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Small Rate Increase For Auckland City Ratepayers

March 21, 2002

Auckland City is heading towards the lowest rate increase in the region.

The only increase will be a uniform annual charge for waste collection on each property of less than one dollar a week.

Chairperson of Auckland City's Finance and Corporate Business committee, Councillor Douglas Armstrong, says it has always been the intention of the new council not to increase the base rate charged to Auckland City ratepayers.

"We made that promise and it is one we intend to keep while at the same time honouring the commitment made by the previous council to reduce the gap between the rates paid by city businesses and the residential rate."

Taking the $47 uniform annual charge on each property into account and making adjustments for inflation and for the reduction in the business rate, the overall increase for all ratepayers will be about 1.6 per cent.

Councillor Armstrong said media speculation on a big increase had been based on reports issued for discussion at a meeting of the combined committees of council being held today.

"The councillors have considered the officers’ reports and the council decided today that rates will be held in real terms and that a uniform annual charge of $47 a year be introduced. This is considerably less than the $121 recommended by officers."

"A uniform annual charge for waste management is a fairer way of funding some of the services council provides. If the service is the same then every ratepayer should pay the same.

"We are getting back to where we were five years ago when all Auckland City ratepayers paid a uniform annual charge of $200 to cover some of the services they received, and this brings us into line with other councils in the region,” said Councillor Armstrong.

Manukau City ratepayers pay $359 in a uniform annual general charge, plus $115 for waste recycling. North Shore ratepayers pay a uniform annual general charge of $520 and a $25 charge for waste recycling plus up to $1.30 for each rubbish bag. Waitakere ratepayers pay $510 in a uniform annual general charge, and $22 in a waste collection charge plus a dollar for each rubbish bag.

Councillor Armstrong says that because the impact of an across-the-board uniform annual charge impacts more on residential properties, the average residential rate would go up by about 4.2 per cent, while non-residential rates will decrease.

"This is fair when you consider the rates burden that is being shouldered by the business community who make up 14 per cent of the city's ratepayers and pay over 50 per cent of the rates."

Mr Armstrong says that the Auckland Regional Council has not yet finalised its budget for next year, and any increase in the ARC levy will also need to be passed on to ratepayers.

"In 2003/4, under new legislation, this ARC levy will be paid for separately and will mean ratepayers will have a better idea of where any cost increases have occurred.”

ENDS

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