Christchurch’s staggering 15.84% rate hike proposal

Chris Lynch
Chris Lynch
Feb 09, 2024 |

Christchurch city rate payers are facing a staggering 15.84% rate increase explosion, dwarfing inflation rates.

On average, residents could end up paying an additional $500 a year.

It’s worse for local businesses, with a proposal to charge them 17 percent more in rates.

The Council proposes a $16.4 billion budget over 10 years, with $4.8 billion of that planned to be spent in the next three.

“This enables a capital investment programme to be delivered progressing the major facilities and prioritised infrastructure renewals, while also accommodating repayment of debt.”

A further rates increase of 8.20% is forecast in 2025/26, before dropping to around 4% and declining in each subsequent year to the end of the LTP.

A total cumulative rates increase over the LTP period of 53.6% is forecast.

In a report to councillors, it says “The Council faces multiple financial challenges including significantly increased debt servicing costs, significantly increased insurance costs, challenging asset renewal requirements, the costs of climate change adaption and mitigation, and the general increase in costs that a high rate of inflation brings.”

Councillor Sara Templeton, widely expected to announce her mayoral aspirations, is advocating for the implementation of an additional climate change levy.

This move seeks to amplify the council’s commitment to tackling environmental challenges, supplementing the extensive climate change measures already integrated into the Long-Term Plan.

The increases for the average property based on capital value in the three sectors is:

·   Residential 14.9%

·   Business 17.0%

·   Remote Rural 17.8%

The average house will have a rates increase of $9.65 per week.

Mayor Phil Mauger said “I am well aware that rates rises have a big impact on your back pocket.

“As a Council, we must balance the need to keep the cost to you as low as a possible while still actually delivering the core services Christchurch wants us to.

“This is a constant challenge and there are a range of views on how we manage this around our Council table – 17 of us need to find a pathway forward which has the broadest support.

“We’ve already had some big debates on ways to balance cost versus service. Last year we decided as a Council not to cut the core services we deliver. You told us you wanted us to keep delivering these services and that’s what we intend to do.

“Last year we also looked at options to increase the financial return to ratepayers from our holdings company, Christchurch City Holdings Limited (CCHL). There was a chance to receive a business case on a more flexible mandate for CCHL that could go out for you to have your say, but our Council decided against receiving the business case. This was a close debate, and an example of how we must look at all options to find pathways forward that have the broadest support around The Council table.

“This is a tough environment that we’re operating in. It’s a familiar story at this point, but as you prepare your submission, it’s important to understand there are a lot of factors such as interest costs, insurance premiums, and inflation, that we have less ability to control.”

Once formally adopted on Monday 11 March, the Draft LTP will go out for public feedback from Wednesday 13 March to Wednesday 17 April 2024. The original date for consultation to begin was 1 March.

Chris Lynch
Chris Lynch

Chris Lynch is a journalist, videographer and content producer, broadcasting from his independent news and production company in Christchurch, New Zealand. If you have a news tip or are interested in video content, email [email protected]

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