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Regional council scrapes a pass

The regional council has scraped a pass for the past year’s performance, achieving little more than half of its goals.

Greater Wellington Regional Council [GWRC] hit just over half – 63 per cent – of its non-financial performance measures in its long-term plan.

Its performance was dragged down by Metlink, which only achieved six of its 13 performance measures.

Passenger satisfaction was low, with Metlink missing its goals for punctual public transport and the condition of its train stations, bus stops, and wharf.

The Environment and Flood Protection group achieved 12 of 17 measures, and the Regional Strategy and Partnerships achieved four of nine measures.

The best GWRC group performer was Water Supply which achieved 10 of 12 measures.

Chair Daran Ponter and chief executive Nigel Corry said the delivery of some work programmes and associated performance measures did not meet the council’s “expected standard of success”.

The pair cited resourcing issues, staff absence due to covid-19 sickness, high workloads, and competing work priorities, as reasons for the low hit rate.

“However, amongst these delivery pressures, Greater Wellington prioritised the wellbeing and safety of both our staff and our communities, allowing us to continue providing core services to the best of our ability.”

They said they were proud of what the council had delivered over the past year and the partnerships it continued to strengthen.

The annual report said Metlink driver shortages resulted in an increased number of public transport service cancellations which in turn negatively impacted six of its public transport measures related to passenger satisfaction and service punctuality.

It said adverse weather conditions and covid-19 restrictions also impacted GWRC’s ability to deliver the planned planting programme as outlined in the Regional Parks and Regional Pest Management Plan.

Additionally, the report said a record number of leaks across the territorial authority pipe network, and high per capita demand and growth, contributed to the failure
for two of its water supply measures.

Financially, the regional council’s operating deficit for the year was $29.45 million compared to the forecast surplus of $5.49 million listed in the long-term plan.

“The total operating revenue was lower than budget mainly due to lower farebox revenue and reduced grants and subsidies from external parties due to reduced expenditure on capital projects.”

The annual report said the capital expenditure was $43.3m below budget, which was attributed to schedule delays resulting from covid-19 and alert level changes.

Ponter and Corry said the council had achieved much of what it set out to do this year by progressing key partnerships, reshaping the way it worked, and improving a range of core services.

“However, our success did not come without a few challenges – the covid-19 pandemic, inflation and labour shortages continued to impact the delivery of some of our services and projects.”

The annual report said there were four high-risk activities with a current rate of compliance that was below 80 per cent – water take compliance, large earthworks, municipal wastewater, water supplies, and water races.

“The rates of compliance relate to external parties with resource consents issued by Greater Wellington.”

It said the council’s role was to encourage compliance and enforce non-compliance where necessary.

“Water takes is the only activity that had a strategy to address non-compliance developed, and a compliance rate reported in 2021 to 2022.”

GWRC adopted the report unanimously at last week’s council meeting.

Grace Prior
Grace Prior
Grace Prior is a senior reporter at the Wairarapa Times-Age with a keen interest in environmental issues. Grace is the paper’s health reporter and regularly covers the rural sector, weather, Greater Wellington Regional Council, and coastal stories.

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