256,000 households face average 8.1 per cent rates increase, says Brewer

Press Release – Auckland Councillor Cameron Brewer
Auckland Council signed off its $58 billion 10-year budget today with over a quarter of a million Auckland households facing significant rates rises from next month,” says Auckland Councillor for Orakei, Cameron Brewer.

“We hear a lot from the Mayor that the average rates increase will be 3.6% for 2012/13, but that includes all those getting huge decreases. When you take out those households receiving rates decreases, the average increase is 8.1% for those 256,000 residents facing an increase. That’s higher than the overall increase of 7.8% for Christchurch residents and that rating base has been decimated and the city destroyed.

Mr Brewer says information provided by the council’s finance department also shows that from the nearly 24,000 business facing increases, the average increase is 12.8%, including 4,410 businesses facing average rates increases of 50.4%. Those 8,000 in the ‘farm and lifestyle’ rating category facing an increase can expect an average increase of 7%.

“This is after the council’s rates transition management policy is applied, which will see residential rate increases capped at 10% in the first year with the difference spilling over subsequent years, and increases to business rates evenly phased in over three years.

“The capping and phasing policy may lessen the instant pain but it arguably just prolongs the agony,” he says.

Mr Brewer says about 133,000 Auckland residential ratepayers will have to pay at least 10% more, including about 47,000 who will pay at least 20% more albeit capped, with 62.5% of his Orakei ward expected to pay the full 10% cap.

“The council’s advertising material is promoting the new rating system as “fairer all round”. However it’s far from fair if you’re on the wrong side of the ledger.

“This is going to bite a majority of Auckland householders and businesses when they don’t need any more cost. So much for amalgamation making things less expensive. This council had plenty of tools and options to lessen the increases but chose not to apply them. Instead the Mayor has gone on a massive spending spree which will also see council debt skyrocket,” says Cameron Brewer.

The five councillors who voted against the Long Term Plan were Cameron Brewer, Calum Penrose, Dick Quax, Sharon Stewart and George Wood.

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