NPDC bosses take pay cuts & propose rates holiday for residents

The Mayor and Chief Executive of the New Plymouth District Council are set to take voluntary pay cuts in the wake of the unprecedented Covid-19 emergency.

The Mayor and other Councillors’ pay is set by the Independent Remuneration Authority and the rules do not allow for salary reductions. Accordingly Mayor Neil Holdom will donate 10% of his salary for the next six months to a range of Taranaki charities.

“I know our business community and households are struggling in these unprecedented times,” says Mayor Holdom. “My decision to take a pay cut has been made with my wife Melissa and is totally voluntary. As the leader of our District, it’s the right decision for me to make as we tackle the biggest financial crisis of my generation.

NPDC is proposing to change its rates rules to help hard-hit residents adapt to the Covid-19 economic pain.

The draft package, which offers rates holidays for those in Covid-19 related economic hardship, is the first step in NPDC’s Get Us Back on Our Feet Plan to help the District’s recovery over the next 18 months.

If approved by Elected Members at a council meeting on 21 April, it will give hard-pressed businesses and households breathing space while we work with the Government and other partners, to kick-start the local economy after lockdown. The measures include:

Removing penalties on late rates payments for the next 12 months, including the next rates invoices due out next month.

Offering rates holidays for six months with a very low interest rate on deferred payments.

Postponing one year of rates payments for up to three years, with a low interest rate on deferred payments.

Conditions apply, including independent verification income has declined due to Covid-19.

If implemented the package could result in an increase of NPDC borrowing of approximately $8 million over the next 12 months which will be carefully monitored.

“We’re in an unprecedented time and we’re still to learn exactly how hard Covid-19 has hit us but we know the pain is already starting to bite and it could go on for some time,” said Mayor Neil Holdom.

“NPDC is a major player in the local economy and our Get Us Back on Our Feet plan will aim to help create jobs and keep businesses turning over. We can’t dodge the pummelling but we can help people roll with the punches and try to soften the fall if they’re knocked down.”

NPDC is pivoting its work programme to adapt to the new economic outlook and to mesh with central Government moves to boost recovery.

Mayor Holdom said NPDC would also champion the Taranaki region in getting its share of the government’s $20 billion support package and any more to come.

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