A stronger future for Otago

Future opportunities and challenges were front of mind as we prepared the draft Long-Term Plan for 2024-34.

This plan is important for our future — it sets the direction, identifies key work programmes for the next 10 years and explains the rates implications for the work proposed.

This newsletter highlights some of the things the Council is proposing in the draft plan and tells you about the different ways you can have your say.

In preparing the draft plan, we looked at the work we have planned and the outcomes we want to achieve — strong and resilient communities, partnering with mana whenua, protecting our environment, addressing climate change and providing public transport.

We want to assess what levels of service our communities need or want, and we are mindful of affordability, so we are sharing different options to see what you prefer.

We’re giving significant focus to public transport and large-scale environmental project funding, and we’re proposing some changes to how rates are calculated. The impact of these changes will be different for everyone depending on where you live in the region.

We want to hear what you think about what’s proposed. There are drop-in events around Otago, come and talk to councillors and staff or give your feedback on our website or by post. There’s also more information on our website.

There’s more information about this on the ORC website

This is an opportunity for everyone to have their say and help us to shape the future of Otago.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Gretchen Robertson,
Chair, ORC


Changing how we rate

We’re proposing changes to rates to ensure they will be applied fairly and so we have a more workable and transparent approach, giving ratepayers a better understanding of what their rates are funding.

Changes are proposed to 10 different rates. These proposals don’t impact the level of services we are providing — they’re about how work is funded through rates and who pays.

The proposed changes would mean some change for every property in Otago, although the impact for each would depend on things like where the property is located, and the services provided for that area.

We’re proposing changes, particularly for public transport, and we’re looking to ensure that debts are repaid in reasonable time frames by the properties that would have been charged this rate. This would impact Dunedin and Queenstown ratepayers who have a targeted transport rate.

We’re proposing changes to ORC flood or drainage scheme rates to better reflect the benefits of these schemes to the region and cover costs of these assets.

Other types of rates we’re proposing to change are for river management, catchment management, harbour navigational safety, farm monitoring and wilding pine control.

Go to orc.govt.nz/ltp to learn more and have your say.

Try our online rates estimator to learn the possible impact on your property: orc.govt.nz/ratesestimator

Investing in our environment

We play an important part in caring for Otago’s environment.

A healthy environment is not just about looking after our flora and fauna — it’s important for our wellbeing and economy. By funding environmental improvements, we’re investing in current and future generations and our economy. We’re helping to maintain the environmental improvements we’ve already made and we’re supporting climate change work — all building a stronger future for Otago.

Funding that had been used to support a range of work in Otago is coming to an end. This will leave a gap in funding for important environmental work such as restoring biodiversity and pest control.

In the draft Long-Term Plan, the Council proposes to introduce an environmental fund so this work can be continued. The preferred option is a dedicated fund to support large-scale environmental projects — supporting projects that benefit Otago, such as protection and restoration of water catchments, land or threatened ecosystems. It’s proposed there would be at least $500,000 in funding available in 2025-26 and that this would be funded by targeted rates in districts. This would be on top of ORC’s existing environmental project funding for the region.

Learn more about this proposal, find out what the rates impact would be for your property and have your say at orc.govt.nz/ltp

Investing in public transport

Public transport is an important way for people to get around Otago’s two biggest centres, Dunedin and Queenstown, with people taking more than four million trips on our buses last year.

Not only do our public transport services help people get around, they also help the environment by reducing congestion and carbon emissions.

We’re proposing to increase public transport funding over the next 10 years to build on our services in Dunedin and Queenstown. We’re trying to strike a balance between improving public transport and keeping costs manageable.

We’re proposing to spend around $315 million on Dunedin’s public transport over the next 10 years. This is to keep running the same services, upgrade the fleet to electric and make some low cost, big benefit changes to some services.

In the Queenstown area, we’re proposing to invest close to $194 million in public transport over 10 years, needed due to growth in the area and to encourage more people to use public transport, which helps to reduce gridlock.

We’d need to use rates to cover these costs, and we’d also need funding from Waka Kotahi / NZ Transport Agency.

Learn more about this proposal, find out what the rates impact would be for your property and have your say at orc.govt.nz/ltp

Regional public transport trials

We’ve listened to calls to expand the places we offer public transport and we’re proposing to investigate and trial public transport for regional Otago in these areas:

  • Ōamaru on-demand (targeted rate)
  • Alexandra, Clyde, Cromwell to Queenstown (general rate)
  • Balclutha to Dunedin, including airport (general rate)
  • Wānaka (targeted rate)


Crucial flood protection work

We provide flood protection and drainage to around 43,000 ha of rural and urban land in Otago, including three flood protection schemes in Alexandra, the Water of Leith Stream in Dunedin and the Lower Taieri Plain.

We’re responsible for 218 km of floodbanks, 14 pumping stations, 42 bridges, 535 km of drains, 369 culverts and other structures. These are all impacted by things like climate change, settlement trends and change in land use.

ORC has drafted a new infrastructure strategy for these schemes, outlining how we will maintain these key assets over the next 30 years.

Around $315 million in upgrades and infrastructure renewal is planned, with $67 million of this in the next 10 years.

Learn more about the infrastructure work we’re planning to do, find out what it will cost and have your say at orc.govt.nz/ltp


Want to know more?

You can get more information about what is being proposed in the Long-Term Plan at orc.govt.nz/ltp, or pick up a Long-Term Plan consultation document from an ORC office or your local council library.
There’s also lots of other supporting information on the ORC website.

Want to speak to a councillor?

Come along to one of our Long-Term Plan events being held across Otago, or get in touch with a councillor to talk about what’s proposed for the next 10 years.

Drop-in Events

Wednesday, 10 April | 12–1.30pm | South Dunedin Presbyterian Church Hall, 395 King Edward Street

Wednesday, 10 April | 4–7pm | Mosgiel Coronation Hall, 97 Gordon Road

Thursday, 11 April | 12–2pm and 4–7pm | Early Settlers Hall, 1 Severn Street

Monday, 15 April | 12–2pm and 4–7pm | Cross Recreation Centre, 18 Glasgow Street

Tuesday, 16 April | 12–2pm and 4–7pm | Alexandra Community Hall, Skird Street

Wednesday, 17 April | 4–7pm | Mezzanine Meeting Room, Queenstown Events Centre, Frankton

Thursday, 18 April | 4–7pm | Lake Wānaka Centre, Armstrong Room, 89 Ardmore Street

Page last updated 22 July 2024.