Louise Miller, Kaipara District Council CEO

Kaipara economy surges ahead

by Andy Bryenton

Investment and increased economic growth in Kaipara are two of the highlights in Kaipara District Council’s 2018–2019 Annual Report, which was adopted by council at its meeting last Thursday.

The detailed accounts also show that in five years the $76 million debt incurred by the ill-starred Mangawhai wastewater overspend has been reduced by $31 million — by $1 million in the past year to $45 million.

The original debt saw council replaced by commissioners until the full council was restored in the 2016 local body elections.

The last year has seen an economic boost to the district, including growth in building consents and subdivisions that were higher than expected.

Income from these sources has risen rapidly in the last few years, from $950,000 in 2013/14 to $3.9 million last year.

The council invested $14.4 million in capital works to improve the district’s roads and saw $28.24 million allocated from the government’s Provincial Growth Fund to establish Kaipara Kickstart.

This programme incorporates three distinct but linked projects that use Kaipara’s natural assets to lift the district: improving roading across Kaipara, using wharves for water-based transport on the Kaipara Harbour, and for growing high-value food crops.

“Kaipara Kickstart is a sign of central government investment in the stability and potential of our district. This funding enables us to start some exciting work as part of our commitment to grow our communities and prepare for the future,” said Kaipara Mayor Jason Smith.

Work undertaken across the district included resurfacing 51 kilometres of sealed roads, metalling 43.2 kilometres of unsealed roads, and continuing the roll-out of LED streetlights. In addition, council completed a $1.2 million project to better manage stormwater and reduce the effects of flooding on low-lying properties in Quail Way, Mangawhai.

Chief executive Louise Miller said council had achieved a marked improvement in customer service.

“Our focus on providing better service has helped us achieve a seven per cent rise in resident satisfaction in our Customer Perception Survey this year, which is great to see,” she said.

“We’ve created a new website, reduced call waiting times, and launched new online tools to update our communities about what’s important to them and seek people’s input.

“I’m also very proud that we were the first council to achieve full marks in Food Agency Accreditation to certify food businesses in the district.”

Ms Miller said council was working alongside communities to help them grow and thrive and awarded $300,000 of grants funding for community projects and made $300,000 available for community reserve projects in the past year. It also led public governance training workshops and community conversations about how best to support community-led projects.