Horowhenua District Council is working hard to find a balance between slash and spend to help mitigate the impact of Covid-19 on the community.

Horowhenua Mayor Bernie Wanden said any cuts had to be carefully considered as they could be at odds with what was actually needed to help the local economy recover post-virus.

"The impacts of Covid-19 on affected individuals, whānau, businesses and communities could be profound, long-lasting and life-changing," he said.

"Council plays a key role in employing local contractors and services, so any reduction in our spending needs to be carefully considered."


"We would need to strike a balance between any need to reduce spending and our role in stimulating and supporting the local economy to recover."

"The key factor to any decisions ahead will be where our efforts might need to go in not only in continuing to provide our core services to our community, but also what might be needed to assist the economic and social recovery for our district."

"We will not rush into any decisions until we have the facts in front of us."

Wanden said any recovery would be complex and would need the community to work together to rebuild the local economy, and that could open up opportunity.

"Recovery provides an opportunity to improve aspects beyond previous conditions by enhancing social infrastructure, natural and built environments, and economies."

HDC Chief Executive David Clapperton welcomed the shift to alert level 3 next week as it would see work on several council projects resume.

"Physical on site work was put on hold for a number of projects as a result of level 4 lockdown, as works were not deemed as essential, or, even if it was part of essential work, we were not able to ensure the appropriate physical distancing and measures to keep people safe," he said.

"Off-site work and planning continued, however, and ensured that we would be ready to progress projects when the time came to do so safely."


Clapperton said an example of works that would resume was the upgrade to roundabout at the intersection of Cambridge Street and Queen Street in Levin.

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HDC would press on with projects on track for completion by June 30, 2020, albeit they might now be delayed, while it would be reviewing timelines for longer term projects, he said.

"Part of our Annual Plan process and our communities' feedback will input to Council decision making here," he said

Through the Annual Plan process the HDC consulted with the community on all budget, projects and services for the coming year, he said.

"We would be reluctant to significantly deviate from commitments we made in the current year's Annual Plan, being the commitments to 30 June 2020, which was consulted on and adopted last year," he said.

"We take public feedback received through consultation, and the commitments we make to our community following this democratic consultation process, very seriously," he said.

Clapperton said the timing of the Covid-19 lockdown had an impact on the next Annual Plan process though, as the document was drafted for community consultation prior to the outbreak.

"The timing of the Covid-19 lockdown has been challenging," he said.

"We are aware that Covid-19 has created hardship and uncertainty in our district, and we anticipate the draft will look different to where we end up when the Annual Plan is finalised."

Clapperton said they had set up the ability for people to make phone submissions and had distributed a flyer through the post to reach the community, in addition to an online channel.

"To date we have already exceeded the number of submissions received in comparison to last year's Annual Plan," he said.

"There is still a lot of work to be done in this space, including the feedback from the community on what they determine the priorities to be."

"It will be critical as part of any decisions in this space to consider the feedback again from the community through the Annual Plan process, which is for the activities and spend proposed during 1 July 2020 to 30 June 2021."

"We anticipate the draft will look different to where we end up when the Annual Plan is finalised later in June, following Council's consideration of the submissions received and its understanding of what might need to happen as part of the Covid-19 recovery."