If a proposed 19 per cent rates rise wasn't enough, some Hawke's Bay ratepayers could be hit with even high increases under the Hawke's Bay Regional Council Long Term Plan 2018-2028.
The LTP, called Facing our Future, proposes a rates rise of 19 per cent in the first year, with 13 per cent of this to go toward environmental priorities. Rises over the remaining nine years would be limited to about 3.75 per cent.
The regional council has released an online tool to check the increase for specific addresses. It was using this tool that Havelock North resident Ian - who did not want his last name used - realised he was in for an "obscene" rates rise.
His projected total rates rise from $221 to $311 - an increase of 40 per cent. His general rates increase 131 per cent increase from $61 to $141.
Previous estimates the council released for consultation using sample properties showed a Havelock North ratepayer could expect his rates bill to increase to about $316 - up 18.4 per cent, or $49.
Ian said in his 17 years at the property he had never received such a dramatic rates rise.
"There is something wrong in principle that the increase should be so massive," he said.
"In today's world rates increases of that magnitude are just abominable."
As a retiree on a fixed income, when asked what options he had to pay the increase, Ian said "I don't have any options".
"For a lot of elderly its not going to be easy. Somebody has to pay for it, so we've got to find the money from somewhere.
"Its not that I don't think environmental problems should be addressed, but it should be the ones that caused them paying."
A Hawke's Bay Regional Council spokeswoman said the reason for the increase was that "the majority of the rates increase is on general rates due to the public good element of the new initiatives".
"General rates are based on land value. This particular property has a large land valuation of $560,000 so the increase is larger than a property with a medium or low land value."
"There is also the increase in Civil Defence and the new Coastal Erosion rates which are a set amount per rating unit (for everyone in Napier and Hastings)."
She said Ian's rating increase of $77.87 was higher than the average increase of $52 "but there are obviously those above and below that point".
The rate rise has also been criticised by the New Zealand Taxpayers' Union, which has said good fiscal practice would be to set a budget first, then work within that budget to achieve environmental outcomes.
"Instead, it seems the Council has given itself an open chequebook to spend as much as it wants on environmental gestures, disregarding the ultimate effect on ratepayers.
"It's great that councillors care about the environment, but they're meant to act on behalf of ratepayers. In the Taxpayers' Union's experience, the biggest concern for ratepayers is quality services for reasonable rates. A 19 per cent rate hike is simply not reasonable – it's 12 times the rate of inflation."
Council chair Rex Graham said the council had set a budget, but they were faced with a number of legacy environmental issues which they needed to tackle.
"We are asking for a significant rate rise, but we will be consulting with the people of Hawke's Bay, not self-appointed apostles who live in Wellington."
As indicated by sample properties across the region, the highest percentage rate increase will be felt by Central Hawke's Bay, where rates will rise 22.31 per cent, and Napier South, with a 21.58 per cent increase.
The additional cost next year ranges from between $15.75 for Flaxmere ratepayers, to an additional $63.70 for Taradale ratepayers.
- The Long Term Plan consultation ends April 23.
- Check how your rates fare at hbrc.govt.nz/our-council/consultation/current-consultations/facing-our-future-long-term-plan/rate/