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Tasman Mayor sets the tone for the next term

October 25th, 2013
[TDC press release]

Richard Kempthorne has been sworn in as Mayor of the Tasman District for his third term today at the Council's first meeting of the new term along with recently elected Councillors including new Motueka ward Councillor Peter Canton.

Within the meeting the Mayor spoke to the direction the Council, as a group, will be focusing on over the next three years.

"Building on the Council's good track record of delivering sustainable and affordable infrastructure throughout one of the biggest Districts in the country, this Council will have a number of important decisions to deliberate, the largest being the Lee Valley Dam", said Mayor Kempthorne.

"The ongoing sustainable development of the District for current and future generations is key. We need to ensure Tasman has the infrastructure and plans necessary to allow those who choose to live here to do so successfully. In doing so, we need to lay the groundwork to enable our young people to stay in the District.

"The messages have been heard 'loud and clear' to keep rate increases as low as possible, reduce our reliance on debt and manage our growth and development sustainably. To aid this we will be focussing on the Council's financial strategy signalled as a major piece of work last term.

"Aspects of our work cannot be achieved alone and we will be working closely with central government, local government as a whole and most importantly our near neighbours. We share a lot of the issues and demands placed on governing bodies and it is sensible and essential we work together to achieve positive outcomes.

"I have certainly stressed that while we represent all of the communities that make up Tasman, we will be working for the District as a whole. We have a collective responsibility to ensure this Council succeeds for all the citizens we represent."


Comment by Philip Grimmett:
[Posted 27 October 2013]

Good to hear, via Mot Online, from the newly re-elected Mayor. I was particularly interested by the clear and immediate reference to the Lee Valley Dam. I made a submission on this subject, which along with other citizens, caused the TDC to pause. Submitters queried the Council costs of the process as well as the financial risk, and rating impost, that TDC ratepayers could be exposed to If it were to proceed.

With this proposal at the top of the agenda, I hope a full and thorough economic, social and environmental assessment is conducted, rather than the flawed process recently afforded(?) the Ruataniwha Dam proposal in Hawkes Bay!

This Lee Dam Irrigation Scheme, as proposed by farming and business interests, deserves serious consideration. IF a viable business case, and all other interest groups benefit, and the environment is enhanced and not degraded, I see no justification for any ratepayer or TDC funding to be necessary. If the business community can satisfy these prerequisites and are prepared to meet the full costs, to benefit all in the region, I wish the proposal all the best.

Comment by Jim Butler:
[Posted 30 October 2013]

I am afraid "The Tasman Mayor sets the tone for the next term" sounds very much like more of the same, with expenditure exceeding income with the difference made up by borrowing.

It will be interesting to see if any attempt is made to reduce borrowing during the remainder of this financial year, so our debt at 30th June will be less than the $172 million estimate.

It will be even more interesting when the Draft Annual Plan for the 2013 / 2014 Annual Plan comes out to see if there is still to be an increase in debt. With interest payments on our present debt approaching $9 million a year, our rates will still be increasing much more than inflation.

In defending increasing borrowing, one of the more ridiculous statements made, is that it shifts the cost of infrastructure onto future generations. One doesn't need to be much of a mathematician to work out that interest on a 20 year loan at 5% equals the sum borrowed. So most of the same generation is paying twice for the same work.

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