How much will the plan cost?

In this Long-term Plan, we know we can continue to invest in making Wellington thrive but need to balance the pace of our investment with what we can afford. As a community, we need to make some tough decisions about what to prioritise.

We’re in a difficult financial environment. We’re not alone in this – local government across the country is facing tough financial constraints. Inflation has increased and, interest rates and insurance costs have continued to climb.

Over the next 10 years, we plan to spend about:

  1. $4.8 billion in capital costs to make improvements in the city
  2. $11.4 billion in operating costs providing the hundreds of services Wellingtonians use everyday – libraries, swimming pools, recreation centres and sports fields, through to festivals, footpaths and our many regulatory services.

We have created a budget that results in a rates increase in 2024/25 of 16.4% (after growth in the ratepayer base) and an average annual increase over the 10 years of the plan of 7%. The sludge levy, which is in addition to general rates, will be introduced from 2024/25 and is a further 1.6% increase (average annual increase of 3.6% over the 10 years of the plan).

But we need to make some careful decisions about priorities, pace, and acceptable levels of risk. We have carefully and thoroughly worked through how we can slow down the pace of our capital works programme while still focusing on core infrastructure. A lot of our investment is in physical assets in Wellington, meaning we’re very exposed to insurance cost increases and lack of availability. We need to consider the risks around that.

Where does the money come from?

The money for operating expenses comes mainly from rates, fees, and charges from those using the services, revenue from investment income e.g. ground lease income and any Wellington International Airport dividend. Debt funds the majority of our capital projects - our development projects and renewing and upgrading our assets and infrastructure.

We are proposing to increase some of our fees and user charges (non-rates revenue) to minimise the impact of the increasing costs to rates. We are also making small changes to our Development Contributions Policy on how we fund growth in our infrastructure.


Read more detail on these cost pressures on page 11 of our consultation document.

Read Financial Strategy


Update – Sludge levy

We wanted to provide some clarification regarding the graph showing the “Forecast rates increases” over the 10-year period of the Long-Term Plan on page 26 of the Consultation Document and page 15 of the Financial Strategy. Please note that the percentage relating to the sludge levy is cumulative. The year-on-year increase for the sludge levy is shown on the graph below and flatlines from 2028/29 due to the project being completed.


In this Long-term Plan, we know we can continue to invest in making Wellington thrive but need to balance the pace of our investment with what we can afford. As a community, we need to make some tough decisions about what to prioritise.

We’re in a difficult financial environment. We’re not alone in this – local government across the country is facing tough financial constraints. Inflation has increased and, interest rates and insurance costs have continued to climb.

Over the next 10 years, we plan to spend about:

  1. $4.8 billion in capital costs to make improvements in the city
  2. $11.4 billion in operating costs providing the hundreds of services Wellingtonians use everyday – libraries, swimming pools, recreation centres and sports fields, through to festivals, footpaths and our many regulatory services.

We have created a budget that results in a rates increase in 2024/25 of 16.4% (after growth in the ratepayer base) and an average annual increase over the 10 years of the plan of 7%. The sludge levy, which is in addition to general rates, will be introduced from 2024/25 and is a further 1.6% increase (average annual increase of 3.6% over the 10 years of the plan).

But we need to make some careful decisions about priorities, pace, and acceptable levels of risk. We have carefully and thoroughly worked through how we can slow down the pace of our capital works programme while still focusing on core infrastructure. A lot of our investment is in physical assets in Wellington, meaning we’re very exposed to insurance cost increases and lack of availability. We need to consider the risks around that.

Where does the money come from?

The money for operating expenses comes mainly from rates, fees, and charges from those using the services, revenue from investment income e.g. ground lease income and any Wellington International Airport dividend. Debt funds the majority of our capital projects - our development projects and renewing and upgrading our assets and infrastructure.

We are proposing to increase some of our fees and user charges (non-rates revenue) to minimise the impact of the increasing costs to rates. We are also making small changes to our Development Contributions Policy on how we fund growth in our infrastructure.


Read more detail on these cost pressures on page 11 of our consultation document.

Read Financial Strategy


Update – Sludge levy

We wanted to provide some clarification regarding the graph showing the “Forecast rates increases” over the 10-year period of the Long-Term Plan on page 26 of the Consultation Document and page 15 of the Financial Strategy. Please note that the percentage relating to the sludge levy is cumulative. The year-on-year increase for the sludge levy is shown on the graph below and flatlines from 2028/29 due to the project being completed.


CLOSED: The question tool is now closed to allow the team time to answer all remaining questions ahead of consultation finishing on 12 May. If you have any questions that are not covered by those below, please email ltp@wcc.govt.nz

Check the other questions below - your question may already have an answer.

Note: The question box is to enable us to provide any additional information to you to better inform your submission. We are unable to count any comment submitted in the questions box as a final submission.

Please be concise and respectful in asking questions - we will do our best to respond promptly (usually in two working days). Some answers may take a bit longer to get the details right. We monitor the site from 8:30am - 5pm Monday to Friday

  • How will retired people pay for 16% rates increase in Miramar?

    Father Ted asked about 1 month ago

    Kia ora Father Ted, 

    Thank you for your question and your interest in the Long-term Plan. 

    For those on low incomes or affected by financial hardship, there are options to postpone paying rates, or apply for a Central Government and Council Rates Remission or Rebate. Information about these options can be found on our website. The Central Government and Council remission amounts have increased this year to reflect the cost-of-living increases. 

    If you are ready to make a submission click here. Or download a hardcopy submission form here.

    Ngā mihi  

    The Long-term Plan Engagement Team

  • As a single, elderly home owner on superannuation (and with very limited savings) I struggle to pay our increasing rates, to the point where I may need to sell my pleasant but modest home. I put it into a family trust for my daughter and her children several years ago, and I am still in the process of gifting it to the trust. My name is on the home’s title and I alone am responsible for maintenance, rates and insurance, increasingly a struggle. The trust offers no monetary benefit for me - in fact, I pay annual legal fees to gift the equity to the trust. Because I am the title holder I am eligible for the Government rates rebate ($750) but not for WCC’s rates remission (currently $700). The WCC criteria states that if your home is in a trust you are not eligible, regardless of title. This is unfair, and at odds with the Government criteria. When will you change this policy? My footprint on the city is very light. I use public transport rather than drive, compost food scraps and generate little rubbish, take green waste to the landfill, use water conservatively, and benefit little from much of the council’s spend. Many other cities in the world make allowances for elderly and low-income home owners. When will you do the same?

    AnnieB asked about 1 month ago

    Kia ora AnnieB,

    Thank you for your question and your interest in the Long-term Plan.  

    The answer from the Finance team is below: 

    The objective of the Council’s low-income remission is to provide relief to low-income households. While we can clearly link a natural person to a household, this gets complex with trusts that might hold serval properties.  Allowing trusts, companies and other legal structures to apply for the low-income remission would therefore come at a significant administrative cost for council.  

    We do not plan on revising our current low-income remission policy at this stage.  

    If you are ready to make a submission clickhere. Or download a hardcopy submission formhere. 

    Ngā mihi   

    The Long-term Plan Engagement Team 

  • A cost-cutting exercise is necessary to balance the budget while attempting to keep the rates increase as low as possible. Why does the Council not look at staff reduction as a measure and follow the example of the government departments?

    Prem asked about 2 months ago

    Kia ora Prem, 

    Thank you for your question and your interest in the Long-term Plan. 

    The answer from the People and Capability team is below:

    There is a direct relationship between organisational FTE and the programmes of work and level of service provided by the Council. The 2021 to 2031 Long Term Plan (LTP) significantly increased programmes of work and as a consequence FTE had to increase to deliver this. For this LTP there will be FTE reductions if the proposed levels of services changes and reduced capital works programme is adopted by the Council.   

    In addition to thisand on top of other savings/efficiencies totaling $19.8m, we have committed to a further $5m reduction in our operating expenses, which amongst other things covers personnel and contractor costs.  We are currently working with our leaders on how we will achieve these savings across the Councilprior to the start of the LTP. 

    Workforce decisions are the responsibility of the CE as the employer.  Any proposals for the management of FTE reductions as a result of levels of service, reduced capital programme or other initiatives would need to be consulted upon with employees and the unions in accordance with our good employer obligations. 

    If you are ready to make a submission click here. Or download a hardcopy submission form here.

    Ngā mihi  

    The Long-term Plan Engagement Team

  • Where are the actual budget numbers on a line by line basis? I do not want to see estimate per ratepayer etc, I want to see how much each item costs eg How much will the organic waste facility cost and how much will getting the waste there cost? How much revenue will the council lose from green waste and other waste no longer taken to the Southern Landfill?

    Julienz asked about 2 months ago

    Kia ora Julienz, 

    Thank you for your question and your interest in the Long-term Plan. 

    The answer from the Waste team is below:

    The full budgets in excel and pdf are available on our LTP website here: Information supporting the 10-year-Plan | Let's Talk | Wellington City Council

    Option F on page 39 of the consultation document lists the additional operational expenditure and debt impact. Information on this link here under ‘Have your say’ section;

    https://www.letstalk.wellington.govt.nz/hub-page/long-term-plan-2024-34 

    Wellington City Council is partnering with Hutt City Council and Porirua City Council to engage the market on organic processing solutions. The market response will determine the best location of the facility based on factors like cost of operations including transport and its environmental footprint. Council has not made any decision on the future of its green waste operation. This decision will be made upon an analysis of audience using the service, infrastructure resilience that the facility provides for the community to keep using it, and cost of operations. Until then the green waste operation will be running at the Southern Landfill.

    If you are ready to make a submission click here. Or download a hardcopy submission form here.

    Ngā mihi  

    The Long-term Plan Engagement Team

  • To confirm what this is saying is rates will increase 18% this year. You say you get income the airport but are saying you want yo sell yoir shares how are you going to replaced your lost income, the section on the airport sale is unclear.

    Soph1234 asked about 2 months ago

    Kia ora Soph1234, 

    Thank you for your question and your interest in the Long-term Plan. 

    The answer from the Finance team is below:

    The anticipated return from the Perpetual Investment Fund would be used to replace the current income from the Airport investment. Based on other comparable funds, we anticipate that the perpetual investment fund would generate sufficient returns to enable the Council to take a dividend off the fund approximately equivalent to the airport dividend plus enable some of the return to be reinvested back into the fund to enable it to grow over time.  

    If you are ready to make a submission click here. Or download a hardcopy submission form here.

    Ngā mihi  

    The Long-term Plan Engagement Team


Page last updated: 10 May 2024, 10:08 AM