Pre-Election Report


See what challenges Palmy is facing over the next few years

This report aims to promote public discussion and informed debate in the lead-up to the 2022 local government elections. It includes key issues facing the city, a close look at Council's financial position, and information about how we fund our projects, services and facilities.

Whether you’re looking to stand as a candidate, or simply casting your vote, this report is a must-read ahead of the election.

Pre-election Report 2022(PDF, 7MB)

Local Government and Resource Management Act changes are coming soon

The overall structure of New Zealand’s local governance is being reviewed and reforms from this work could cause the biggest shake up seen by local and regional councils for decades.

A review into the future for local government will identify how local democracy needs to change over the next 30 years and it will have a massive effect on the nature and shapes of councils, communities and other organisations. One of its major aims will be for councils and central government to work more collaboratively.

We will also likely see massive changes to the existing resource management system, which sets out how we should manage our environment. The changes will impact our planning processes and decision making.

Read more about these reforms and what they mean for Palmy on pages 14 – 15.

The Three Waters reform will be one of the biggest changes our city faces in the coming years

The Three Waters Reform will see Palmy’s wastewater, stormwater and drinking water infrastructure being managed by a separate entity in the future. Compliance will be managed by a new agency known as Taumata Arowai and there will be four operational entities, with Palmerston North being in Entity C.

The new entities will officially take over the water services on 1 July 2024.

While we do know some core things, there’s a certain element of crystal ball gazing underway to determine any potential effects on our organisation and our city.

Read pages 18 – 19 to find out what we currently know about the Three Waters Reform and what it may mean for Palmy.

Palmy soon home to New Zealand’s best wastewater treatment

Our consents for our wastewater treatment and discharge are expiring in 2028 and we’re currently in the process of applying for new ones. This project goes by the name of ‘Nature Calls.’

The timing of our new consents has fallen at a time where there’s been significant technological developments, far stricter environmental requirements, greater cultural awareness, and more societal pressure to look after our environment – while also keeping costs down.

Read more about this project on page 20 and on page 57 where we cover how much it’s going to cost.

How we keep up with housing demand

As Palmy’s population continues to grow, so does demand for housing. We currently have 90,500 people calling Palmy home and we expect that this will reach 100,000 by 2030.

To keep up with positive growth, we need to free up housing options for new residents and those of us who’re already here.

We’ve got a lot planned and have a number of projects already underway. Read more about this on pages 24 and 25 of the report.

We’re keeping Palmy moving

Despite Palmy’s rapid growth, only eight per cent of people in Palmy regularly walk to work, four per cent bike and only two per cent catch the bus. If we are to avoid congestion and issues affecting other growing cities in New Zealand, we need to change the way we move. This means tough decisions need to be made and Council will need to juggle different user groups’ priorities when it comes to planning.

To get to know the challenges we face around transport and what we’ve got planned in this space, read pages 28 and 29 of the report.

Doing our bit to combat climate change

In December 2020 our government declared a climate emergency. As a result, councils are setting out to get to net zero carbon emissions by 2050 to do our part in keeping global warming to +1.5 degrees or below.

This means our Council needs to find ways of lowering its emissions and encouraging others to lower theirs. We’ve already created a ‘Low Carbon Fund’ which invests $1 million each year in lowering carbon outputs from our operations. So far, we’ve used this towards more efficient streetlights, boilers, systems at the Lido and electric pool cars for our officers.

But reaching our carbon targets is not something Council can do alone! We need buy-in and effort from our community to create a climate-resilient future for Palmy, with cleaner air and energy, better transport options and healthier homes.

Read more about this on page 31.

Supply chains have affected a number of our projects

The COVID-19 pandemic has slowed down global supply chains. This means several of our construction projects have been greatly impacted or delayed.

Competition for limited shipping space creates challenges for our contractors when it comes to ordering materials and having them shipped over before construction is scheduled.

We don’t know how long this will continue, so financial forecasting and planning become very tricky.

Read more about this on page 33.

Seismic upgrades are needed

We’ve got a high number of potentially earthquake-prone buildings scattered across Palmy and by law we need to strengthen or demolish them. Timeframes are tight, as buildings must be upgraded within the next 15 years.

We’re working with building owners, tenants and the community to upgrade these buildings, retain those with heritage value, and ensure the city centre remains commercially viable.

Read more about this and how it impacts Council on page 35.

We’re transforming our city centre for a number of reasons

Think of every city you’ve visited. The city centre is usually front of mind in almost all memories of visiting or living in a city. We want you to be proud of our city centre, have our businesses thriving, and for our visitors to be in awe of just how great Palmy is. More than 10,000 people visit our city centre each weekday, and we see far more people in the weekend.

Our City Centre Transformation is made up of a wide range of programmes, that we’re working on over the next decade, and have funding for in our 10-Year Plan.

Read more about this on pages 38 – 43.

We aren’t the city we once were

For years on end, Palmy wasn’t really known for anything. But, as our ambition and innovation began to grow, we decided to make some big moves to really set ourselves apart from the rest of the country.

We’ve completely revamped our brand and identity to keep up with growth and we activated the nickname ‘Palmy.’ We’ve also set our eyes on what we want to be known for – Palmy being the centre of food innovation for Aotearoa.

Read more about out our brand and identity on page 45.

Our organisation faces challenges too

As an organisation, growth significantly impacts us in a number of ways.

  • Attracting and retaining staff can be a challenge;
  • COVID has changed the way the world works;
  • ·new legislation means we’re reviewing and implementing new practices often;
  • and we need to do better with technology and data collection.

Read more about the challenges our organisation is facing on page 48.