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Taxpayers’ Union And Fairfax Launch Ratepayers’ Report Site

Taxpayers’ Union And Fairfax Media Launch Ratepayers’ Report Website

The New Zealand Taxpayers’ Union, in collaboration with Fairfax Media has today launched “Ratepayers’ Report” hosted by Stuff.co.nz.

Ratepayers’ Report builds on the work of local government expert and financial analyst, Larry Mitchell and his work in previous years comparing New Zealand’s 67 territorial authorities. The data was pulled together by the Taxpayers' Union, supplied to Fairfax Media, has been checked independently and supplied to councils for viewing before its publication.

“For the first time, New Zealanders now have an interactive online tool to compare their local council to those of the rest of the country,” says Jordan Williams, Executive Director of the Taxpayers’ Union. “Ratepayers can visit ratepayersreport.co.nz to compare their local council including average rates, debt per ratepayer and even CEO salaries.”

“Liabilities per ratepayer for most New Zealand councils continues to increase. The most alarming figure is Auckland at $15,858, three and a half times the national average of $4,386,” says Mr Williams.

Ratepayers’ Report also compares, for the first time, average residential rates. The figure has been calculated using a methodology developed within the local government sector to compare average residential rates. Only Kaipara District Council was unwilling to provide the Taxpayers’ Union with the average residential rates information.

Q & A:

What is the purpose of Ratepayers’ Report?

Ratepayers’ Report is designed to provide accountability and transparency to New Zealand ratepayers by allowing them to compare local territorial authority with others around the country.

What is the relationship between the Taxpayers’ Union and Fairfax Media?

Fairfax Media and the Taxpayers’ Union collaborated to develop Ratepayers’ Report. The Taxpayers’ Union are responsible for all of the data for Ratepayers’ Report. Fairfax Media have retained all editorial independence in relation to the findings of Ratepayers’ Report.

Where was the data sourced?

The Taxpayers' Union provided the data in Ratepayers' Report after reviewing each council's annual report for the year ended June 30, 2013.

Comparable figures and trends are taken from the comparable year earlier. Other figures represent the most up to date figures available. For example some councils provided the current full time equivalent number of employees. Others declined to update the figure as at 30 June (required in law to be disclosed in each annual report). Population data is from Statistics New Zealand.

Fairfax Media has taken the supplied data, had it checked twice and sent it to each individual authority for further review.

Where did the group finance figures come from?

They are taken from each council's latest annual report. It is the council figures, plus those of all subsidiary companies, council controlled organisations and similar.

Which councils are assessed in Ratepayers' Report?

All 67 territorial authorities are examined in Ratepayers' Report. That includes all city, district, unitary councils as well as the Chatham Islands Territory Council. If the process is repeated next year we plan to incorporate regional councils into the analysis.

Where did the idea come from?

Ratepayers' Report is based on the local government league published by analyst Larry Mitchell since 2010.


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