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Taxpayers' Union Launches 2023 Ratepayers' Report

The New Zealand Taxpayers' Union, in collaboration with its sister group the Auckland Ratepayers’ Alliance, has today published the 2023 edition of the Ratepayers' Report at 

The Ratepayers’ Report allows Kiwis to easily compare their local council’s performance and financial position for 2021/22 against others. The report provides transparency for ratepayers, with rate figures presented on a per-rating-unit basis for comparisons between district and regional councils. The Comparison Chart ranks councils by average residential and non-residential rates. 

Taxpayers’ Union National Campaigns Manager, Callum Purves, said: 

“The 2023 Ratepayers' Report showcases the inner workings of councils all over New Zealand. It provides an essential tool for ratepayers to evaluate their local council and hold decision makers accountable. 

"This year's report is our most comprehensive yet with brand new data aimed at arming ratepayers with all the information they need to scrutinize the decisions and spending of their local council." 

The Ratepayers’ Report is free and available to the public at (for early access see below).

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Notable Findings

  • Residential rates: Rates continue to rise, with the average residential rate for district and city councils nationwide now at $2,781 – $171 more than just last year. Carterton District Council ranks highest for residential rates at $3,938.91 with Manawatū District Council a close second at $3,713.23. The lowest average residential rates in New Zealand comes from Buller District Council at $2,155.98.
  • Debt: Auckland Council has the highest net debt as a percentage of rates income at 525% with a net debt per rating unit of $17,451. It also has the highest interest per rating unit at $673. Only 9 councils have net debt as a % of rates income at or below 0 (New Plymouth, Northland Regional, South Taranaki, Bay of Plenty Regional, Napier City, Wairoa, Kawerau, Taranaki Regional and Environment Southland.)
  • Dismissals: There were a total of 18 dismissals due to poor performance across all councils in 2021/22. Christchurch City Council had the most with 8.
  • Consultants and Contractors: Hamilton had the highest expenditure on consultants and contractors out of any council at $314,971,368 – almost 3 times more than Auckland Council. South Taranaki District Council spent the least at $155,184. There were a dozen councils that refused our request for the expenditure on consultants and contractors.
  • Salaries: Auckland Council and its CCOs pay 3,742 staff salaries more than $100,000 – an increase of 740 from 2021/22. Greater Wellington Regional Council and its CCOs employees the highest percentage of staff at salaries over $100,000 (43.67%) - The lowest is Wairoa (7.93%).
  • Fiscal safeguards: Only 2 councils (down from 7) met the full criteria for prudent Audit and Risk Committees – Dunedin and Kawerau.

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