Consultation Document and Frequently Asked Questions

Consultation Document

If you'd like to see the impact the proposals in the consultation will have on your rates use our Rates Calculator to see the 2021/2022 proposed impacts. 

Below you can find some of the frequently asked questions as part of our consultation process, as we get more, we'll keep adding them below. 


What work are you doing on roads?

In our draft financial planning we’ve allocated just over $200m over the next 10 years on Transportation. The decisions around grading, reseals, footpaths etc are operational, or capital, and this work is managed by staff based on the Strategic Asset Management Plans, and the Activity Profiles. They’re on our website and give a broad overview of the work planned in that space for the next 30 years.

Who mows the grass on our property's roadside frontage?

Waste minimisation

Have you considered using wheelie bins for recycling?

We went with the crate option because wheelie bins would cost more to purchase and would increase collection time, which would cost more. Crates are working well in Whangarei.

How big are the crates?

45L each. That’s bigger than a banana box. Overall, with two crates and separated paper the capacity is much larger than the current yellow bags.

What happens to non-recyclable waste?

You would continue to dispose of non-recyclable waste as you do now, using blue bags or private contractors. Non-recyclable and contaminated items in recycling crates will be left behind with a rejected sticker.

What happens to the surplus if they are too small?

If the recycling proposal is approved, any surplus could be held over to the following week or taken to a transfer station free of charge. You would no longer need to purchase yellow bags or pay a gate charge for dropping off. 
There may still  be disposal charges for disposing scrap metal, green waste and for dropping off any rubbish. There will also be charges for commercial recycling.

Why doesn’t the Council introduce wheelie bins for rubbish?

Council is trying to minimise rubbish and encourage reuse & recycling. We know from other councils that providing wheelie bins does not encourage recycling in fact it discourages it as people tend to throw more of everything into a wheelie bin.

Introducing wheelie bins would also mean a significant increase to rates. Wheelie bin services are already available through private operators. They vary a lot in cost, depending on the supplier, but are likely to be a minimum $230 for a small bin and $280 for a large bin.   

With the new refuse contract award in June 2022 there will be the option for those who want to hire wheelie bins privately through the contractor. This will be completely user pays and will not affect rates.  This may bring the current price of the service down as transport costs would be shared across a larger number of people.

Why doesn’t the Council make recycling free?

Every service the Council provides has to be paid for. Council services are paid out of rates or fees.

There are a lot of costs involved with processing recycling, such as kerbside collection, transfer station collection sites, sorting, disposing of contaminated or unsuitable products, compacting and bagging then the costs to transport to markets, which are usually in Auckland or sometimes further south. The actual payment received (if any) from the markets for the sorted product does not cover these costs.

Water Supply

How will Taumata Arowai (the Government’s Three Waters Programme) affect the water proposals?

At this stage we do not yet know what impact Taumata Arowai will have on our district and we have been advised by central government to prepare our plans without giving consideration to it.

It will take some time for the new organisation to become established and identify its own path forward so we expect they will rely on the work already being progressed by specific councils. We need to keep moving forward with the work programme – we can’t afford to wait.

What we believe is unlikely to change is that the money required for any work will still be coming from rates recovered through Local Authorities.

Why don’t you take more water from the Kaihu River?

The Kaihu River runs low at a time when our demand is highest. We are not able to take more water from there so we need to find another source to supplement the existing water supply.

Rates equalisation for drinking water and wastewater

If the wider district has already paid off their share of the Mangawhai wastewater debt, will they end up paying more if wastewater costs are shared?

A portion of the Mangawhai wastewater scheme was paid as a general rate. That debt has been paid off. The remaining debt will be paid off through new connections levied through development contributions. Some people are still paying a targeted rate, relating to specific properties for their wastewater connection. That will not affect other properties.

If the wider district has already paid off their share of the Mangawhai wastewater debt, will they end up paying more if wastewater costs are shared?

All sewerage systems have debt and are being paid by the district (except Te Kopuru). For example, the Dargaville system is currently being desludged at a cost of $2million. This cost is shared by others on Council waste systems.  
Payment for the Mangawhai system was allocated in three ways 

  • Targeted rate for those connected to the system. This is only specific properties who are paying this over time. 
  • General rate for the district, now fully paid.
  • Development contributions from future development. Interest on the loan payment is split 50/50 by developers (added to their connection fee) and all of Kaipara as a general rate. This amounts to about 1.5% of the general rate. 

Te Kopuru has already paid off the cost of their wastewater system. Why should they pay the costs of other systems?

Te Kopuru is one of the older systems and in future years is likely to require a higher level of maintenance than other systems. Then other areas will help share the costs of maintenance and repair. While it may mean a cost increase in the short term, in the long term it is likely to balance out. Te Kopuru has also benefitted from a government subsidy for an aerator, which other schemes did not receive.

Te Kopuru has already paid off the cost of their wastewater system. Why should they pay the costs of other systems?

Te Kopuru is one of the older systems and in future years is likely to require a higher level of maintenance than other systems. If rates were equalised other areas will help share the costs of capital improvements, maintenance and repair. While it may mean a cost increase in the short term, in the long term it is likely to balance out.

Te Kopuru has recently received a $60,000 aerator, which was paid from a government subsidy, which some  other schemes did not receive. If costs were not equalised we may need to consider how that subsidy can be shared equitably. 

What does being ‘capable of connecting’ mean?

We charge a fee to people who are not connected to a wastewater system but who are capable of connecting to it. That fee is 75% of the full charge of connection.

The reason we charge fee is because we are providing a service which adds value to that property, whether or not they choose to connect. It gives them the option to connect at some time in the future, even if they are not currently connected.

Charging this fee helps share the cost of providing the service.

Your property is defined as being capable to connect if it’s within 30 metres of a public sewerage drain and capable of being connected.

Why will people with their own sewerage systems be paying for 5% of Council schemes?

Everyone gets to enjoy the benefits of having sewerage treatment systems. They keep our rivers and harbour clean. They also service public facilities that everyone can use so it is appropriate that everyone contributes a small amount to the cost of operating them.

Would I be paying to increase the capacity of Mangawhai’s wastewater system?

If Mangawhai continues to grow extensions may be required to the Mangawhai wastewater system in the future. These would be offset by growth, and paid by development contributions. All new capital for growth in other schemes will also be paid for by development contributions. There may be some shorter term cost of finance that would be shared across the district, as it is now.

Dargaville precinct

Why are you proposing to knock down a perfectly good office block?

As an office block, the council offices have a lot of shortcomings. The building leaks, contains asbestos, isn’t very accessible, is poorly ventilated and organised. The cost to resolve these issues is likely to be more than the value of the building.

Why are you spending money on buildings when there are greater needs?

In Dargaville we are proposing only to demolish the add-on that links the Municipal Building and Northern Wairoa War Memorial Hall and restore them (reclad) as separate states. The Council does not propose to fund any building.

We are proposing a community Trust would be established that would be responsible for design and funding for a new building. The Trust would be separate from the Council and would be able to source funding that the Council does not have access to.

In Mangawhai the Council is proposing to secure a site for a new library. This would be funded partly from development contributions, financial contributions and loans.

Why don’t you put the library in the office building?

We have considered this as an option and done some preliminary investigation. It would cost a lot as the building needs a lot of work and we would still end up with an old building. We think it is a better proposition if a new hub was built close to the other buildings. This has worked well in other places.

Why don’t you sell the office building?

We have considered this as an option. We are not likely to get much for it because of the condition it is in and we think it is more valuable for us to retain the space opposite the Hall, Municipal Building and Community hub for future use, and a useful green space for now.

Mangawhai library

Do libraries have a future?

Libraries are much more than just a place to borrow books. They are a place for learning, inspiration and intellectual nourishment. They have social, cultural, digital  benefits as well.

Libraries provide access to online learning, eBooks and other digital services. They provide computer access to people who wouldn’t otherwise have it and activities for different groups that instill a love of learning. Kaipara libraries offer summer and winter reading programmes and local events.

They support literacy, and provide social support, which makes a much more resilient and stable community.

The  library as a space is an essential resource to promote wellness in our community – children, , whānau, students, homeless, self-employed, lonely, business people, the mentally fragile, volunteers and the elderly.

Why should the rest of the district pay for a library in Mangawhai?

Part of the library will be paid for by development contributions as future population will benefit. About 50% of the costs will be shared across the district.

Library services are funded by general rates – that’s set out in our Revenue and Financing policy.  In the past Dargaville and other community libraries have been funded by general rates paid by the whole district, so it is logical and fair for the same to now apply to Mangawhai.

Climate Change

How does this work benefit our communities?

All of the proposed options include a big increase in Council working with communities to help them understand and respond to climate change. We’re planning online sessions, drop-ins, forums and workshops, activities with youth, online surveys, and an online learning ‘e-Hub’ centre. Engagement will help us decide what we do and when, which will become Kaipara’s Climate Action Plan/s. This means you’ll have a lot of say on what Council does about climate change.

All of the proposed options also include Council working with those communities most affected to decide how they want to adapt to future changes. This is called Adaptive Pathway Planning and means planning for climate change by identifying different pathways the community can take and figuring out when community changes paths.

That means the places most at risk to climate change will have community-led decisions around how and when to respond. The main difference here is that Option 3 does Adaptive Pathway Planning with three areas instead of two. We’ll identify priority areas later this year.

Other benefits include:

  • Clarity and consistency; a unified and aligned approach to climate change means less mix-messaging from different parts of Council and less confusion for the community.
  • Resources to better understand climate change impacts and implications for Kaipara.
  • Guidance on how to measure your emissions footprint, set targets and lower your emissions.
  • Actions that also improve the natural environment and our health and wellbeing. Co-benefits!


If climate change is such a serious issue why is the council opting for the lowest response option?

We’ve considered Council’s other responsibilities and the impacts on rate payers. We have opted for a level of response that puts us on a solid, strategic path, while also balancing Council’s other duties.

We are in the starting stages of our Kaipara climate change journey. We need good information and good processes in place so that our responses and actions are sustainable and long-lasting. This work will increase over time. But if you want us to commit to stronger action, to go harder and faster on climate change, Options 2 and 3 are there. We’re asking what you think.

Why are you focusing on climate change?

Council has a role to play in leading and supporting Kaipara’s transition to a low-emissions, resilient and equitable future.  Climate change is happening now and climate change action is urgent. We need to support long-term resilience in our communities and local economies. We have a responsibility to future generations to act.

As Council, we have a legislative duty to mitigate natural hazards risk, to consider the effects of climate change, and to support our current and future communities’ wellbeing. These duties are increasing because central government is also increasing requirements to plan for and respond to climate change. To fulfill these duties, this proposed long term plan contains new mitigation and adaptation services. These services are Council’s ‘climate change work’.

Northland Inc

If Northland Inc already does ad-hoc work for us, why can’t that continue instead of becoming a shareholder?

With the ad-hoc arrangement their effort is focussed in specific areas. We miss general opportunities to capitalise on Northland tourism, or be considered in economic development that other districts have. It means we won’t be considered in any of their plans.

By becoming a shareholder we could increase the focus of Northland Inc on Kaipara and how we fit into the Northland landscape. For example, we can promote tourism to a range of Kaipara destinations in conjunction with the region’s opportunities. Another benefit is the ability to drive strategic direction and economic development within our district, via the governance of Northland Inc, which we don’t have now.

Closed Circuit Television

Who will pay the proposed CCTV rate?

The proposed maps for Dargaville and surrounds and Ruawai are available online. The Dargaville proposal includes Pouto, Te Kopuru, Baylys Beach and Kaihu.

Why is the Council collecting rates for another organisation?

Council is able to collect targeted rates on behalf of other groups. Given the amount of people affected by this proposal, council agreed to include it in the LTP consultation on behalf of the DCDB.  If you agree to it, this is the most sensible, efficient and simple way of collecting money for this initiative.

Sporting Facilities

With the growing communities in Kaipara, what are you doing to increase sporting facilities?

We are currently identifying what the community needs to develop the Kaipara Spaces and Places Plan 2021-2030.  This will go to Council in April.

We have made some early assumptions so parks and reserves work could be included in the long term plan.