Thousands of Auckland ratepayers are waiting for their valuation objections to be processed and Auckland Council has lashed out at state-owned enterprise Quotable Value, accusing it of not doing its job by inspecting properties.
In response, a QV spokesman said the business is "unfortunately" unable to comment even though the council says 5200 ratepayers who objected to their latest valuations were left waiting.
Rhonwen Heath, council rates and development contributions manager and Fran Maguire, business improvement and projects manager, wrote to Mayor Phil Goff and councillors about the poor job QV had done and QV not conducting on-site visits as it is required to do.
Completing the process of dealing with thousands of valuation objections was delayed as "a result of a breach of legislative and contractual requirements by our supplier, QV, discovered during quality assurance audits," Heath and Maguire wrote.
"Council is disappointed in the quality of QV's work which has resulted in lengthy delays for ratepayers and considerable re-work for the council and QV. As a result, we are currently withholding payments to QV until this issue has been resolved as a priority."
They wrote: "5200 ratepayers have outstanding objections. Ratepayers awaiting the result of their objection are required to pay their rates by law and adjustments will be made on future rates instalments if their property value changes. Around half of total objections received sought an increase in value," they wrote.
The council got 7893 objections to valuations out on November 20 last year. QV were contracted to handle those but an audit found they were inconsistent in following the rules for on-site inspections.
On June 11, the Valuer General told the council of concerns and strongly suggested a legal review of the process for on-site inspections, the document said.
So the council stopped processing objections till the legal review was done, examining QV's work. That found it did not follow the law or their contractual requirements by carrying out on-site inspections, the document said.
"A copy of the legal review was provided to the Valuer General. QV were also advised of the legal review's findings in writing and the council insisted on an explanation from QV's Chief Executive in person. "Following the meeting, QV agreed to review all completed objections not yet issued and then submit them to Auckland Council for quality assurance," it said.
The council was disappointed in the quality of QV's work which had meant long delays for ratepayers and considerable re-work for the council and QV.
"Initially QV were required to complete all objections by 30 April which they did not do. On advice, and in line with our contract, council gave QV a three-month extension until 30 June to complete objections in time for the new rating year. They were unable to do so," the document said.
The council can penalise QV under the contract and it was now doing this by withholding payments.