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Watercare’s latest 23.5% fee hike set to scare the horses

Media release

Auckland Councillor Cameron Brewer

Monday, 30 June 2014

Watercare’s latest 23.5% fee hike set to scare the horses

From tomorrow Watercare’s connection fee for new Auckland urban dwellings will rise by 23.5% from $9,775 to $12,075, which has already spooked the Minister for Housing, Property Council, and development sector.

“Watercare has done very well on residential water prices since 2010’s council amalgamation. However, when it comes to this latest massive increase in the metropolitan infrastructure growth charge the condemnation has been swift and widespread,” says Auckland Councillor for Orakei, Cameron Brewer

“We’ve got the Property Council savagely criticising the price hike, saying it would feed directly into housing inflation at a time when both the Government and Auckland Council have been promoting efforts to improve housing affordability.

“The Housing Minister Nick Smith has labelled the new water connection fee a significant increase and contrary to broader objectives. While one of council’s more favourite developers, Mark Todd, has claimed that such charges are one reason there is no affordable housing in Auckland.

"Watercare's one of the success stories from amalgamation. However this significant increase in the new water connection costs for new urban dwellings directly adds to the cost of building a house in urban Auckland.

“It’s not necessarily a biggie for a flash new four-bedroom house in the whole scheme of construction costs. However it will have a measureable impact on the cost of buying a modest apartment – which goes completely against what the draft Unitary Plan is trying to encourage.”

"The Government's busy trying to cut consenting and construction costs, yet this jump in new water connection fees will wipe out some of the good work and gains made lately.

“Overall, 1 July is a bad day for housing affordability in Auckland with residential property rates and many regulatory fees increasing well above the rate of inflation,” says Cameron Brewer.

Ends


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