The focus of this LTP has been about balancing increased demand on us by central government, holding the line on progress we've made, meeting community expectations and high priority needs, and affordability. On this website we have outlined how we are aiming to achieve this tricky balance and several areas that we would like your feedback on. This information is supported by other information that you can find on this website, as well as ways you can share your thoughts with us.

Planning this LTP has consumed the better part of the last year for your local councillors and has been an experience unlike any other as we've workshopped Horizons' activities and levels of service. Not only are we facing cost of living increases, we are at - in some ways - a tipping point across the country in terms of ageing infrastructure (such as flood protection assets), increased climate related events and ageing populations. All councils are looking at large increases simply to provide the same level of service because inflation impacts us the same way it does a household. Added to that a new government and a lack of clarity around exatrly what might change for us, to say the planning process has been challenging is an understatement.

However, in times of challenge and uncertainty, we are reminded of the importance of working together and having a clear idea of what we’re here to do. Our strategic priorities and community outcomes provide this focus. In August last year we asked for your thoughts on the priority areas Council was considering for this LTP. It was the first time we had undertaken early engagement and we were pleased to have over 150 submissions during the four-week period. The feedback we received told us we were on the right track with our priority areas as no other suggestions were put forward. Overall, people wanted us to focus on local solutions for local problems, taking a long-term view rather than short-term decisions, delivering core services at the lowest cost to ratepayers, working with and supporting the community, and providing tangible insights to help the public understand Horizons’ work. This feedback has been helpful, alongside our community outcomes, as we’ve made decisions to get where we are now, staying true to core business and aiming to deliver what we believe our communities expect of us.

It is also important to note that these proposed rates will vary district to district due to factors such as district rating revaluations and targeted rates for specific projects such as urban passenger transport services for certain areas (Issue 3c, page). For example, when Council proceeds with the proposed increase in bus services in Palmerston North, Palmy residents will see an increase in their rates invoice which is significantly higher than the proposed total rate increase of 12.9%. Other ratepayers in different districts may be rated less than previous years. No rates invoice will be the same, not even neighbour to neighbour.

To understand how the proposed rates translate to your individual property check out our rates search or click here to see how the proposed rates movements affect a group of sample ratepayers across the region.

In this consultation document, you will find more about what we are planning for, what we have already committed to, our updated strategic priorities and community outcomes, and items for consultation. Some of the proposals we want your feedback on are:

  • how much of our highly productive land gets mapped,
  • a new approach to managing river catchments,
  • river management asset insurance
  • changes to targets in our Freshwater and Partnerships activity,
  • increased levels of service for public transport, and
  • changes to cost recovery for water metering consents.

I would like to acknowledge there’s still a lot of uncertainty around government decisions so we’ve planned the best we can. We were already considered a lean organisation and government requirements are stretching us even more, but we are hopeful things will get clearer in time as we get closer to deliberations and can adjust as required prior to adopting our LTP. This consultation is the starting point for the conversation with our communities.

This consultation webspace also includes a summary of our Infrastructure Strategy and Financial Strategy, as well as the outcomes of the recent reviews of our Revenue and Financing Policy and our Significance and Engagement Policy. If you want further information about something not included in here, please get in touch or take a look at our Supporting Information, which can be found here. Alternatively, if you would like one of our councillors to come and talk to your community group, please contact and we will do our best to make this happen.

The work we do across all our districts has a direct impact on making our place a healthy environment, where people are thriving. This is why we’d like to hear your views on the options we’ve provided. Let us know if we have got it right before 5pm 22 April 2024.

Having your say on how we manage the region's natural resources really can make a difference. Council does its best to keep rates at an affordable level while ensuring there are opportunities to preserve and enhance agreed environmental outcomes, so your feedback can help shape how we spend your rates. The submission form can be found on this webpage, where you can also find our Supporting Information and other ways you can submit. These are also available at your nearest Horizons' office.

I’m excited for what the next ten years has in store for our region and the work we are aiming to achieve, and I look forward to hearing what you think.

Poipoia te kakano, kia puawai - nuture the seed and it will grow.

Ngā mihi nui

Rachel Keedwell
Rachel Keedwell's signature

Rachel Keedwell

Have your say

Fill out the submission form to help us look long term for our region.