Councillor Catherine Stewart's opposition to the Tauranga City Council's approach to the Long Term Plan was challenged this week by fellow councillor Gail McIntosh who asked her to provide an alternative instead of simply voting against the issue.
Councillors were asked to approve a set of key assumptions and strategic directions as the basis of forming the 2018-2028 Long Term Plan – something the council is required to update every three years.
Councillor Stewart voted against recommendation, saying the forward planning required is more the mandate of central government, not councils.
“I just feel that they are putting extra burdens on our ratepayers that we don't need to be involved with.”
Tauranga city councillors already have to cope with the growth and the development of the new urban areas at Te Tumu and Papamoa.
“I just feel we should focus our minds on what we should need to do. I see contradictions in here with climate change, sea levels rising and then allowing more intensification over at the mount.”
Gail says the contents of the key assumptions reflects the subjects of conversations councillors have among themselves in the back room, and with council staff. She challenged Catherine to provide her own detailed list of how she would approach the Long Term Plan.
“Instead of voting against something, how about you telling us what you would do differently because that annual plan is detailed out there now and in due course the long term plan details will become available.
“I'm quite happy to have more detailed conversations on this, and very encouraged that we are having this discussion now.”
Councillor Larry Baldock challenged a proposed rising sea levels assumption saying it was stated as a fact when it was only an estimate.
“It is for some, still a matter of debate and we should not be basing our assumption on that.”
He also wanted an explanation of government approved brownfield redevelopment protocols added to background an assumption about urban intensification.
The key assumptions represent the important trends and projections that are expected to affect the council and the city over the next decade.
The Summary of Key Assumptions and Strategic Direction forms the basis for developing the Long Term Plan by providing a common set of data and direction for the organisation to use in its planning.
The assumptions are about Tauranga's population growth, aging, socioeconomic deprivation, and changing ethnic profile.
For example Tauranga's population for 2018 is estimated to be 134,600, for 2028 154,900, and for 2048 186,693.
And more of them will be older. The median age will move from 40.5 in 2018 to 41.4 in 2028, and 42 per cent of the city's population is expected to be over 65 by 2063.
Tauranga will also see an increase in the Maori and Asian proportion of the population. Over the life of the LTP the Maori proportion of the population will grow from 19 per cent to 21 per cent, and the Asian proportion will grow from eight per cent to 10 per cent.
There are also assumptions about Tauranga's environment, employment in the city and technological change. The key assumptions are to be used by the staff LTP project team as a planning basis.