Covid-19 has thrown life into disarray for everyone. As a result Horowhenua District Council has adapted its consultation process for the Annual Plan 2020/2021.

Horowhenua District Council is maintaining essential services such as water, wastewater, rubbish collection, our cemeteries and emergency management. A full list of services can be found at horowhenua.govt.nz.

Horowhenua District Council chief executive David Clapperton said council will also continue to deliver business continuity in our other activities where possible.

"One of those other activities is the development of the Annual Plan which we, along with the other councils of New Zealand, are required to have in place by June 30, 2020," said Mr Clapperton.

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"The Annual Plan highlights the key projects council proposes to undertake during the coming financial year, outlines council's financial information and provides a process for the community to have their say on what is proposed."

Mayor Bernie Wanden said elected members are fully aware, given Covid-19, that the draft version of the Annual Plan may look different to the final Annual Plan when it is adopted later this year.

"Covid-19 has created hardship and uncertainty in our neighbourhoods. The timing of the Covid-19 lockdown has been challenging.

"We drafted and adopted the consultation document, What's Our Plan 2020/2021, and supporting information for this Annual Plan before the pandemic affected the daily lives of everyone throughout Aotearoa, so we expect the draft to look different to where we end up when the Annual Plan is finalised.

"This is why it's important for you to have your say; so our Annual Plan 2020/2021 can best reflect the needs of Horowhenua as we plan for the future," he said.

Mayor Bernie said council was adapting its consultation process to work within the constraints of lockdown.

"Covid-19 has affected our intended engagement process, and we are arranging alternative ways for our community to access the consultation document and supporting information and to have their say from home.

"I appeal to everyone to take the time to read this information and make a submission on the plan. We want to hear from as many people as possible," he said.

How to have your say:

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Submissions on the consultation document, What's Our Plan 2020/2021, are welcome until 5pm on Friday, April 24.

The consultation document, What's Our Plan 2020/2021, and the supporting information (ie. Draft Annual Plan) can be found at horowhenua.govt.nz/AnnualPlan2020/2021

You can provide feedback by filling in the submission form at horowhenua.govt.nz/AnnualPlan2020/2021

You can check your proposed rates on council's website at horowhenua.govt.nz/indicative rates.

Print and radio: Unfortunately, printed copies of the consultation document or the draft Annual Plan are no longer available due to the closure of council's main office, Te Takeretanga o Kura-hau-pō in Levin, Te Awahou Nieuwe Stroom in Foxton, and the Shannon Library.

Now that the community newspapers are also closed during the lockdown, the council is investigating alternative channels such as direct mail to encourage those without internet access to have their say. It will also use radio to let people know about the Annual Plan consultation.

If you do not have access to the internet but would like to submit on the Annual Plan 2020/2021, please contact council on 06 366 0999.

Annual Plan Hearings: Subject to the lifting of the state of emergency and easing of Covid-19 restrictions, public hearings will be held on May 13 and 14 at Horowhenua District Council. An announcement will be made closer to the time.

Council is conscious of the impact the current environment has and will have on many families, including their ability to pay rates. It is largely governed by legislation in this matter, however, council is considering what options are available.

The next rates invoice will be issued in May for payment in June. If individuals are experiencing hardship, we will consider payment options on a case-by-case basis.

If you believe this is you, please contact council by emailing rates@horowhenua.govt.nz, or calling 06 366 0999 as soon as possible so we can implement measures.