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CCC debt more than three times the national average

Christchurch City Council debt more than three times the national average

22 AUGUST 2017

Christchurch City Council has liabilities of $21,431 per ratepayer, more than three times the national average of $6,989, according to Ratepayers’ Report, the Taxpayers’ Union’s local government league tables, launched today at www.ratepayersreport.nz. Christchurch City Council is New Zealand’s third most indebted local authority; only Auckland Council and Waitomo District Council have more liabilities on per ratepayer basis.

Jordan Williams, Executive Director of the Taxpayers’ Union, says, “Christchurch City Council’s high debt is understandable but still a concern. When we launched Ratepayers’ Report in 2014, Christchurch City Council found itself in a similar position, with debt three times the national average. Given that the Council has the least assets per residential ratepayer in Northern Canterbury, it is even more important that the Council’s finances are managed properly.”

Ratepayers’ Report also reveals that of all North Canterbury’s local authorities, Hurunui District Council has the most affordable rates, with the average resident paying just $1,724 per year.

“Despite its cheap rates, Hurunui District Council has the highest operating expenses per residential ratepayer in Northern Canterbury, and higher staff costs per residential ratepayer than any other local authority in New Zealand. That suggests it’s charging more in other ways, or puts higher rates burden on rural and commercial land owners.”

“Selwyn District Council has more assets, lower debt, and a smaller proportion of staff being paid over $100,000 than any other council in Northern Canterbury. With an average residential rates bill below the nationwide average for provincial councils, Selwyn District appears to compare strongly to its neighbours.”

“A black mark against Selwyn District Council was its unwillingness to provide a figure for their advertising spend. Officials at Selwyn District Council wanted to charge the Taxpayers’ Union $228 to release this information – the only authority in New Zealand that sought to do so despite the figure presumably being easily available”

"Ratepayers' Report is available online and free of charge so all North Canterbury ratepayers can judge for themselves the performance of their local town hall."

Ratepayers’ Report available at www.ratepayersreport.nz

Other findings relating to North Canterbury:
• Hurunui District Council charges the lowest average residential rates in North Canterbury, at a cost of $1,724 per ratepayer, per year.
• Christchurch City Council is the third most indebted council in New Zealand, with liabilities of $21,431 per residential ratepayer.
• Waimakariri District Council has the highest average residential rates, costing ratepayers $2,522 per year. However, this figure is not calculated based on the requested methodology, as Waimakariri District Council was unable to disclose the number of residential ratepayers. Of New Zealand’s 67 territorial authorities, Waimakariri District Council are the only authority unable to do so.
• Kaikoura District Council has the lowest ratio of residential ratepayers per employee, with one employee per 52 ratepayers. The Council also has the second lowest staff costs in North Canterbury, at $1,249 per residential ratepayer.
• Hurunui District Council has the highest staff costs per residential ratepayer of any rural council in New Zealand.
• Per ratepayer, Selwyn District Council has more assets and fewer liabilities than any other council in North Canterbury.
• Councils considered for this comparison are Christchurch City Council, Kaikoura District Council, Hurunui District Council, Selwyn District Council, and Waimakariri District Council.

ends

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