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Auckland Rates Increase Packs In Mail

Aucklanders have had their rates packs posted today alerting them to an increase of 10.8 percent over last year’s bill.

General rates will rise on average by 10.08% which includes a 5.2% increase in the Auckland Regional Council (ARC) rates. General rates income will total $301.7 million, including GST.

Differentials are also leveling with residential ratepayers face an increase, against a decrease for non-residential ratepayers. Council decided that the present distribution of rates between residential and non-residential ratepayers was not appropriate. The modest reductions from this year start to address previous inequities. Slight changes have also been made to Hauraki Gulf Islands ratepayer groups.

More rates help is being offered by Auckland City this year to assist people on low and fixed incomes. Council will top up the Government’s rates rebate scheme so that qualifying ratepayers may receive a rebate or discount on their rates bills of up to $300.

Council has also changed the rules so that Metrowater Limited’s charges are considered along with rates when rebates are calculated. This means ratepayers who qualify will generally have lower than average household incomes but higher than average water bills.

A Rates Help brochure, explaining the rebate scheme and how to apply, is available at community libraries and Citizens Advice Bureaux. Or, phone Auckland City’s Rates Help line on 379 2025.

Auckland mayor Christine Fletcher says: "Council heard emphatically that the originally proposed rate increase of 16.9% was too high and did its best to reduce this. While an overall increase of 10.08% is still significant, we could not continue to neglect the costs of maintaining and improving core utility services. To assist people on low and fixed incomes, the criteria for rates rebates have been extended."

An Auckland International Airport share sale has also been deferred until just prior to the Strategic Plan review. Auckland City owns 108,171,000 shares in Auckland International Airport Limited (AIAL), some 25.8 percent of AIAL, and worth about $300 million on today’s share values. Councillors have decided this is one of the city’s most significant capital assets. Council reviewed its options as part of the Annual Plan process and decided to obtain further information before deciding to sell or retain the shares.

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