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North Shore sets record for highest rates hike

Thursday, May 26th, 2005

North Shore sets record for highest rates hike, top business differential

North Shore city has been hiking its rates faster than any other city in the region, and continues to charge business the highest rates differential in New Zealand.

These facts were pointed out to the North Shore City Council at its hearings on its annual plan today by Alasdair Thompson, chief executive of the Employers & Manufacturers Association (Northern).

"North Shore's rating policies are a disgrace," Mr Thompson said.

"Council proposes to increase rates this year by 6.79 per cent, more than double the rate of inflation.

"It means that since 2000, cumulative rates on the North Shore have gone up 30.5 per cent.

"In the same period other cities have increased their rates as follows: Rotorua by 19.67 per cent; Hamilton by 18.29 per cent; and Manukau by 19.32 per cent.

"Similarly North Shore continues to charge business property owners an unconscionable 7.48 times more than other types of ratepayer.

"Council's own analysis shows business is responsible for 10.9 per cent of its costs but charges it 26.5 per cent of its rates revenue.

"It means businesses pay $7.48 for every $1 of equivalent property value paid by residential property owners.

"If the Council wanted to encourage job opportunities in the city it would stop this.

"Many residential property owners own properties of far higher value than businesses, but it's the business property owners who are called on to subsidise well heeled, residential owners.

"Other cities in the region charge nearly half the differential, and we have repeatedly told them they are anti-business, inequitable and unjustified.

"For instance Hamilton's business differential is 2; Waitakere's is 4.02; Rotorua's is 4.3; and Rodney's is 4.3.

"The basis for business differentials is flawed, and they represent an abuse of power.

"We recommend North Shore adopt the approach of Tauranga. Tauranga has ditched rates based on land value and applies them based on capital value, without the need to charge a business differential at all.

"The only thing we can find to commend council is for maintaining the Uniform Annual General Charge at the maximum allowed."

ENDS

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