TRC stays on target amid changes and disruptions

The Taranaki Regional Council achieved most of its targets for the financial year to 30 June, in the face of the continuing roll-out of profound changes driven by central Government as well as lingering disruptions from COVID-19.

“We finished the year in a strong financial position and we were also able to start making the changes needed to prepare the region for the future,” Chair David MacLeod said as the Council adopted its 2020/2021 Annual Report today.

The year-end surplus was $11.6 million, mainly thanks to property and asset revaluations and the build-up of funds for Waitara River catchment improvements and the Kaitake Trail Te Ara, with progress on both projects subject to ongoing negotiations with iwi and hapū. There were also significant injections of Government COVID-19 funding for some projects and programmes. Excluding these extraordinary influences, the budget ran as planned.

The Council began taking steps to meet new requirements rolling out under the Government’s Essential Freshwater package. This work continues, and will be one of the largest projects in the Council’s history.

It is also eyeing implications of the Three Waters reforms, the new legislation being developed to replace the Resource Management Act, and the Government’s review of the future for local government, which has just got under way.

During the year, a record 1 million plants were distributed to the region’s farmers under the long-running Riparian Management Programme, thanks in part to a $5 million COVID-19 funding boost. Towards Predator-Free Taranaki also benefited from COVID funding, along with the Yarrow Stadium Plus redevelopment project, which is progressing well.

“The Council is well placed to continue its work protecting livelihoods, improving lifestyles and taking Taranaki forward,” says Mr Macleod. “We’re also determined to ensure Taranaki’s voice is heard clearly as the Government continues fleshing out its significant initiatives that are set to transform the role and shape of local government in the next few years.”

A summary of the Taranaki Regional Council’s 2020/2021 Annual Report will be published in community newspapers in October, and the full document will be available on the Council website.