from the stuff website:

“An almost 10 per cent rates hike and $550,000 of funding for the Capital Connection commuter train has been written into Greater Wellington Regional Council’s long-term budget.

“Councillors voted on Tuesday to approve the final wording of its 2015-25 long-term plan, which includes an annual rates increase of 9.8 per cent ā€“ or about $38 for the average home ā€“ for the 2015-16 financial year.

“Upper Hutt representative Paul Swain was the only councillor who voted against the final wording of the budget, because he felt the rates increase was too much.

“The long-term plan was finalised after 876 public submissions were received and many more people attended open days across the Wellington region during March and April.

“The rates increase of $10 million is made up of $1.1 million to keep existing services running, $4.8 million to fund the council’s current capital investment programme and $4.1 million for new activity.

“The only significant change to the long-term plan was the inclusion of $550,000 over five years to keep the Capital Connection rail service between Wellington and Palmerston North alive.

“KiwiRail plans to scrap the commercially run service at the end of June. But Greater Wellington and Horizons Regional Council want to reclassify it as a Wellington commuter train, which would make it eligible for a taxpayer subsidy.

“Both regional councils have committed the same amount of funding, but it is dependent on the NZ Transport Agency also agreeing to the arrangement.”

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