Bernard Orsman

Bernard Orsman is Super City reporter for the NZ Herald.

Auckland households face rates pain

The number of households facing rate rises above average rate increases this year were greater than last year. Photo / Chris Gorman
The number of households facing rate rises above average rate increases this year were greater than last year. Photo / Chris Gorman

Hundreds of thousands of Auckland households face rates rises bigger than the 2.4 per cent average hike being proposed by Mayor Len Brown.

About 86 per cent of households across the region will pay more and about 12 per cent of the 478,448 rateable households will pay a maximum of 10 per cent extra.

Mr Brown has promised a "low and sustainable" rates policy in his second term by setting a 2.5 per cent average rate rise ceiling, but it will not be low and sustainable for many.

Hard-hit areas include Mt Albert, Mt Eden, Devonport, Takapuna, Maungakiekie, Tamaki, Orakei, Puketapapa, Upper Harbour, Waiheke and inner-city suburbs.

Nor will poorer suburbs in South Auckland escape the rates pain.

Last night Mr Brown said the 2.4 per cent average increase was the lowest rates rise since the formation of the Super City.

"This is in stark contrast to average increases of 5.7 per cent in the five years prior to amalgamation."

Mr Brown said the council would complete the transition to a single rating system at the end of this year, meaning a fairer system for all ratepayers.

Chief finance officer Andrew McKenzie said he had no idea how many properties would pay more than the 2.5 per cent ceiling for the next three years, beyond this year's budget.

This is the last year of a three-year transition to a single rating system for the Super City that has capped increases at 10 per cent and phased in decreases for mostly West Auckland ratepayers, who paid the highest rates before the Super City.

Ratepayers in Rodney, Papakura and Great Barrier Island have also seen rate decreases.

Mr McKenzie said factors that would affect the number of households facing large increases next year included the three-yearly property revaluations, what changes, if any, are made to the rating policy and whether the council extends the transition policy.

Without an extension, some households faced increases of more than 10 per cent, Mr McKenzie said.

"Until these factors are understood the number of properties affected cannot be estimated."

The number of households facing rate rises above average rate increases this year were greater than last year, he said, largely as the result of shifting $11.1 million of rates from commercial to household ratepayers.

This has the effect of decreasing business rates by 2.4 per cent and increasing household rates by 1.2 per cent.

Since 2012, the council has been reducing the $2.63 figure most businesses pay for every $1 paid by households. The differential is being cut to $1.63 after 10 years.

- NZ Herald

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