Brown’s balancing act proposes ‘pause’ for business sector’s cutbacks to avoid burden for home owners.
About 116,000 Auckland households face a rates increase of more than 10 per cent under a rating formula released by Mayor Len Brown yesterday.
The mayor is proposing an overall rates increase of 2.5 per cent next year, but other factors result in many households receiving rates above and below this figure.
The factors include big swings in values between residential and business properties and plans by Mr Brown for a general charge and business rates.
The figure of 116,000 household facing double-digit rates increases includes some households who have not fully adjusted to a new single rating system for the Super City after three years.
The latest rates hike follows a Herald investigation in September, which showed 57,000 Auckland households had rates increases of 10 per cent in each of the past three years.
Households in Mt Albert and Mt Eden had cumulative increases of 23.2 per cent over the past three years. Next year, the average increases for the two suburbs is 9.6 per cent.
Other areas up for large increases next year include Beach Haven, Birkenhead, Glenfield and Hillcrest (9.3 per cent), Mt Roskill (8.1 per cent) and Mangere and Otahuhu (7.7 per cent).
Several areas have sizeable rates cuts, including the 863 households on Great Barrier Island whose rates fall by 21.9 per cent.
Mr Brown has called his package a "balanced rates policy", but several right-leaning councillors are gunning for a higher annual charge to reduce the rates for high-value properties.
They signalled an amendment for a $550 annual charge when councillors debate the rating policy next week. This is higher than the $381 charge favoured by the mayor.
Mr Brown yesterday said keeping the annual charge at its current, inflation-adjusted level would reduce the impact on middle and low-income households who had big increases from the latest valuations.
The mayor has also "paused" a policy of reducing business rates each year because the latest valuations strongly favour the business community.
Instead of passing on an 8 per cent reduction in rates to business from the new valuations, he is proposing to hold business rates to the same proportion as this year to prevent households paying more in rates.
Business rates will rise by 2.5 per cent.
Employers and Manufacturers chief executive Kim Campbell said friendlier business practices were needed from the council and he called for the latest proposal to be voted down.
He said the answer to Mr Brown's dilemma of high rate increases for some households was to increase the annual charge to the maximum permitted by law, which is about $900.
2.5% rates rise? 10% more likely
Mayor Len Brown is doing a snow job on the citizens of Auckland with rates, says Mt Albert Residents' Association co-chairman Francis Mortimer.
Talk of an average 2.5 per cent rates rise is "a crock", says the longtime Mt Albert resident.
In the past three years, average household rates in the city fringe suburb have risen by 8.4 per cent, 6.3 per cent and 7 per cent. The projected rise next year is 9.6 per cent.
"We have serious problems with footpaths, and the town centre is in dire need of improvement," says the company director. To make matters worse, a long-awaited upgrade of the rundown town centre has been deferred by the council.
"We are paying through the nose and not getting the facilities you would expect would come from paying that sort of money."
In Mr Mortimer's leafy street of Alexis Ave, part of what is termed the "golden triangle", many rates have risen 10 per cent a year for the past three years. He and his neighbours typically pay about $5000 a year in rates.
He said Mr Brown's fixation on revenue generation, particularly the city rail link, would see 10 per cent rates rises for the foreseeable future.
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