Plans to tackle ongoing rate rises are expected to be announced this afternoon after Cabinet considers local government proposals today.

The Government has previously said it would look at how to crack down on council debt, with Local Government Minister Nick Smith earlier this year saying the rates bills increases were "unsustainable".

Prime Minister John Key confirmed this morning that Cabinet would consider proposed changes in its meeting today, and said he was hoping to make an announcement this afternoon.

"There's a number of factors that we're concerned about, but one is there's been a compound rate increase from councils of about 7 per cent across New Zealand every year since about 2003," Mr Key told TVNZ's Breakfast.


"There are some good reasons for that .. but every year 7 per cent on average seems like a lot."

Mr Key said the Government was looking at ways to encourage councils not to drive the bills up further, but would not impose a cap on rates.

Following on from Auckland's "super city" merger, the Cabinet will also be looking at how other councils could come together.

"We're not going to force amalgamations as we did in the case of Auckland, but we are going to make it possible and, arguably, easier for councils to amalgamate."