Every property owner in our region contributes to the work of the Council through their rates.
As your regional council, Environment Southland’s role differs from that of city and district councils.
We are responsible for leading the management of Southland’s natural, physical resources – water, land, air and the coast – on your behalf. We do this, in part, through consenting, compliance and regional planning. In addition, we have community- and science-based programmes to improve water quality, land sustainability, air quality and biodiversity.
The council’s key flood bank and drainage infrastructure is maintained to protect Southlanders from flooding. Other regional programmes we are responsible for or participate in include regional transport, biosecurity programmes, community engagement and civil defence.
Total expenditure for the 2019/20 year is $36 million, which is an increase of $698,000 on the previous year. As per the flyer received with the rates, approximately:
- $20m goes towards environmental stewardship
Includes resource management, community partnerships, biodiversity, biosecurity, pollution prevention, environmental education, harbour management, marine oil spill response and research and monitoring of Southland’s water, land, air and coast to ensure they’re managed sustainably and available for future generations to use and enjoy.
- $8m towards community resilience
Includes emergency response and preparedness, flood warning, flood protection and control works, land drainage, hazards mitigation.
- $4m towards regional leadership
Activities that relate to governance, community engagement, regional initiatives and collaboration, transport management, and our relationship with Māori.
- $4m towards Whakahoki Te Mana
Covers the People, Water and Land programme and partnering in Waituna.
- People, Water and Land is the Council’s integrated approach to freshwater management in Southland.
- Our work in Waituna is aimed at protecting the ecological, cultural, scientific and recreational values associated with Waituna Lagoon.
The Annual Plan overview includes a chart showing this information.
Income to fund our expenditure is received from a combination of:
- fees and charges for services
- grant income
- investment returns
- expenses related to a direct benefit for a specific ratepayer are partially recovered by fees and charges – an example is resource consents, where the cost is mainly charged back to the applicant
- expenses that have an overall benefit to a group of ratepayers are recovered by way of a targeted rate, for example flood protection and drainage is recovered through a river catchment rate for areas that benefit from this service
- expenditure that benefits all ratepayers is recovered by way of a General rate.
- general rates are subsidised 44% by income from investments
- investment income includes a $4.5m dividend from our investment in South Port Ltd
There’s a chart in the Annual Plan overview that shows an overview of our funding sources for 2019/20.
It is a rate that covers council expenditure which benefits all ratepayers. For example, research and monitoring of Southland’s water, land, air and coast to ensure they’re managed sustainably and available for future generations to use and enjoy.
The General rate also pays for pollution prevention, education, regional planning, compliance, community representation, consultation with communities and our share of emergency response and preparedness.
The General rate consists of two parts:
- a fixed amount which is the same for every household in Southland
- a variable part, which is based on the Capital Value of each property
The variable part is calculated each year on the rateable value of each property. The rateable value of properties is determined annually by QV New Zealand.
The fixed amount of our General rates is called a UAGC (Uniform Annual General Charge). It includes activities that benefit everyone regardless of property size or value, such as civil defence, pollution prevention, environmental education, community representation and our 24-hour environmental response service through our 0800 76 88 45 phone number. This year the UAGC is $101.50. It has increased $6 or 6.9% over last year.
Environment Southland’s rates have overall gone up by 6.9%. However individual rates may vary significantly and this is in large part due to recent revaluations which have been undertaken within the Southland District and have resulted in movements in property values. More detail about how the rates are calculated can be found in the Annual Plan document on our website at www.es.govt.nz.
Rates amounts are unique to each property, and are calculated using several factors including property value, land value, where the property is located.
Environment Southland’s work programmes are largely driven by the requirements of central government, and differ each year. The Annual Plan 2019/20 includes our budget, which sets out the amount of rates needed to ensure we can carry out our work programmes. Inflation or CPI does not play into how the rates are calculated, however in setting the rates the council is always mindful of economic pressures on Southlanders.
Environment Southland provides a range of services to Southlanders. Our core activities include flood protection works; river catchment management; environmental monitoring and research; outreach activities such as biosecurity, land sustainability and environmental education; plus compliance; consenting; policy planning; and community representation. Additionally we have air quality and biodiversity programmes.
Over the past year we’ve made progress on the People, Water and Land Programme – Te Mana o te Tangata, te Wai, te Whenua. This is the Council’s integrated approach to freshwater management in Southland. The programme is a partnership between Environment Southland and Te Ao Marama Inc (as the resource management arm of Ngai Tahu), with a vision to “inspire change to improve Southland’s water and land”. It recognises that we will need to adapt our activities to reduce the adverse effects that land use practices have on the environment, and enable our economy and communities to thrive. Taking this step is critical if Southland is to be more resilient and sustainable in the future.