Council reviewing harbour fund

Whakatāne District Council is currently undergoing a legal review of its Harbour Fund, which can currently only be used for investing in harbour assets.

Whakatāne District Council is looking at ways it could spend money from its harbour fund on costs other than the harbour.

At a Green Drinks event, held by the council in conjunction with Sustainable Bay of Plenty Charitable Trust, strategy and transformation general manager Steven Perdia said the council was reviewing its legal necessity to spend money in the harbour fund only on the harbour.

Mr Perdia was giving a presentation on the Long-term Plan 2024-34, in which the council is proposing an average rates rise of 17.1 percent.

Questions were raised around the harbour fund. Where that money comes from and whether it can be transferred to other uses such as three waters projects to ease those cost pressures on ratepayers.

Mr Perdia explained that the council has a harbour endowment portfolio of commercial properties.

“Those properties generate a revenue income, through commercial land leases. The money generated from that is called the harbour fund.”

The council has previously committed over $9 million from the harbour fund to the Te Rāhui Herenga Waka Boat Harbour project, on which work has currently stalled due to site contamination issues.

“At the moment the harbor fund has a gazette notice in Government, which says the harbour fund must be used for harbour purposes,” Mr Perdia said.

“Historically the council has been using that fund to reinvest in its harbour assets.

“Council is currently going through a process of legal review of that requirement to see if that gazette notice is currently fit for purpose and whether the council can use that money or invest it in different ways.”

Mr Perdia urged people to make submissions on the long-term plan.

“We have four key questions that we’d really like imput on but you can submit on anything you want to. The mayor and the councillors are the final decision makers. All councillors will read every submission.

“They will listen to every person that come in who wants to be heard. Often people think that consultation doesn’t get listened to, but I can tell you that it does.”

The council told Local Democracy Reporting that harbour fund balance as at June 30, 2023 was $15.65 million.

Of the $9.8 million committed to the boat harbour, $5.7 million has been drawn and a further $4.1 million is currently undrawn.

Consultation closes on April 12. Submission forms are available from the council or on its website,

LDR is local body journalism co-funded by RNZ and NZ On Air.

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Boat Harbour project

Posted on 03-04-2024 15:42 | By bruce.b

So as a Whakatane rate payer I would like see more information on what the $5.7 million dollars have been sent on, because there is no way that has been spent on that project to date, that's for sure. Te Rāhui Herenga Waka Boat Harbour project.

The Master

Posted on 03-04-2024 16:39 | By Ian Stevenson

Sounds like a bundle of cash is there for a specific reason and someone has a few "PET" projects to spend it all on instead. That usually attracts the attention of the authorities who would simply follow the money to get to the ring-leaders to lock them up.

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