Council votes for equal rates

Budget committee gathers to debate and vote. Photo / Dale Smith
Budget committee gathers to debate and vote. Photo / Dale Smith

Auckland Council voted on Tuesday for the best way to even out the City’s rates.

Councillors put forward four options, and debated which would have the best impact.

The option that sees equal rates across the City is an option of no transition.

Auckland Mayor Len Brown moved the option, which sees all ratepayers with similar value properties paying the same rates – irrespective of their location in the region.

Locals in the Upper Harbour Local Boards district are the most likely to be affected by the change, with 816 households given a rate rise of more than 40 per cent. Waitakere ratepayers get the best benefit as 405 households have more than a 40 per cent decrease, and Waitemata Local Boards following close behind with 744 households rates decreasing between 30 and 40 per cent.

Other options put forward would see this change come in gradually, with caps at either 10 per cent or 20 per cent annually. Counsellor Cameron Brewer moved an option to see a 10 per cent change over two years and then a direct change so that everyone is paying equal rates by 2018.

Andrew Duncan, the Manager of Financial Policy, briefed the media prior to the meeting, sharing the staff’s preferential option.

“The staff will be recommending no transition,” said Duncan. “Most of the ratepayers, the change is $7 a week, or 15 per cent, so it’s a lot more concentrated than it was three years ago.

Counsellor Cathy Casey was hoping to ask the Government for a legislation change allowing for increases to be capped at 10 per cent and decreases capped at 2.1 per cent, but lost out on the vote by 8 to 9.

The budgeting committee also discussed the future of the inorganic collection.

The collection will run annually, and Brown said he was in full support of keeping the collection annually.

“When I was elected into council the inorganic collection was, as Cathy says, the most fun part of the entire year,” said Brown.

Advisors to the council warned them, however, that if the collection was to stay annual the city would have to continue to pay $500,000 to clear up the illegal dumping.

Counsellor Alf Filipaina, however, disputed this.

“We’re used to having the inorganic,” said Filipaina. “It will increase the dumping in our area if we go biennial.”

Listen to an audio version of this story below: