Proposed rates hike: ‘irresponsible financial management’

Chris Lynch
Chris Lynch
Feb 12, 2024 |

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The proposed rates hike for Christchurch is being called “irresponsible financial management” by the taxpayers’ union.

Christchurch city ratepayers are facing a staggering 15.84 percent rate increase, 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.

Oliver Bryan Investigations Co-ordinator at both the New Zealand Taxpayers’ Union and Auckland Ratepayers’ Alliance said the proposed rate hike, following last year’s 5 percent increase, “highlights the council’s irresponsible financial management”.

“Such excessive increases, reflecting a disconnect from the everyday realities of residents and businesses, are compounded by operational inefficiencies like far too many high-salary staff and departments that cannot rein in their spending,” Bryan said.

“There is an urgent need for the council to adopt financial prudence and curb unsustainable spending before they begin to threaten ratepayers with yet another rate hike,” he added.

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.

A further rates increase of 8.20 percent is forecast in 2025/26, before dropping to around 4 percent and declining in each subsequent year to the end of the Long-Term Plan (LTP).

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

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

Bryan said this is “unreasonable”.

“Facing a proposed rate hike of 15.84 percent, it’s unreasonable for Christchurch residents to also bear the burden of a climate levy, which risks becoming a punitive tax with long-term implications,” he said.

“New Zealand’s effective Emissions Trading Scheme already demonstrates a commitment to reducing emissions through a market-driven approach, and it’s crucial that local initiatives align with this national strategy without duplicating efforts or exacerbating financial pressures on households and businesses,” Bryan said.

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

·   Residential 14.9 percent

·   Business 17.0 percent

·   Remote Rural 17.8 percent

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

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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