Auckland Chamber of Commerce chief executive Michael Barnett said in the absence of a review of Auckland Council's costs, the 2015/16 rates bills going online from today beg the question: "Are the levels of increase necessary?"
"Ratepayers deserve to know how well the Council is performing and whether they are getting good value from the average 9.9 per cent increase in their rates.
"The only way to determine this is to carry out a transparent line-by-line review of Council costs and plans for capital expenditure."
"Without such a review Auckland ratepayers will struggle to accept the need for the increases."
The Chamber has sought such a review of the council's operating costs including staff levels, planning and services for the past 18 months.
On the transport targeted rate, Mr Barnett said ratepayers deserve to be shown how it will assist with reducing traffic congestion on our roads and assured it will not apply beyond its projected three-year span.
Family First National director Bob McCoskrie said for many families, an increase in rates will put them under huge pressure.
"Families throughout New Zealand have, over the past years, had to make sacrifices and look for specials and discounts as they cope with increasing prices. They have not had the luxury of raising their income by 10 per cent with a simple vote.
"It's time that local councils including the Auckland Council took the same approach. They should not pass on out-of-control spending to families. It's time that they too tightened their belt," he said.
The average household rates rise is 9.9 per cent, or $214 a household.
Several factors, including new house valuations and the final step in the move to a single rating system for the Super City, mean many household rates are above or below the average figure.
More than 9000 households are facing increases of more than $1000.
Many households, mainly in West Auckland, Rodney and the Gulf Islands, are in line for a rates cut.
However, the number of households getting a rates cut has reduced since the council voted in May for a targeted rate for transport, which increased average household rates to 9.9 per cent.
Before the targeted rate, 118,000 households were due for a rates cut. That figure is now 51,000, according to a council press release.
Readers react to new rates
Jo Holmes of right wing lobby group Auckland Ratepayers Alliance told Radio New Zealand she thought rates rises were uneven across Auckland.
"Some people have just had their rates go through the roof - We've had a case in Pt Chev of a resident getting an increase of $1700."
Pt Chevalier resident Andrew Robertson told the Herald yesterday that he was facing a 47 per cent rates increase - to $5500 - on his four-bedroom weatherboard home valued at $1.96 million.
Herald reader Kirsty Wintle said she must have been one of the lucky ones - with a small rates increase.
"I live in Manly, Whangaparaoa. The CV on my property (a home and separate minor dwelling) went up $100,000.
"My rates increase for the 2015/16 year is $50."
"Over the past twelve months we paid rates of $3145.31. We are now being asked to pay $4535.96, an increase of $1390.65 or a 44.21 per cent increase. We are a retired couple and the additional $58 per week is significant." - Mairangi Bay homeowners
"My rates increased $147, or 7 per cent. I am in a block of six units and share a drive with just one other house which sold in June 2014 for $581K. The council then valued my identical house at $650,000 in July 2014 based on recent sales. I objected and had my value dropped to $600,000. Meanwhile another unit in my block identical to mine was valued at $730,000 but the owner didn't object. [Its owner is] paying an extra $500 per year (a 26 per cent increase)." - Glenfield homeowner
"We live in Papakura and our bill has decreased by a grand total of $6.70." - Papakura homeowner
"My (two-bed, CBD apartment) rates have gone up by $540.37 from $1,362.84 to $1,903.21 (39.65 per cent), $404 more than I had budgeted for. The rates for the apartment with the same floor plan one floor above me are $1,767.48." - CBD apartment owner.
"I was paying $200 a quarter. Now $2450 a year!" - St Heliers homeowner.
"After being promised a rate decrease of up to 25 per cent, we have actually received a 0.005 per cent decrease, or $7. Brilliant. Don't know whether to have a cream bun or a coffee - cannot afford both." - Great Barrier Island homeowner.
"Our rates have gone up 10 per cent each year for the last three years, this year they have gone up 15 per cent. So much for a capped 2.5 per cent rise." - Glendowie homeowner.
"I must be one of the majority of Aucklanders whose rates haven't changed by much. My CV has gone up by $90,000 in the latest council recalculations on my Kingsland apartment. My rates have gone up only $30/year from $1556 to $1586.60. Sounds like only a small minority who have had massive capital gains are having larger increases." - Kingsland apartment owner