We Asked, You Said, We Did

Below are some of the projects we have recently consulted on and their outcomes.

We Asked

We asked the public about their views on the Council’s preference to retain the existing two-ward system for the 2019 election (its initial proposal for representation). The public had one month to make a submission as part of this process, ending on 24 September. It should be noted that this formal consultation process was preceded by robust pre-consultation during which multiple representation options were canvassed with the public.

You Said

37 people completed a submission and 8 (22%) were in support of the initial proposal and 29 (78%) were opposed. Those who were opposed sought alternative arrangements, including:

  • a change from the existing ward structure to an at-large system (11 submissions),
  • a change from the existing ward structure to increase the number of wards (11 submissions)
  • a reduction to the current number of councillors (5 submissions),
  • an increase to the current number of councillors (2 Submissions), and
  • the establishment of community boards (3 submissions).

We Did

On 1 November 2018, following the mixed and contradictory feedback received through formal consultation, and the lack of a single, prevailing view about what the fairest and most effective representation arrangements for Hamilton are, the Council decided to adopt its initial proposal as its final proposal, that is, to retain the existing two-ward structure for the 2019 election. To find out more, please refer to the 1 November 2018 Council Report which is available online here.  The next steps in the Representation Review process are outlined in the timeline on our website here. The Council will know for certain what its representation arrangements are for 2019 on or before 11 April 2019.

We Asked

We asked the public for feedback on multiple options for representation arrangements for Hamilton back in June 2018. This was part of the pre-consultation phase of the Representation Review for the 2019 Elections, a process every council around New Zealand is required to undertake at least every six years. The Representation Review considers things like the number of wards (if any) that is best for our city, how many councillors we have and whether we should have community boards.

You Said

Prior to the online pre-consultation survey, 1665 people responded to our Community Profile Survey which ran from 15 February to 30 April 2018. This survey included a question about the current representation arrangements for the city. 36% of the respondents to this survey thought the current representation arrangements for the city were adequate, 47% did not know and 17% did not think the current arrangements were adequate. 

In June 2018, 420 people completed our online pre-consultation survey which asked for feedback about four possible representation options for our city (‘at large’ (no wards), status quo, more wards and a mix of ‘at large’/wards). The survey also included questions about how many councillors we have and whether or not we need community boards.  38% of the people who completed the survey cited a preference for an ‘at large’ system and 41% preferred wards (either two wards or more than two wards). Full results of this survey can be found in the Council Report from 16 August 2018 here (points 54-102).

Further feedback from the public was also sought during pre-consultation, via a phone survey (500 respondents) and focus groups (25 participants). The survey and the focus groups focused on more specific questions to gain further clarity on feedback received via the online survey. 

The overall results from pre-consultation take into account multiple datasets, but a full summary of findings is available in points 93-102 of the 16 August Council Report online here.

We Did

The Council considered all the feedback received during pre-consultation, alongside the broader research, and decided that the existing two-ward system remains the best fit for Hamilton for at least the 2019 election.  The status quo (the existing two-ward system with a Mayor elected across the whole city and no community boards) then became the Council’s initial proposal and was followed by a month-long formal consultation process, during which the public were again invited to submit feedback.

We Asked

The Council sets out its priorities, plans and budget for the next decade in its 10-Year Plan. This plan is reviewed every three years and the current one 2015-25 10-Year Plan is now due for review.  In March 2018 the Council prepared a 2018-2028 10-Year Plan Consultation Document which outlined the four big challenges we face as a city, how the Council planned to address them and some alternative options.

The four challenges were:

Challenge 1: We are borrowing to pay for everyday costs. 
The Council put forward a preferred option of two years of 9.5% rate increases, moving immediately to a capital value rating system and introducing a $500 Uniform Annual General Charge (UAGC). There were another five options presenting different combinations of the above.

Challenge 2: Deciding where Hamilton’s next big housing area will be.
The Council put forward two options, Peacocke in the south of the city or Rotokauri in the northwest of the city.

Challenge 3: Improving Hamilton’s transport system.
The Council proposed an investment of $251 million in transport improvement across safety improvements, transport choices and managing congestion.  Two alternative options were proposed being invest at a lower level of 10% less or invest at a higher level of 10% more.

Challenge 4: Investing in community infrastructure.
The Council proposed nine projects at a cost of $70.7 million.  An additional six project that the Council considered but did not include were also provided.

Consultation was open from 29 March to 30 April 2018.  Submissions could be made through the online form, completing a paper form, or provided free text in email or letter.

You Said

We received 2189 submissions from the community on the 2018-28 10-Year Plan Consultation Document.  1756 of these were from individuals and 223 from organisations or business.  244 submitters presented verbal submissions over the week of 11-17 May 2018.

The feedback provided by comments and by the selection of options was summarised and provided to the elected members along with all the submissions. The full detail can be found here in the submission analysis report.

A summary of feedback to each challenge is outlined below:

Challenge 1: We are borrowing to pay for everyday costs. 
48% of those who answered the question supported keeping the rating system the same as it is now.  The key message from the commentary was that the amount of rate increase was too high and the Council should look for efficiencies to reduce costs.  Many businesses have budgeted to move to capital value rating over the remaining 7 years of the transition and would find an immediate move financially challenging.

Challenge 2: Deciding where Hamilton’s next big housing area will be.
Peacocke was the preferred choice selected by 73% of those who answered this question. The feedback commentary encouraged the Council to plan for the impact of more housing on transport congestion and to ensure community parks and hubs are provided as the new areas are developed.

Challenge 3: Improving Hamilton’s transport system.
The option to invest at a lower rate of 10% less was the most selected option by 50% of those who answered the question, followed by 40% who selected to do the full programme of $251 million.  The commentary feedback highlighted the community’s concern about safety on our roads, the need for improved public transport, the connection of cycleways for schools and improved safety for cyclists by separating cyclist from roads.

Challenge 4: Investing in community infrastructure.
Over 84% of those who answered the question did not think the 9 projects proposed by the Council were the right mix. The commentary feedback encouraged the Council to invest in community facilities, parks, sport parks, playgrounds and libraries. Many of the community thought having attractions were important for residents and for bringing visitors to the city. There was a strong message that ‘new’ projects should be delayed until the rates are at a more affordable level.

We Did

After two days of deliberations on the city's 10-Year Plan finishing on Friday 1 June, the Council has set the projects and budget for the decade ahead, subject to formal adoption on 28 June. The decisions on each challenge are outlined below.

Challenge 1:  We are borrowing to pay for everyday costs.
After considering verbal and written submissions through public consultation, and making changes to the draft Plan, average rates changes have been set at a 9.7% increase for 2018/19 and 3.8% annually after that. This is a reduction from the rates proposed in the draft 10-Year Plan of two years of 9.5% increases and an immediate transition to UAGC and capital value rating.

Over the next three years, the Council will complete the transition to full capital value rating, a process begun in 2015.

There will also be a three-year transition to a UAGC of $500. The transition amount for 2018/19 has been set at $165. The UAGC is a fixed portion of rates and not an additional charge. 

The Council has also required the Chief Executive to deliver an $83M reduction in operating expenses over the 10 years of the Plan.

Challenge 2: Deciding where Hamilton’s next big housing area will be.
The Peacocke growth cell is the Council’s preferred growth option, ahead of Rotokauri. Opening Peacocke for development is supported by a 10-year interest-free loan from the Government plus significant NZ Transport Agency subsidies and will include a new bridge across the Waikato River.

Challenge 3: Improving Hamilton’s transport system.
The full transport improvement programme of $251M has been endorsed, funding three investment areas – managing congestion, improving safety, and supporting transport choices such as walking, cycling and public transport. The Council has decided this programme provides the best option for meeting the transport needs of the city over the next 10 years and responds to the issues raised through submissions. More than half of the $251M programme is expected to be funded by subsidies from NZ Transport Agency.

Challenge 4: Investing in community infrastructure.
The Central City Park - River Plan proposal, a vision to purchase and demolish buildings to create a new park area and open Victoria St to the river, has been amended. The Council resolved to remove all funding in the proposed plan other than $7M to purchase property.

The Council resolved to support the proposed Waikato Regional Theatre, committing $25M to the $73M project. Philanthropic group Momentum Waikato is raising the remaining $48M from across the region, including a proposed $5M from the Waikato Regional Council. Hamilton City Council would not own or operate the new theatre but would support it with a $1.1M annual operating grant.

A $19.6M project for a community hub in Rototuna has been endorsed. The hub will include a library, public square, part of the development of a town centre in the suburb, and space for a swimming facility to be developed separately with a commercial operator.

A proposal for an entrance charge at Hamilton Gardens this year was not supported, the Council instead opting for a multi-faceted approach to funding the Gardens. This includes a targeted rate on all city ratepayers of $10 in the first year of the 2018-28 10-Year Plan, increasing by $1 per year for the following nine years. The Council also resolved to seek a proposal from the Hamilton Gardens Development Trust to complete the Gardens development and identify funding options which could include a future entrance fee for international visitors and enhanced donations.

Hamilton’s Playgrounds of the Future Plan has been supported with a resolution that one third of the funding to implement the plan is to be sought from external funders, and approving $5.5M in capital expenditure across the next 10 years.

The Council has also endorsed a $4M grant towards the construction of a new indoor recreation facility in partnership with the University of Waikato. This facility will be available for community use.

The Council has not supported the draft Plan’s proposal for an upgrade of Garden Place, but has requested staff seek expressions of interest from the private sector to fully fund improvements and has allocated $100,000 in Years 1-3 of the 10-Year Plan to support the Hamilton Central Business Association’s plans to activate the central city.

The city’s sports parks received a boost as the Council resolved to allocate $3M in capital expenditure in Years 2-4 of the 10-Year Plan for a programme of drainage and irrigation improvements, plus a further $711,000 in operating expenditure in Years 2-10.

Funding has been confirmed for a new fenced dog exercise area at a cost of $177,000, with the location to be decided following community consultation.

We Asked

In November, a proposed policy was approved by Hamilton City Council (the Council) for consultation between February and March 2018 asking for public feedback. The proposed policy (found within the statement of proposal, here) was a sinking lid policy with no relocations or mergers allowed whereas the existing policy is a sinking lid policy only allowing for limited relocations and mergers.

You Said

74 written submissions were received at the close of the consultation in March 2018 and 26 verbal submissions were heard in April 2018.

The written responses received have been published and are available to view by clicking here.

A majority, 56 out of 74 (76%), of the written submitters stated that the proposed policy was too restrictive.

We Did

The Council decided in May 2018 to retain its existing policy which allows for limited relocations and mergers. The existing policy is scheduled for review by September 2019. A link to the existing policy can be found on Council's website at www.hamilton.govt.nz/policies  or click here to view.

We Asked

In November 2017, a Proposed Dangerous and Insanitary Buildings policy (proposed policy) was approved by Hamilton City Council (the Council) for consultation between February 2018 and March 2018 asking for public feedback. The proposed policy (found within the statement of proposal, found under Related heading below) set out how the Council will identify and deal with dangerous and insanitary buildings.

You Said

Five (5) written submissions were received at the close of the consultation in March 2018 and one verbal submission was heard in April 2018.

The written responses received have been published and are available to view by clicking on Published Responses heading below.

A majority of submitters felt that the approach in the policy to identify and deal with dangerous and insanitary buildings was clear. A majority of submitters also felt that a revised version of the draft policy was not necessary.

We Did

The Council decided in May 2018 to adopt the Dangerous and Insanitary Buildings Policy. The policy is scheduled for review in May 2023. The policy is published on the Council’s policies webpage and a link to the policy can be found here.

We Asked

Hamilton City Council (the Council) asked for public feedback on the proposed amendments to the speed limit schedules within the Hamilton City Speed Limit Bylaw 2013 to set speed limits on any road within the jurisdiction of the Council other than State Highways, which are controlled by New Zealand Transport Agency.
 

You Said

143 responses were received, giving us feeeback on the proposed speed limit amendments. 

We Did

We have now published the consultation responses, and will consider the content of responses received. 

Responses can be viewed under Related heading at the bottom of this page.

Council will be hearing verbal submissions from those who wished to speak in support of their submission on the morning of 1 November 2017 in the Council Chambers.  This is a public forum which anyone can attend to listen to the proceedings.