Horizons Regional Council rates are set to increase 8.4 per cent in 2021-22.
Regional councillors approved the rise during deliberations on the council's proposed long term plan for 2021-2031.
The main feature of the May 25 meeting when they approved the plan was an ongoing struggle between funding for climate change and for weed control.
They made only minor changes overall, adding an extra $241,000 to the rates take across the region.
All 12 councillors were reluctant to raise rates above a previously planned 8 per cent, but they argued the increases were necessary.
The main debate centred around the budget for climate change. A total of $11 million has been budgeted over the 10 years.
Tararua councillor Allan Benbow proposed dropping that to $9m and using the freed up $200,000 a year to control old man's beard and start a consent advisory service.
Some councillors said climate change was a national and global issue, whereas the spread of old man's beard was a rampant local issue.
But others said if $200,000 was removed from the climate change budget there would be no money to implement the assessment the council had already funded. Not only that, seven local authorities had joined a regional climate action committee and expected action.
"If you take $200,000 out it will leave the programme with no resource to do anything," Horizons strategy and regulation manager Dr Nic Peet said.
Horizons chairwoman Rachel Keedwell and Horowhenua councillor Sam Ferguson both said they would be embarrassed before the committee if the funding was removed.
There were 160 submissions in favour of the climate spending, and 160 against. Those submitting against were climate change deniers, Whanganui councillor Nicola Patrick said.
"For us to cut [the funding] now after we have finally made some progress would be absolutely mad."
The submission of climate change deniers shouldn't carry much weight, Palmerston North councillor Fiona Gordon said. But Whanganui councillor David Cotton said all the community needed to be listened to, whether councillors agreed or disagreed.
Benbow's motion was lost, with seven voting against it. But councillors carried on working for funding to fight old man's beard.
A motion to put an extra $200,000 toward weed control was also lost, despite Rangitīkei councillor John Turkington's concern the spread of the weed would counter the council's increased biodiversity spend.
A motion to give the Rangitīkei Environment Group a guaranteed $95,000 out of the council's new annual $260,000 contestable biodiversity fund was lost, with councillors saying it flew in the face of a previous decision to make biodiversity spending more transparent and accountable.
Rangitīkei councillor Bruce Gordon then put a motion to reinstate Rangitīkei's $95,000 annual targeted rate for old man's beard control. That was carried, seven votes to five. A second targeted rate, for a Waitarere project, was also carried, despite Horowhenua councillor Emma Clarke's regret at "undermining" something she had previously approved.
Also agreed to were a $85,000 increase to environmental education spending, which will increase the number of enviroschools, and an annual rates increase of about $100,000 a year to pay the region's 58 public transport bus drivers the living wage.
The proposed long-term plan now goes to audit before being adopted in June. If agreed to it will increase Horizons rates by 8.4 per cent in the first year, 8 per cent in the second year, and 6.8 per cent in the third.