Candidate Q&As


This page lists the questions asked by Candidates and the answers provided to those questions.

Election signs

Question: when do election signs need to be removed?

Answer: Council's signs bylaw requires election signs to be removed no later than one week after the election.

Council Loans

Question: Council’s debt has increased dramatically in the past few year.  What has debt funding been used for and what rules do we have around what we borrow money for?

Answer: In the last three years Council has raised $19.8 m in loans.  Below are the significant projects funded from the loans raised during that time and how the loan servicing costs are being funded.

Himatangi Beach Community Sewerage Scheme

$633,669

 WW Targeted Rate - based on service available
Rongotea Water Scheme

$1,098,762

 WS Targeted Rate - based on service available

Feilding WWTP (including native plant nursery)

 $6,264,680

 WW Targeted Rate - based on service available
Feilding Wastewater Growth

 $559,366

 Feilding Development Contributions
Feilding Water Growth

 $404,096

 Feilding Development Contributions
Feilding Stormwater Growth

 $1,492,761

 Feilding Development Contributions

To on-lend to Manawatu Community Trust for Health Centre

 $2,500,000

Repayments from MCT.  50% on-lent interest free - Interest from General Rate
Makino Aquatic Centre Redevelopment

 $3,879,457

MAC Targeted Rate - District wide
Strengthen Earthquake Prone buildings

 $750,314

General Rate - District wide
Ultra Fast Broadband

 $270,920

UFB Target Rate - based on service availability
Railway land beautification

 $332,678

Parks and Sports Ground Targeted Rate - District wide
 

 $18,186,703

 

The financial strategy sets out the guideline on what is to be funded from loans and other funding mechanisms (LTP page 113).

In general, Council rates for depreciation (exceptions to this rule are detailed in the LTP, page 107).  Money rated for depreciation is put into the depreciation reserve and is used to fund renewal projects when required.  Council started funding the depreciation in 2009.  Over the life of the LTP the depreciation reserve will go into deficit for four years, at which time borrowing may be required (LTP page 164-165).

Pre-Election Report

Questions   Answers
Q1: page 4 - states our land area equates to 1.5% of NZ agricultural land. Is this correct as it seems a very small percentage? While the figure is low, it is correct.  Using the Landcare NZ Landcover Database NZ has approximately 26.8 million hectares of land area.  Of this approximately 55% is in grassland, crops, vineyards, orchids and exotic forestry (agricultural production).  Hence the low percentage.
Q2: page 11 - Balancing our Budget states an operating deficit in 2 out of 7 years and gives three reasons. One of these is ‘not funding depreciation on non-strategic assets’. I am not clear on this. Could you please elaborate?

In line with the Financial Strategy Council depreciates all assets.  In general, depreciation is used to fund the renewal or replacement of assets.  However, there are three classes of assets that we do not fully rate to fund this depreciation (page 107 of the 2015-26 Long Term Plan).

  • Roading – the majority of the asset renewals are partially funded by NZTA.  Fully funding depreciation would result in double dipping (ie both the ratepayer and NZTA funding the same work)
  • Halls – with the exception of the Feilding Civic Centre and Te Kawau Recreation Centre (considered strategic assets) we do not fund the depreciation on halls as the asset may not be replaced or an alternative funding mechanism may be used to fund the replacement.
  • Park – for the same reasons as halls we only fund 50% of the depreciation on Parks and Sports Grounds.
Q3: page 12 - Investment in infrastructure - outlines the improvements required and their estimated costs. Is there a formula or rule of thumb relating to the return from development levies and rates from these infrastructure investments?

Our infrastructure investment comes from a variety of sources depending on the nature of the investment.  This is discussed in the Long Term Plan on page 113. There isn’t a formula or rule of thumb as its varies with each project. 

Our development contributions approach is government by our policy Development Contributions Policy which is fair and equitable but not simple.

Q4: page 21 - Major Projects Feilding to PN Cycleway $1.2M   Where are these funds planned to come from? Funds for the cycleway would come from NZTA with the balance loan funded as it would be an inter-generational asset.
Q5: page 21 - Major Projects Resource Recovery Centre $780,000 What is this and what is its purpose? This is a new facility that would receive the districts solid waste, green waste and recyclables for consolidation and processing.  This will allow the recovery of paper plastics and metals from all sources of waste.
Q6: page 23 Summary Funding Impact Statement - payments to staff and suppliers – can this please be broken down further into staff and suppliers separately?

Personnel costs - $10,347,000

Other operating cost (excluding depreciation and interest) $22,266,000

Total $32,613,000

Note there is a small difference between the figures above and the figures on page 23 due to further financial analysis after year end close off.

 Digital Strategy

Question  Answer 

I have been reading through the LTP and noted the UFB initiative in the Kawakawa Rd industrial area.  I am wondering if it would be possible to get a copy of the Digital Strategy MDC prepared last year as I am keen to get a better understanding of the plans for the whole district, and particularly the CBD area.  I would appreciate your insights around this issue so if there is any other documentation or knowledge you think would be helpful please let me know. 

Here is a copy of the Digital Strategy prepared by MDC.

The context for this document was to support the funding application to government for the extension to the UFB rollout in Feilding and in particular the industrial area in Kawakawa Road.

It is likely that the document will be reviewed again under the new Council to ensure relevance and focus given the funding round is complete.

Attendance Rate at Meetings

Question: What is the attendance rate of the Council members at meetings?

Answer: the table below shows the attendance rate of the Council members at Council and Committee meetings held this triennium to date:

 Name No. Assigned Meetings  No. Attended Meetings Attendance % 
 Mayor Kouvelis

 142

128 

90.14%

 Cr Bielski

87

 78

89.66%

 Cr Cameron

 160

 151

 94.38%

 Cr Casey

 107

 102

 95.33%

 Cr Ellery

 119

 110

 92.44%

 Cr Heslop

 126

 118

 93.65%

 Cr James

 117

 105

 89.74%

 Cr Jensen

 123

 123

 100%

 Cr Quarrie

 87

 84

96.55%

 Cr Short

 146

 140

 95.89%

 Cr Voss

 115

 101

87.83%

Candidate Support of Others During Campaigning

Question: in a public campaign speech, is it forbidden for a councillor candidate to make supportive and positive comments around a mayoral candidate?

Answer:  candidates are free to openly support other candidates.  This is quite usual and happens all the time.  What is not okay is for candidates to make defamatory remarks about others. It is also important that Council staff remain politically neutral in their dealings with candidates to ensure they are able to work positively with the elected members after the election