14 April 2022
CEO and Commissioners
Tauranga City Council
Re 2022 LONG TERM PLAN AMENDMENT CONSULTATION
Dear Marty and Commissioners,
As you know, Sustainable Bay of Plenty has been engaging in the consultation process for the LTPA, which has included attending public meetings and seeking further information from Council.
From what we have been told in regard to the proposed Civic Redevelopment project, it seems that Option 2 in the submission form is not directly comparable to Option 1. In other words, comparing Option 1 with Option 2 is not comparing apples with apples. We are concerned the way the two options have been presented is an unfair comparison that has the potential to heavily slant feedback towards option 1.
According to the answers received from TCC and confirmed from central government sources, external funding of about $48.4 million will be forthcoming from the “no worse off” Three Waters funding. As Commissioner Tolley stated at the Club Mount meeting, that would be available for Option 2 as well as Option 1, or indeed if neither of those options is chosen.
The $152 million estimated external funding factored into Option 1 includes that $48.4 million of government Three Waters funding. If that $48.4 million was also included for Option 2, it would mean that the comparable net cost to ratepayers for Option 2 would be approximately $78.4 million – vastly different to the $127 million stated in the submission form.
Additionally, it was confirmed by the Commissioners that some of the other external funding could also be forthcoming for Option 2. We understand that would likely be less than for Option 1 (and of course it would not include museum funding if a museum were not built), but it still seems an important point to make known to the public.
Those crucial pieces of information are all missing from your Submission form, which appears below:
What’s more, the design of the consultation and the submission form steer people towards making a choice between Option 1 and Option 2 only. Whereas, as Commissioner Tolley verbally stated, Council is happy (and required) to receive any views from submitters.
We think it unhelpful not to include a radio button for an Option 3 that allows people to specifically state they are choosing an alternative option or combination of projects. Submitters may not agree with either of the two options presented and may ideally wish to suggest their own option, but the way the options are presented implies that no other choice is valid.
The result of all this is a fundamentally flawed consultation and submission process. It misrepresents the options, which currently induce people to choose Option 1 when, given the full information, they may well have chosen Option 2 or their own alternative option.
Finally, we are concerned that there have been references by the Commissioners to business case documents, but none seem to be featured on the LTPA page of the TCC website. What’s more, we have been told by TCC staff that only the “refreshed” library business case has been completed, and the others will not be completed or made available by June – around the time the LTPA has to be signed off and long after submissions have closed.
Given the situation, we respectfully ask the Council to:
- Extend the deadline for submissions until at least the end of April
- Amend the consultation and submission documents as soon as possible
- Immediately make the “refreshed” library business case available on the LTPA webpage
- Publish the other draft business case/s (including museum business case) and explain that they are still a “work in progress”
- Advise people who have already made submissions of all these changes
Could you please confirm as a matter of urgency that you will take the remedial actions noted above.
Sustainable Bay of Plenty