The latest property valuations in Auckland have thrown the spotlight back on a fixed charge that can ease the rates pain for homeowners of expensive properties, but hurt those in cheaper properties.
The surge in house prices, particularly in city-fringe suburbs, will lead to rates increases well in excess of the 3.7 per cent planned for homeowners by Mayor Len Brown next year.
The latest figures show property prices across the city have risen an average of 34 per cent since 2011, and in Hobsonville a whopping 65 per cent.
For an interactive graphic showing all the Auckland data, click here and scroll down.
Other big jumps occurred in Pt England (62 per cent), New Windsor (58 per cent), Glen Innes (55 per cent) and Mangere Bridge (53 per cent).
Recent statistics from qv.co.nz show the average Auckland house price is $720,000.
The new valuations generally mean a rates increase for properties above the average 34 per cent rise in house prices and a rates reduction for properties below the average.
This has sparked a call by right-leaning councillors to raise the annual general charge, which impacts on homeowners' rates.
A high uniform general charge benefits owners of high-value properties as it reduces the impact of the property valuation component of the rates bill. Conversely, a low charge benefits owners of low-value properties.
Orakei councillor Cameron Brewer yesterday said one way the council could ease the pain of higher rates from the new valuations was to lift the charge.
"This would mean a lesser percentage of people's rates bill would be calculated on the property's value which would really help many Aucklanders in higher-valued properties," he said.
Mr Brewer got support to lift the charge from several right-leaning councillors, including Chris Fletcher, Denise Krum, Linda Copper and Sharon Stewart.
Said Ms Cooper: "We do need to reconsider the level. I look forward to seeing the options and having robust discussion."
The charge will be part of a debate on October 30 on the council's rating policy for a new 10-year budget. The uniform charge was set in 2012, well below the maximum amount of $750 allowable under the law. After rates inflation, it is now $373.35.
It's understood the mayor supports reviewing the charge. In March, Mr Brown said there was scope to increase the charge. The downside of a higher uniform charge is higher rates in poorer suburbs.
Councillors will discuss the rating policy today at a confidential workshop.
Hobsonville house owner braces for rise
Property prices are rising fast in Hobsonville, says Brian Neeson, who bought a section in the sleepy suburb 33 years ago for $47,000 and built a large, four-bedroom home for $250,000.
A recent private valuation came back with a $1 million pricetag on the Wiseley Rd house, which has the Upper Harbour Local Board chairman bracing himself for a hefty rates rise.
"The increase [in council valuations] is going to affect us, but to what degree I'm not sure," said Mr Neeson, who like all Aucklanders, will not know the new valuation until November 10.
Mr Neeson, a former real estate agent, National Party MP-turned local body politician, says the new Upper Harbour motorway and Hobsonville Pt development are reasons behind an average 65 per cent rise in Hobsonville house prices. There has been a large influx of people, he said, wanting to move into the once quiet suburb sandwiched between Whenuapai and Greenhithe.
Mr Neeson and his wife, Vanessa, chairwoman of the Henderson-Massey Local Board, have recently moved to Orewa and rented out their Wiseley Rd home.
Chris Aitken, chief executive of the Hobsonville Pt development, said a change from low to higher density housing was driving the big price rises.
Five highest and lowest CV changes
*Pt England 62%
*New Windsor 58%
*Glen Innes 55%
*Mangere Bridge 53%
*Rakino Island -23%
*Kawau Island -14%
*Great Barrier Island -9%
*Manukau Heads -2%
*Anawhata/Piha, Hunua/Orere Pt 3%