Hutt City Council appoints Retail Co-ordinator

Further to last weeks list of LTCCP $30,000 is being put up by the Hutt City Council for each of the next three years to help pay for a retail co-ordinator for the central business district. Further to that the item has generated enough interest over Mayor Ogdens comparision to Newmarket Aucklands coordinator to warrant a TV interview on TV3

Mayor David Ogden told councillors at the recent meeting to make final decisions on the Community Plan that he is “very unhappy” with what’s happening in downtown Lower Hutt. There are too many empty shops (24 as at last month) and retailers who remain “could be better supported”.

The $30,000 would “at least” pay for a part-time co-ordinator to try to get some action going.

Cr David Bassett pointed out that Business Hutt Valley is proposing a special rate be levied on CBD businesses from 2010/11 to fund better promotion of High St, Queens Drive and the surrounding area.

But Mr Ogden argued for “something to happen now”. He pointed to Newmarket, Auckland, as an example of a thriving retail destination where businesses pull together under a very energetic co-ordinator (Cameron Brewer).

“He’s on the radio and television all the time.”

Councillors also added $20,000 p.a. to the budget to retain the retail co-ordinator for the Stokes Valley, Naenae and Taita shopping centres.

A mix of carry-over funding and $100,000 of extra spending will be used to finish off the installation of paving, seating and trees throughout the rest of the Stokes Valley (Scott Court) shopping centre. There are also plans for interactive sculptures and the work will complement a proposed donation of an artwork by Guy Ngan.

However, the work in Stokes Valley pushes out a proposed upgrade in Taita shopping centre by a year.

Councillors agreed to this on the basis it made sense to finish off all the work in Stokes Valley instead of continuing to do it piecemeal, and because the proposed extension to Walter Nash stadium, incorporating the community hall, offers potential for a comprehensive look at what’s best for the Taita shops – including potentially re-orienting the opening facades of buildings.

Completing a package of expenditure aimed at boosting economic prospects, the council agreed to lift its funding of Positively Wellington Tourism of $40,000 to $60,000. Mr Ogden said this recognises that PWT is making efforts to direct cruise ship passengers to TheNewDowse, Jackson St and Maori Treasures as well as ongoing work to attract long-haul airline services to Wellington airport.

“I don’t think we can freeload off them,” the mayor said.

Hutt City Council Capital Expenditure spend for LTCCP

Last Wednesday night was the approval of the Capital expenditure budget for the HCC, both current (rates) and funding for the Long Term Community Council Plan (LTCCP).

In each case we have covered off the arguments for and against several of these projects (listed below). Some of these are well of the mark in regard to public opinion. Just click through to link it to previous posts, to get further insight into where this money is going, and why. To introduce the LTCCP money spend I leave it to the words of the Mayor David Ogden

“Council however remains committed to meeting the community’s need for services and facilities and the changes to the LTCCP reflect that, including:

  • Additional $2.3m to bring council’s contribution to the Walter Nash Stadium upgrade to $4m (previous post)
  • Extra $100,000 for the Stokes Valley shopping centre upgrade in 2009/10 (see post)
  • $2.2m for Korohiwa bus barns redevelopment agreed to (previous post)
  • $800,000 for Wainuiomata Hill summit bridge in 2011/12
  • $500,000 for Naenae subway improvements in 2011/12 (previous post)
  • Additional $200,000 a year for cycle ways from 2009/10 to 2018/19 (see post)
  • Grants to Mitchell Street tennis courts ($200,000) and replacement hockey turf at Fraser Park ($100,000)
  • $2.15m for environmental initiatives between 2009/10 and 2018/19 
  • $150,000 to upgrade security cameras in the CBD, and to install new cameras in Wainuiomata from 2009/10 to 2011/12 (see post)
  • Funding for a part-time CBD retail coordinator, and further funding to retain a retail coordinator for the Stokes Valley/Naenae/Taita shopping centres (see post)
  • $300,000 for the final stage of Hutt Park redevelopment brought forward from 2014/15 to 2009/10 (pr post)
  • $500,000 for a synthetic turf at Memorial Park brought forward from 2015/16 to 2011/12, and an extra $10,000 budgeted for in 2009/10
  • $50,000 for sound and lighting improvements to Little Theatre in 2009/10
  • $500,000 boost to events budget over 10 years
  • $300,000 for new street trees to be planted between 2009/19
  • Extra $185,000 to upgrade the Tutukiwi orchid house in 2009/10. 

Other key features of the LTCCP include:

  • $1.25m to upgrade McKenzie Pool in 2010/11 (previous post)
  • $1.1m for a learn to swim pool at Huia Pool in 2012/13
  • $24m to earthquake strengthen the main council building in 2016/17
  • $18m for Cross Valley Link in 2015/16.

We at HuttNZ will investigate the rest of the items not previously posted about in an endeavour to match these up against the LTCCP presented to the commnity, and if warranted will look into items that need more public discussion.

No doubt many of these items will raise concerns to the public, but several need to be looked at in light of central government spending that supports several of these projects, and is incumbent on local government to support them as well.

Please use the links provided to gain greater understanding of these current projects. 

I look forward to your comments.

Hutt City Council Rates Increase 2009/2010 3.4% up

This is the first in a series of posts in light of last Wednesdays HCC budget meeting, I will breakdown the proposed expenditure in the coming year in a separate post.

All reviews are in light of the Long Term Community Council Plan (LTCCP), and the impact on these items up to the year 2019.

First Rates:- (you never thought these would go down did you)

  • Rates Increase 3.4%

As a result of an increase in council rates revenue in 2009/10  increase is now set at 3.4%, down from 3.9%      projected in the draft LTCCP.

This is a direct result of an 11th hour “across the board” cut of $600,000 from the citys operational budget in the coming year 2009/10.

The 3.9% increase is in line with CPI plus 0.5% for city growth. The $600k is out of an operating budget of $120 million, so its not much 0.5% of a percent saving (give me strength).

The difficulty with the above figure is that CPI relates to the current year where as the HCC operates to a different schedule (June year), and indications are that the CPI of 3.4% will actually be around 2% making the council adrift in their efforts to curb increases to residents.

It is well known that people are suffering in the current economy. This has impacts on individuals as well as businesses.

Mayor David Ogden says:

“Times are tough with many households and businesses struggling to make ends meet.  Council recognises this and will cut its cloth to keep rate increases down,” 

“We believe savings can be found and council managers have agreed to examine all areas of expenditure and come back with specifics on how this can be achieved.”

Average increase to rates are yet to be determined but council officials reckon it will be around a 2.9% increase because of increased rate roll through property growth. No doubt upon receipt of this years rate bill, will you truely get an insight into whether you think the HCC is performing, and reacting fast enough in this economy.

I wonder if 0.5% cut to budget is asking enough of our council. I suspect most people who are directly effected by rates have had to trim their costs by more than 0.5%

Final note: Rates will contribute about 65% of this years income for the HCC, being $78m out of income of $118m (estimates)


Given all the above (if you can stomach the figures) it appears the HCC is doing OK, I give them a pass mark. Other councils in NZ have had far greater increases passed but all of this needs to be factored against Capital expenditure items HCC approved (my next post).

Hutt Region City Councils Long Term Council Community Plan (LTCCP)

Hutt City Draft Community LTCCP 2009-2019

Hutt City Draft Community LTCCP 2009-2019

Your submission is required by the 5pm Thursday 30th April.

There are several other draft plans that effect the Hutt Valley at present. Listed below are the times for submissions:

Upper Hutt City Councils Draft Plan 1 April – 13 May 2009

Greater Wgtn Regional Council Draft Plan 23 March-24 April at the same time they will also be undertaking separate consultation between 23 March and 24 April on the Regional Land Transport Programme for the Wgtn Region.

But lets look at the Hutt plan in a bit of detail. First its 325 pages long, thats right 325 pages. What are they talking about that takes that much material. Well each household would have received a summary via post.  This document is 14 pages long, and provides a blurb from the Mayor and CEO as to the purpose behind the LTCCP, which is to look ahead 10 years, an opportunity to provide your views on projects and activities they are proposing and how they will spend the money to fund this in the coming 10 years. The 325 page document gives far greater depth, in fact its frightening that it takes this much space to explain their goals / activities etc. One puts this up against the Greater Wgtn plan of the same agenda (Long term planning) it only runs to 223 pages, 100 pages less.

But the whole purpose of these documents is to provide greater accountability to you the ratepayer, you pay these guys to provide services. The document is loaded with facts and projections.

A cursory look unfolds a couple of  facts /harbingers

  • Rates  Expect these to be around 2-3% increase each year (includes inflation). If inflation is higher rates will be higher.               
  • Income Council gets approx 64% of its income from rates, property owners in the Hutt 
  • Debt The Council is $75m in debt (2009) and expects to get this down to $30m (2015)

Several projects (in excess of $1/2million) are listed for consideration on the submission form, and as democracy goes the only way you can have your say is via a submission, part of the  form survey. This leads to a chance to present your submission to the Mayor in early May, if you desire. The process is similar for the other LTCCP plans.

One has to dig quite depth to find specifics, but in line with current postings of interest in the Hutt Valley, the  railway line is one subject that crosses the boundaries of several of these plans. By searching through the plans available one can find some interesting points:

1.   Hutt LTCCP P.165 investigate with Greater Wgtn Regional Council opportunities to expand parking at Waterloo Railway station (Park & Ride).

2. Greater Wgtn LTCCP P.20 Introduce a charge for Park & Ride Parking. Investigate a levy for parking at Park & Ride areas that are currently experiencing high usage where demand exceeds supply. see

One could concur that the Waterloo interchange Park and Ride parking is to be one of these areas. It currently is the second highest use railway station (behind Porirua). It has 617 carparks, and on most days carparks are scarce. An interesting fact also is that 50% of people that use the park live within 1.85km of the parks.

I would think that in light of this, albeit from 2 seperate plans that consideration be given to the commuters who use rail, that this matter be brought to light sooner rather than later.

How come the current parking has been provided for many years without charge?

Is charging going to impact on other transport alternatives, is it  not part of Greater Wgtn Regional to ensure traffic corridors are sustained and maximised?

Would it not be courtesy to state within the Hutt Plan that charges are contemplated for this exercise?

Unfortunately the above can only be answered by the Councils involved in time, what I am more concerned about is a level of transparency in each councils agendas especially where councils have dual responsibility.

What else lies within these documents ?  

The only way is to look at these documents in greater depth especially around areas that concern you, or impact on your residence or livelihood. Find any let me know!