As the region puts the amalgamation issue to rest, Napier City Council (NCC) is hoping the debate dragged up over its infrastructure costs has also come to an end.

The city's Mayor Bill Dalton said if there were any added costs to ratepayers due to its infrastructure the council would have had to raise its rates for the 2014-2015 period by 2.95 per cent instead of the 2.9 per cent it did.

"So we know our infrastructure is in good order and in fact if you read the Waugh Report in detail there is one little area where they say that there may be a bubble of infrastructure costs coming towards us," he said.

"Off the top of my head I can't remember what the date was, but just to put that in perspective we have got a 2.9 per cent rates increase.


"If we were to fund that bubble, which we don't believe we have to, that is the worst case scenario out of the Waugh Report, we would have to increase rates not by 2.9 per cent but by 2.95 per cent.

"So that is the magnitude of the possible problem for Napier, but we know that our infrastructure is in fact in good shape."

Napier ratepayers saw an annual increase increase of $48, or just under 2.9 per cent for the 2014-2015 period.

Napier's infrastructure was dragged into the amalgamation debate following a different report assigned by the Local Government Commission (LGC) to MWH New Zealand Ltd.

Mr Dalton said the infrastructure claim was raised to counter the point his side was making that Napier had virtually no external debt and average rates per property of equal value were 30 per cent lower.

"We have been making that point during the amalgamation debate," he said.

However, this point was countered by the MWH report which noted in its analysis that improving Napier's infrastructural assets to have the same residual life as the average across the region would require all of Napier's $76.8 million of net financial assets and a further $45 million.

In contrast, MWH noted the Hasting's infrastructure assets have a longer residual life than the regional average.


Mr Dalton said the commission had its report done in the middle of the amalgamation dispute.

"And that report said our infrastructure was not in good shape as compared to Hastings," he said.

"I am sick of the bloody Napier versus Hastings thing - but this report said we were in poor shape when compared to Hastings yet MWH are the consultants Hastings [District Council] use.

"My personal view is that report was flawed."

The Asset Management Lifecycle Review was conducted for NCC by the Waugh Group early in 2014.

The report was commissioned to address the uninformed comment that has suggested "that Napier is underfunding infrastructure renewals, delaying asset replacement and failing to plan and prepare for future growth as a means to lower rate levels and ensure debt remains low".


The group's finding on Napier's infrastructure was more positive, with the authors of the report "categorically" disagreeing with this comment.

"[Napier] has very low debt levels and higher than average equity per ratepayer, and as a result is in a highly enviable position compared to most city councils in New Zealand," the report reads.

"[It] is sufficiently funding current asset renewals, has no observable backlog of renewals, and has assets that can provide current service levels."

The only issues the authors noted was that Napier may have wastewater earthenware pipe renewals to complete in the next five years and it may require funding adjustments for its wastewater systems in 2030, 2040 and 2050.

"Napier is very well positioned to meet any future infrastructure related growth or renewal challenges."

Mr Dalton puts the reason for these findings down to the fact NCC has addressed infrastructure in a different way.


"The short answer is Napier's infrastructure, I can assure you, is in excellent shape."