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Council Votes to Increase Consent Fees by 16 - 18%

Council Votes to Increase Consent Fees by 16 to 18%

Auckland City Council last night voted to add an extra 4% to the 12% increase in resource consent fees proposed on June 23rd this year. Building consents rose 18% as a result of the June decision.

In an hour-long debate, Councillors argued over both the need and the timing of the substantial increase. Councils are entitled to recover "actual and reasonable" costs for service under the Resource Management Act but many councillors felt considerable unease over raising fees when severe criticism was being levelled at the council over service times and value for money.

In June this year there were 1400 building consent applications in progress; 600 above the figure that ACE (Auckland City Environments) felt it could comfortably manage. This figure had been reduced to 900 by early September.

In addition to the above increases there will be an additional charge for those 12 to 15% of applications that require input from the Urban Design Panel.

The motion to raise fees passed by one vote with the Mayor and Labour/City Vision council only defeating the Citizens and Ratepayers Now with the support of Action Hobson Councillor Christine Caughey.

Citizens and Ratepayers Now team leader, Scott Milne, commented " It is poor form to extract premium prices when we are yet to deliver premium service. We fought for a six month delay to allow ACE to catch up the backlog and get the process time down but the increase was bulldozed through in much the same way as the 9.7% Rate Increase. I guess we just have a different attitude to these things."

Chairman of the Finance Committee, Vern Walsh commented, " With only 150 written complaints a year it is not really a concern."

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