The Manawatū District Council will consider an average rates change of zero per cent for the coming financial year at its meeting on April 23.

Recognising the economic and social impacts on the community of Covid-19 and the continuing drought, the MDC has been looking at ways it can assist the community as the district rebuilds its business and social communities.

The proposed zero per cent average rates change has been achieved firstly by Council funding the majority of its annual projects from emergency reserves, and secondly there will be no change to staff salary or wages next year.

The zero per cent change to average rates will apply for only one year and will exhaust the emergency reserve fund.


However, while the average rates will not increase, rates for each property will vary depending on any change in the property value in the district-wide revaluations of August 2019.

For each property, rates may go up or down by a small amount, or stay the same.

Chief executive Richard Templer said Council understood the revaluation impact on ratepayers, which was beyond its control, especially on the Feilding residential ratepayers.

He said the MDC recognised the impact of Covid-19 and the drought would result in increased unemployment, reduced revenue for businesses and financial stress for many.

"The proposed average rates change of zero per cent will help reduce this stress and was the best way to lessen this impact."

Templar said when developing next year's annual plan, Council had planned a 4.6 per cent rates increase to fund a range of projects required to prepare for the rapid growth occurring in the district.

This reflected the benefits of Council making provision for emergency events, for having a "rainy-day" fund.

"It's now 'raining heavily' and Council needs to use this fund."


"The executive team unanimously agreed that in the current situation it was appropriate to have a zero per cent salary and wage round next year.

"This applies to all staff, starting with the executive."

At the Council meeting on April 23, elected members will also consider asking the Remuneration Authority, who determine the salary of mayors and councillors nation-wide, to freeze their salaries for next year.

Council staff also reviewed and prioritised all the projects intended to be delivered as part of the annual plan.

No significant changes in the projects are planned reflecting their alignment with Council's strategic outcomes.

Templar added Council also recognised the importance of its continued investment with local businesses to deliver for the community.

"Council's total budget will increase by 1.5 per cent which reflects the growth in the number of ratepayers in the district over the last year.

During the next financial year, Council will be developing its plan for the next 10 years, which will include further proposals on how it will respond to the future economic and social situation and rebuilding the emergency reserves.

The council meeting can be viewed live on the Council website.