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Rates increase lowered than projected

11 March 2005

Rates increase lowered than projected

Wellington’s proposed rates increase in the Draft Annual Plan is lower than expected.

The Strategy and Policy Committee signed off the Draft Annual Plan yesterday. It will now go out for public consultation, subject to final approval by the full Council on 15 March.

The average rates increase under the Draft Annual Plan has been kept to 7.68 percent, lower than the 7.9 percent originally projected for the 2005/06 year. That increase includes the V8 supercar street race which is to be consulted on separately.

Mayor Kerry Prendergast said she was aware of residents concerns about rates rises but that had to be balanced with the Council’s responsibility to make Wellington an internationally competitive city that is a great place to work, live and play, and the continued need to maintain and build infrastructure.

“Councillors and council staff worked extremely hard to keep the rates as low as possible. The fact that we did not receive a dividend from Wellington International Airport Ltd this year has impacted heavily on the rates increase. That dividend would have kept the rates rise well below 5 percent this year if we had received it. The booming economy has also placed pressures on our costs but we have managed to contain increases in that regard,” she says.

“The Draft Annual Plan, does however, have some exciting new initiatives in it this year including development of the Marine Education Centre and the Karori Wildlife Centre,” Mayor Prendergast says.

The Plan contains new initiatives that support the Council’s economic development strategy and Creative Wellington – Innovation Capital vision but the overall Plan includes projects that boost tourism, boost our events calendar, provide for our younger and more senior citizens, upgrade recreational facilities and maintain the foundations of the city.

Strategy and Policy Committee chair Robert Armstrong said the Council had to ensure that core business and key infrastructure were maintained.

“A huge amount of work has been done on city infrastructure in past years, such as stormwater protection, and that continues to contribute to rates increases. Good infrastructure is important in a city,” he says.

A list of projects included in the Draft Annual Plan is attached.

ENDS

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