The impacts of Cyclone Gabrielle across all areas of Council’s business have been laid out in detail in Napier City Council’s Annual Report, available from today on its website.
The report summarises Council’s performance from 1 July 2022 to 30 June 2023 and outlines the work undertaken to achieve the outcomes and initiatives of the Annual Plan 2022/23 and Long Term Plan 2021-31.
Napier Mayor Kirsten Wise says the report is an opportunity to reflect on how the organisation has navigated a tumultuous year.
“We’ve had many challenges as a community and as a Council. Obviously, Cyclone Gabrielle has been our biggest test. With that in mind, the report demonstrates that our community and our Council staff have accomplished much by working together to get us through what has been an incredibly tough time for many.”
Work undertaken in the past year has included repairing the Wastewater Treatment Plant after it became inoperable through flood water inundation. Work also focused on investing in the plant’s resilience to ensure it will withstand any future weather events. Other recovery work in the past financial year included supporting affected communities and helping businesses recover in the badly affected Awatoto industrial area.
Despite the cyclone, Council successfully delivered key projects, including the completion of the Napier War Memorial, remedial works and takeover of the management of Ocean Spa, progressing the Proposed District Plan, demolishing the old Civic building and progressing the design of the new library and governance space.
Mayor Wise says there is a need to stay focused in what continues to be uncertain times. “We’re still faced with a high cost of living, ongoing recovery work, and various government reforms with uncertainty over how they might progress. This is particularly true of water services reforms and local government reforms.”
“We need to stay focused on what our community needs, and at the same time, be ready for whatever impacts these reforms might make on our services and finances in the coming years,” says Mayor Wise.
Major budget variances in the report include Other Operating Expenses in 2022/23 being $15.3 million above budget. This is mostly accounted for by Cyclone Gabrielle and included the emergency response, and roading, clean-up, and landfill costs.
“I am heartened by the overall performance of our organisation in light of the challenges of the initial cyclone response and the ongoing recovery. Despite this, we’ve got one of the strongest balance sheets of any Council in the country,” says Mayor Wise.
“I look forward to now focusing on the future by turning our minds to the Three-Year Plan, which we’ll be consulting on in March next year.”