Taranaki Regional Council has continued its strong and prudent financial management with a $2.6m surplus for the 2021-2022 financial year.
The Council maintained strong levels of service as it worked towards improving lifestyles, taking Taranaki forward and supporting livelihoods while planning for the future and ensuring it can meet the challenges that the huge raft of reforms being rolled out by central Government will bring.
The Council adopted its 2021/2022 Annual Report at today’s Ordinary Meeting.
“The surplus is a fantastic result and our achievements show we continue to make a difference to the lives of people across Taranaki,” Chair David MacLeod says.
The $2.6m surplus was significantly ahead of budget and was strongly influenced by property and asset revaluations ($1.8m) and the non-commencement of expenditure on the Waitara River catchment (following enactment of the New Plymouth District Council (Waitara Lands) Act 2018) and the Kaitake Trail Te Ara a Ruhihiwerapini. Excluding these extraordinary influences, the budget ran close to plan.
“We’re laying the foundations for the future with work on the new Natural Resources Plan and we’ve started to implement the freshwater reforms,” says Mr MacLeod. “Change is a constant and the Council is well placed to take on board those changes and continue delivering services across the region.”
As well as freshwater reforms, the Council is planning for proposed changes from central Government to the Resource Management Act, Three Waters and local government.
Areas of the Council impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic have continued to recover with a 40% rise in passengers using the South Taranaki to New Plymouth Connector bus service while visits to Pukeiti, Tūpare and Hollard Gardens hit 110,000.
Figures show efforts to safeguard the environment by working together with the community continued with the addition of 30 new comprehensive farm plans and 24 biodiversity plans prepared for Key Native Ecosystems. The Taranaki Taku Tūranga Towards Predator-Free Taranaki programme expanded, including an additional 23,000ha in Ōpunake and Oeo added to the rural project that controls stoats, weasels and ferrets (mustelids).
A key focus was improving how the Council works with Māori and this included a new Heads of Agreement with the eight iwi of Taranaki detailing how they and the Council can work together to advance development of the Natural Resources Plan. This year also saw the introduction of a Māori constituency for the 2022 local elections.
A summary of the Council’s 2021/2022 Annual Report will be published in community newspapers in October, and the full document will be available on the Council website.