Local Govt | National News Video | Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Search


Hutt City Council Acts To Cut Proposed 7.9% Rates Increase


Hutt City Council met today under urgency to approve a plan and to progress an emergency budget in response to COVID-19 which addresses impacts on the Lower Hutt community.

In March Councillors agreed to go out to the public to consult on a proposed 7.9 per cent rates increase in order to invest in key infrastructure, and put the city on a more secure and sustainable financial footing going forward.

Lower Hutt Mayor Campbell Barry says action has been taken to cut back the draft budget and proposed rates increase in light of the current and forecast economic impact of COVID-19 and the need for Council to tighten its belt – just as people and businesses across Lower Hutt are doing.

“These are tough and challenging times for people across our city and it is not tenable for our council to proceed with business as usual. We need to be doing all we can to alleviate financial pressures on people at this time, which is why we are now proposing a significantly reduced rates increase,” Campbell Barry says.

“Council has asked for a budget to be prepared on the basis of an average rates increase of 3.8 per cent. This covers the increased cost of delivering existing services and would allow us to proceed with some key investments including monitoring of our water infrastructure, and seismic strengthening required of community facilities like the War Memorial Library.”

“What is clear is that our Council will still have to front up to many of the big challenges our city faces – including addressing the housing crisis, easing congestion on our roads, modernising our rubbish and recycling service, rebuilding Naenae Pool, and ensuring our basic infrastructure is fit for the future. These are still key priorities and we will continue to progress them in the coming months.”

Campbell Barry says the most effective way to provide relief to ratepayers would be for central government to take nationwide action to extend the current rates rebate scheme, and defer the impact of this year’s capital revaluations.

“As Mayor, I’ve made direct representations to Government for it to extend the eligibility of the current rates rebate scheme, and defer the application of the new capital revaluations until the 2021/2022 financial year. In Lower Hutt for example, we know that even with a zero per cent rates increase, some of our suburbs would still face a 10 per cent rates increase due to the capital value of properties going up.”

At the meeting, Councillors were advised a zero rates increase would result in significant service reductions, including the possible closure of community facilities. However Council officers will provide more information on what a zero rates rise could look like so Councillors are able to consider this in the course of the Annual Plan process.

Hutt City Council Chief Executive Jo Miller says an emergency budget was being drafted in the face of great uncertainty for the community and reduced revenue for Council due to closed facilities and a dramatic reduction in activity and in the economy.

“The financial impact of COVID-19 on the 2019/20 results is not yet known, but we will have a larger operating deficit than previously forecast. We have cut back on expenditure already and I have contacted unions and advised of my intention to negotiate a pay freeze until July 2021 which follows my personal decision to take a 10 per cent pay cut. I’m also bringing forward planned work on a line by line review of our budget and looking at how Council can reconfigure services and gain greater efficiencies,” says Jo Miller.

Today Council also approved a new rates postponement policy, as well as criteria for its $100,000 Community Resilience Fund. The new rates postponement policy extends the current policy to include households, and small/medium sized businesses impacted by COVID-19 and who are experiencing financial hardship. These decisions follow immediate measures Council adopted last month.

© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Gordon Campbell: On The Elusive Charms Of Christopher Luxon

Well, the first 36 hours of viewing the Christopher Luxon selfie were always going to be the best, before the repetitions set in. We get it, already. He’s an extroverted/big ego/high achieving/God fearing/country music lovin’/family man who is not at all averse to mansplaining to little ladies like RNZ’s Kathryn Ryan what “technical” words like “productivity” actually mean. But wait, there’s more. National is back! Mind you, that’s not the Bad National of recent experience, but the Good National of days gone by... More>>


Luxon: A New National For New Zealand
National Party Leader Christopher Luxon has today announced a new National for New Zealand – a fresh, energised alternative government ready to deliver for Kiwis in 2023... More>>

Cancer Society: Hopes Final Pharmac Report Is Stronger

Today the delayed Interim Report was released by the Pharmac Review Panel. The performance of Pharmac and access to cancer drugs is a major concern for the Cancer Society... More>>

Defence: New Zealand Response To Assist Peace And Stability In Solomon Islands
The New Zealand government has announced that it will deploy Defence Force and Police personnel to Honiara to help restore peace and stability. “New Zealand is committed to its responsibilities and playing its part in upholding regional security,” Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said.... More>>

CPAG: Child Poverty Monitor 2021 Highlights Persistent Inequities In Rates Of Child Poverty
Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG) welcomes the release of the Child Poverty Monitor today, which shows that prior to the Covid-19 pandemic, poverty reduction targets were largely on track for Pākehā children, however significant inequities remained for tamariki Māori, Pacific and disabled children... More>>

National Party: Bridges Appointed Finance & Infrastructure Spokesperson

Hon Simon Bridges is the National Party’s new Finance and Infrastructure spokesperson, National Leader Christopher Luxon announced today. “Simon has prodigious skills, incredible talent and the intellectual heft needed to excel as National’s Finance spokesperson,” Mr Luxon says.... More>>

Waitangi National Trust: Waitangi Week
The Waitangi National Trust has decided there will be no in-person events at Waitangi Treaty Grounds during Waitangi Week 2022. Under the COVID-19 Protection Framework it would be practically impossible to safely proceed with the usual events of Waitangi commemorations... More>>




InfoPages News Channels