated through the 20/21 Community Funding round in September to groups responding to COVID-19 impacts;

 

(iv)  notes that in September $42K was also allocated to a partnership with Common Unity to lead work on creating a resilient and sustainable local food system;

 

(v)   notes that a further $257,556 will be allocated to community initiatives responding to COVID-19 and aligned to the principles of a circular economy, and that this will be approved by the Chief Executive in consultation with the Mayor and Standing Committee Chairs, as per COVID-19 protocols; and

 

(vi)  notes the Mana Whenua, community and business leaders and social and community groups have been engaged in the development of this Plan and that further feedback on the strategic approaches proposed will be sought as part of engagement for Long Term Plan 2021/31.”

 

iv)

Proposed Solid Waste and Minimisation Bylaw (20/1314)

 

Cr Bassett left the meeting at 2.43pm.

The Sustainability and Resilience Manager elaborated on the report.

In response to a question from a member, the Sustainability and Resilience Manager acknowledged clause 13.4 did not contain a time limit for the required reporting to Council after an event. He agreed to address this issue in the final report to Council.  He noted this issue had not been raised at the regional working group or within submissions received during public consultation.  He agreed a suitable timeframe might be within 30 days of an event closing.  The Chief Executive advised legal advice would be sought, to ensure such an inclusion did not require a full public consultation exercise, and that the goal of regional consistency was not compromised.

In response to questions from a member regarding the event management threshold numbers, the Sustainability and Resilience Manager advised that common sense should prevail. He said a three day event attracting 500 people each day would meet the 1,000 attendees threshold, even though 1,000 people were not present on any one day.  He added that the threshold number had been reduced to 1,000 and that further public consultation was not required as this was an issue which had been raised in submissions.

Cr Bassett rejoined the meeting at 2.49pm.

In response to a question from a member regarding the reporting back to Council after an event, the Sustainability and Resilience Manager advised these would be collated by officers and reported to the relevant committee.

In response to a question from a member concerning the phasing in of the proposed bylaw, the Sustainability and Resilience Manager advised a staged implementation process over two years was proposed.  He added that the Multi-Unit Developments requirements would be required first and that education for event managers would be important.

Cr Briggs noted that Council requested a lower threshold for event numbers (1,000), to better reflect the circumstances of the city. He noted the increase in resources required if the threshold was lower than this and supported directing resources to areas of biggest impact.  He supported the increased focus on waste minimisation rather than waste management.

Cr Hislop added that there was discussion at the hearing about the threshold. She said after receiving advice from officers concerning the numbers expected at events in Lower Hutt, the members supported a threshold of 1,000 rather than lowering it to 500.

 

Cr Mitchell supported the recommendations. He said the recommendations supported regional consistency and although smaller events might not be required to provide a Waste Minimisation Plan, they could be encouraged to adhere to the principles of one.

Cr Dyer commented that regional consistency was important. He said if too many inconsistencies existed then event organisers might locate an event to a more favourable city.

 

ReCOMMENDED: (Cr Edwards/Cr Hislop)               Minute No. PFSC 20605

“That the Committee recommends that Council adopt the proposed Solid Waste Bylaw  with changes as identified in Appendix 2 attached to the report.”

 

 

Precedence of Business

 

Resolved: (Cr Edwards/Cr Dyer)                                              Minute No. PFSC 20606

“That, in terms of Standing Order 10.4, precedence of business be accorded to item 4(vi).”

The item is recorded in the order in which it is listed on the order paper.

 

v)

Unlicensed Public Use of Council Land - Encroachments (20/354)

 

The meeting adjourned at 3.48pm and resumed at 4.00pm.

The Head of Strategy and Planning elaborated on the report. She advised that the option to retain the 90cm rule had been introduced.  She stressed that the initial object of the bylaw was to get those who encroached onto public land to be licensed and pay the required fee.

Cr Bassett rejoined the meeting at 4.01pm.

In response to a question from a member regarding the proposed pavement licensing, the Head of Strategy and Planning confirmed a flat fee was proposed regardless of how much pavement was being encroached upon.  She added the extent of pavement used varied from business to business and that once licensed and paying a fee, the details about sizes of encroachments and a potential scale of fees could be investigated.

Cr Hislop rejoined the meeting at 4.05pm.

In response to questions from members regarding different fees currently being paid and the rationale for charges for garden encroachments, the Head of Strategy and Planning advised she would report back on current fees being paid.  She added that currently of the 42 identified commercial encroachments, only seven paid a fee. She said the existing 2003 Encroachment Policy contained the level of the current fees being charged.

Mayor Barry rejoined the meeting at 4.06pm.

The Head of Strategy and Planning advised that the current policy did not contain any rationale for the variety of fees charges. She said that officers were currently assessing whether the market value of the encroached portion of land could be used to develop a formula to base fees upon.  She noted this would require every encroachment to be assessed individually and would result in charges for similar uses and land extents being different in different parts of the city. 

In response to a question from a member, the Head of Strategy and Planning explained that an application for a building consent might trigger the need for an encroachment licence.  However the two processes were dealt with by two different divisions of Council.  The Director Environment and Sustainability added that a Note is appended to a resource consent application if an encroachment licence was required as such a licence was not enforceable under the Resource Management Act.

In response to a question from a member regarding the location of business encroachments, the Head of Strategy and Planning explained they could be anywhere on the pavement including against a window or kerbside.

In response to a question from a member regarding encroachment licence practices around the country, the Head of Strategy and Planning advised most local authorities had a policy of some sort. She said many were at least 15 years old and in need of review. She added Council’s current encroachment license fees were low compared to other local authorities.

In response to a question from a member regarding the officer’s recommendations, the Head of Strategy and Planning acknowledged the confusion recommendation (iii) (a) and (b) might cause. She agreed to report back to the Council meeting on 8 December 2020.

Cr Brown left the meeting at 4.16pm.

In response to questions from members regarding flagpoles on the footpaths, the Head of Strategy and Planning advised these were covered by a different bylaw and were not deemed to be encroachments.

In response to a question from a member regarding large berms that residents planted in gardens to reduce the amount of mowing required, the Head of Strategy and Planning acknowledged this. She advised that under the proposed bylaw, if such planting covered more than 10m2, an encroachment licence and fees would be required.

Cr Brown rejoined the meeting at 4.18pm.

Cr Mitchell advised he had a planted garden outside of his residential property which was 80cm wide, and 10.4m2 in size, which was not fenced off, but people could not walk through it.  The Head of Strategy and Planning advised this would require licensing, and acknowledged the grey area in determining whether or not it was precluding public access and whether an encroachment fee would be required.  She added the 10m2 allowance was permissive. She said that if a person or business was using public land for personal or commercial benefit, then according to Council’s Financial Strategy, the person benefitting from something, should be paying for it.

In response to a question from a member regarding an illegal encroachment having to be returned to “flat grassed land” should an encroachment fee not be forthcoming, the Head of Strategy and Planning acknowledged this might not be possible for some suburbs and agreed to reassess the wording.  She added that council had a berm mowing policy of providing two rough cuts per year to berms in order to prevent a hazard.

In response to a question from a member, the Head of Strategy and Planning advised the residential property owner or the tenant wanting to encroach, would pay the encroachment fee.

Cr Brown left the meeting at 4.25pm.

In response to a question from a member concerning historic encroachment arrangements, the Head of Strategy and Planning advised she had no knowledge of historic arrangements. She said if there was a written record that would be taken account of.

In response to a question from a member regarding the parking of motorhomes on berms, the Director Environment and Sustainability advised motorhomes were deemed a building under the Lower Hutt District Plan and needed to comply with RMA requirements.

MOVED: (Cr Edwards/Deputy Mayor Lewis)

“That the Committee recommends that Council:

(i)    notes that Council in November 2018 asked officers to identify all unlicensed encroachment areas, review the scale of the project in terms of number and type of encroachment and develop options for Council to consider to address the issues related to unlicensed encroachments;

(ii)   agrees that all encroachments are licensed,

(iii)  agrees that licences will not be required for garden encroachments where they meet the following criteria:

(a)   size – they are less than 10 sq metres in size; and/or

(b)   function – they are accessible and do not interfere with public use or Council access to it;

(iv) agrees a staggered approach is taken to licensing encroachments as follow:

(a)   pavement;

(b)   garage;

(c)   garden; and

(d)   drainage;

(v)  agrees that the work to license existing encroachments begins immediately starting with pavement licenses;

(vi) agrees that current encroachment license fees will apply until 30 June 2021.  These are:

(a)   Garages – single $128, double $256;

(b)   Garden - $115;

(c)   Drainage $57.50; and

(d)   Pavement - $57.50;

(vii)     agrees to rescind the requirement that pavement licences must be renewed every three years;

(viii) agrees to rescind the 90cm rule which makes the first 90cm of footpath freely available for businesses to use without an encroachment licence.

AMENDMENT MOVED: (Cr Mitchell/Cr Edwards)

An additional part to read “that officers be directed to undertake further work in regards to setting encroachment fees based on land valuations and report back.”

Cr Dyer expressed concern with a proposal to use land values to set encroachment fees He explained that the fees had not been reviewed since 2003 and that land valuations had increased significantly in that period.  He believed there was a difference between business use of public land and private residents planting out road berms. He said the differences should be reflected in a fees schedule.

Cr Sutton supported the motion. She added that equity across the city was required prior to any scale of fees being proposed. 

Cr Brown agreed with Cr Sutton.  She added that she would be interested to review policies from other local authorities.

Cr Edwards agreed with Cr Sutton, adding that restricting public access for private benefit was not acceptable.  He further added that by introducing the bylaw, officers needed to signal that fees would be reviewed in the near future. He said communications with the public was important.  He preferred that the 90cm rule be retained to provide some leeway for businesses. He believed that having items safely on the footpath added vibrancy to an area. 

The Head of Strategy and Planning agreed to clarify the wording of (iii) a) and b), with regards “and/or”.  She said final version of the proposed bylaw presented to Council would contain the correct wording. 

 

ReCOMMENDED: (Cr Edwards/Deputy Mayor Lewis)
                                                                                    Minute No. PFSC20607

“That the Committee recommends that Council:

(i)    notes that Council in November 2018 asked officers to identify all unlicensed encroachment areas, review the scale of the project in terms of number and type of encroachment and develop options for Council to consider to address the issues related to unlicensed encroachments;

(ii)   agrees that all encroachments are licensed;

(iii)  agrees that licences will not be required for garden encroachments where they meet the following criteria:

(a)   size – they are less than 10 sq metres in size; and/or

(b)   function – they are accessible and do not interfere with public use or Council access to it;

(iv)  agrees a staggered approach is taken to licensing encroachments as follow:

(a)   pavement;

(b)   garage;

(c)   garden; and

(d)   drainage;

(v)   agrees that the work to license existing encroachments begins immediately starting with pavement licenses;

(vi)  agrees that current encroachment license fees will apply until 30 June 2021.  These are:

(a)   garages – single $128, double $256;

(b)   garden - $115;

(c)   drainage - $57.50; and

(d)   pavement - $57.50;

(vii) agrees to rescind the requirement that pavement licences must be renewed every three years; and

(viii) agrees to retain the 90cm rule which makes the first 90cm of footpath freely available for businesses to use without an encroachment licence and;

(ix)  directs officers to undertake further work in regards to setting encroachment fees based on land valuations and report back to the Committee.”

For the reasons that considerable work has been completed to identify every encroachment in the city, categorise these and assess the effort required to address the number of unlicensed encroachments in the city in response to Council’s earlier direction.  Officers are now in a position to present options for consideration.

The current situation where only 1 in 7 encroachments is licensed means that a small number of ratepayers are licensed and paying the cost of their encroachment while a much larger group of ratepayers are gaining the benefits of an encroachment at no cost. 

Crs Dyer and Mitchell requested that their votes be recorded against the above matter.

vi)

Draft Wellington Regional Growth Framework (20/1309)

 

Ms Kim Kelly, Project Director from Greater Wellington Regional Council was in attendance for the item. She advised four different workshops on the regional growth framework had been conducted.

Deputy Mayor Lewis acknowledged the legislation required local authorities to undertake this work and queried regional consistency between District Plans.  Ms Kelly advised that the initial framework would provide guidance and that the proposed Future Development Strategy document would contain more legislative requirements for all District Plans in the region.  She added it was expected each local authority would provide for higher residential densities around train stations and that greenfield developments would be required to be medium density and public transport orientated.

 

ReCOMMENDED: (Cr Edwards/Cr Hislop)              Minute No. PFSC 20608

“That the Committee recommends that Council:

(i)    notes that the draft Wellington Regional Growth Framework (the Framework) is the result of a partnership between central government, local government and iwi;

 

(ii)   notes that the draft Framework is generally consistent in content and structure to other spatial plans developed within the urban growth partnership programme;

(iii)  notes that a  ‘public consultation friendly’ version of this Framework (smaller and more concise) will be developed for the public consultation process in 2021 and that an example of what this might look like is attached as Appendix 2 to the report; and

 

(iv)  endorses the Framework attached as Appendix 1 to the report for public consultation.”

For the reasons that the region’s councils, mana whenua groups and central government have developed the Framework to address future growth in the Wellington-Horowhenua region.

  

5.

Technology Valley 6 Monthly Update to 30 June 2020 (20/1295)

Report No. PFSC2020/6/258 by the Head of City Growth

 

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

Ms Anthea Mulholland and Mr Hayden Kirk from Technology Valley Forum were in attendance for the item.

Ms Mulholland elaborated on the report.  Ms Mulholland highlighted areas of strength, including an increasing number of face to face engagements with businesses, assisting with COVID response plans and opening up new domestic markets.  She commended Council’s Head of City Growth for his work in this area. 

With regard to developing a sustainable business model, Ms Mulholland advised this was challenging in the COVID situation. She said it was believed a robust model was now in place. She advised that the transition from full reliance on Council to independence to be more responsive and representative of the industries, was on track.  She added it had been a good exercise to challenge the organisation and establish resilience models.

Deputy Mayor Lewis left the meeting at 3.39pm.

In response to a question from a member, Ms Mulholland advised that industry advisory groups had been established. This assisted in information sharing and promotion of the Directory.

Deputy Mayor Lewis rejoined the meeting at 3.41pm.

In response to questions from a member, Ms Mulholland advised that larger scale manufacturers were just beginning to feel the impacts of COVID. She said the Hutt Valley Chamber of Commerce was working with these industries.  She added that COVID had disrupted many supply chains with either no supplies or inferior supplies being delivered.  She further advised that Technology Valley was trying to connect businesses with more efficient ways to operate.  She acknowledged that as the sector was fragmented economies of scale were difficult to achieve.  She explained she managed the Directory and that it was designed to be self maintaining with each business responsible for updating its own details.  

In response to a question from a member concerning third party logistics, Ms Mulholland advised this provided an opportunity for a hands on approach without much risk. She said that local capacity needed to be identified to enable a shared inventory management system to be established which would reduce the risk for all. 

 

Resolved: (Cr Edwards/Cr Bassett)                                          Minute No. PFSC 20609

“That the Committee notes and receives the report.”

For the reason that Technology Valley is required to report to Council on performance on a 6-monthly basis.

The meeting adjourned at 3.49pm and resumed at 4.01pm.

6.

Hutt Valley Chamber of Commerce 12 Months Report to 30 June 2020 (20/1296)

Report No. PFSC2020/6/259 by the Head of City Growth

 

Ms Helen Down, Chief Executive, Hutt Valley Chamber of Commerce (the Chamber) was in attendance for the item. 

Ms Down elaborated on the report.

With regard to climate change and resilience, Ms Down advised this was a difficult area to get businesses to focus on, post COVID, and that it was a work in progress. With regard to transport, education and infrastructure, she said this was a successful area of business with many people being placed in permanent work and work experience positions.  With regard to infrastructure, she noted the Chamber was in contact with government daily to provide reports and seek support for specific businesses.

Mayor Barry left the meeting at 3.07pm.

With regard to International Business Development, Ms Down advised this was a constant and rapid area of work with a new level of governmental engagement emerging.

Mayor Barry rejoined the meeting at 3.10pm.

With regard to the Retention of Businesses, Ms Down advised work was focussing on helping government recognise the value of the Hutt Valley. She said the COVID situation had altered the focus of reporting from quarterly to be more reflective of the COVID levels.  She added this assisted government departments to be more focussed on suitable responses when and where required.

Ms Down thanked Council for its support through the COVID situation.  She advised the Chamber had offered its services to all Hutt Valley businesses for free during the COVID situation, whether they were members or not.  She highlighted the financial strain on the Chamber.  She added that reference to a six monthly report within the report were incorrect and this was a 12 monthly report.

In response to a question from a member regarding capacity issues, Ms Down advised that the Chamber had recently increased its staffing levels and utilised the services of contractors and Council officers. She said it was also investigating new revenue streams, including working with Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment (MBiE).  She added the Chamber had negotiated a rent reduction for next year. She noted that with membership being increasingly difficult to rely on and finding alternative revenue streams was a focus.

In response to a question from a member regarding the markers of success, Ms Down advised she was confident they were set at the correct level.

Cr Brown left the meeting at 3.19pm.

Cr Sutton left the meeting at 3.20pm.

The Chief Executive said the high trust relationship with the Chamber was built on a long track record of working together.  

Cr Brown rejoined the meeting at 3.21pm.

In response to a question from a member regarding the need for more work brokers,
Ms Down advised government was interested and the Chamber was working with MBiE in this regard.

Cr Sutton rejoined the meeting at 3.22pm.

Ms Down added that the Chamber was lobbying MBiE to redirect monies from the Provincial Growth Fund and that it was proving to be a slow process.  She further added that many government funding streams were difficult to access.

In response to questions from a member regarding the difficulty in recruiting staff,
Ms Down explained that many businesses did not understand the Gateway Programme.  She added there was currently a disconnect between what the education system provided  and what the business sector required.  She believed apprentice schemes were invaluable.

Members commended Ms Down for her achievements and efforts.

Mayor Barry supported the comments of members. He added the Council’s thanks for the advocacy work the Chamber had undertaken on the Melling Project and Shovel Ready Projects.

 

Resolved: (Cr Edwards/Cr Mitchell)                                  Minute No. PFSC 20610

“That the Committee:

(i)            notes and receives the report; and

 

(ii)      requests Council to send a formal letter of thanks to the Hutt Valley Chamber of Commerce, with special mention of Ms Down and Council’s Head of City Growth.”

For the reason the Hutt Valley Chamber of Commerce is required to report twelve monthly to the Committee on performance against agreed performance measures.

 

7.

Strategic Property Portfolio - Update (20/1297)

Report No. PFSC2020/6/260 by the Head of City Growth

 

Resolved: (Cr Edwards/Cr Briggs)                                            Minute No. PFSC 20611

“That the Committee receives and notes the report.”

For the reason that the Property Working Group for Advancing Strategic Projects is required to report six monthly to this Committee on the portfolio of properties for advancing strategic projects.  This is for monitoring purposes.

 

8.

Council performance overview for the quarter ended 30 September 2020 (20/1132)

Report No. PFSC2020/6/261 by the Chief Financial Officer

 

The Chief Financial Officer elaborated on the report. She noted the budgeted $3M of savings for the year were ontrack for achievement.

In response to a question from a member regarding the higher operating revenue for the Landfill, the Director Environment and Sustainability advised this could be attributed to large building projects and the existence of the asbestos disposal area which had experienced increased useage.

Mayor Barry left the meeting at 4.43pm.

In response to a question from a member regarding the jump in occurrences of recycling contamination, the Principal Research and Evaluation Advisor advised this could be as a result of the limited recycling collections during COVID. She added that residents might have put recycling in with the glassware and this meant the glass was rated as being contaminated.

Mayor Barry rejoined the meeting at 4.45pm.

In response to a question from a member regarding the wording of the measure of “adequacy of cycling on our roads”, the Principal Research and Evaluation Advisor explained that whilst Council was investing in dedicated cycleways, this performance measure remained in the financial budgets and was required to be reported on.  She added this would change as new measures were added to replace redundant ones.

In response to a question from a member regarding the high level of satisfaction listed with the existing rubbish and recycling system, the Principal Research and Evaluation Advisor explained that the survey question was answered only by those users of Council’s bag collection service.

In response to a question from a member regarding the 3 Waters Reform monies, the Chief Financial Officer advised that the first tranch of this had been received as expected and that the small overspend on budget could be covered.  

In response to a question from a member concerning the Riverlink budget, the Chief Financial Officer advised that Council had increased the budget in early 2020 to respond to the potential risk of the project.  The Director Economy and Development advised the project team was currently working to produce a more defined budget and required  further conversations with Waka Kotahi.  He added that the new Waka Kotahi GPS were more focussed on the provision of more active forms of transport which the Riverlink Project achieved.  The Chief Financial Officer advised an update would be reported to the Long Term Plan/Annual Plan Subcommittee.

 

Resolved: (Cr Edwards/Cr Briggs)                                            Minute No. PFSC 20612

“That the Committee notes and receives the report.”

 

9.

New Zealand Local Government Funding Agency 2020 Annual Report (20/1076)

Report No. PFSC2020/6/262 by the Chief Financial Officer

 

Resolved: (Cr Edwards/Deputy Mayor Lewis)                        Minute No. PFSC 20613

“That the Committee notes and receives the Local Government Funding Agency Annual Report for the year ended 30 June 2020.”

 

10.

Health and Safety Update (20/1310)

Report No. PFSC2020/6/118 by the Health & Safety Manager

 

The Health, Safety & Wellbeing Manager elaborated on the report. She highlighted the changes made since the COVID lockdown including the Good Yarn Mental Health Programme and the Managing Through Change Programme.

Cr Dyer stated it was useful to see comparisons with the last period to identify any trends. 

 

Resolved: (Cr Edwards/Cr Briggs)                                            Minute No. PFSC 20614

“That the report be noted and received.”

 

11.

Policy, Finance and Strategy Committee Work Programme 2020 (20/1312)

Report No. PFSC2020/6/119 by the Democracy Advisor

 

Resolved: (Cr Edwards/Cr Briggs)                                            Minute No. PFSC 20615

“That the work programme be noted and received.”

12.     QUESTIONS   

          There were no questions.

 

There being no further business the Chair declared the meeting closed at 4.54 pm.

 

 

 

 

S Edwards

CHAIR

 

CONFIRMED as a true and correct record

Dated this 8th day of December 2020