2020 Ratepayers’ Report shows how Auckland Council needs to cut rates
The 2020 edition of Ratepayers’ Report confirms that Auckland Council is charging the second highest rates in the country, with an average bill of $3,469 per rating unit. The Report was co-published by the Auckland Ratepayers’ Alliance and the New Zealand Taxpayers’ Union.
Alliance spokesperson Monique Poirier says, “Auckland ratepayers have been fed a lie: annual rate hikes are not an inevitability. In fact, the latest Ratepayers’ Report suggests Auckland Council could even cut rates if it took cues from councils that run tighter ships.”
“Hamilton City Council’s rate bills are more than $1000 cheaper than Auckland’s. In fact, Grey District Council and Central Otago District Council get by charging half what our Council does.”
“There is no good justification for Auckland’s disproportionately high rates. Rates are a payment for services. Rubbish collection costs the same regardless of how valuable the local properties may be. If anything, a larger population base should see efficiencies in service delivery – that was the great promise behind the Super City.”
“Other findings from the Ratepayers’ Report make for concerning reading and go some way toward explaining why we pay so much in rates. 2831 Council staff are paid more than $100,000 – that’s 26 percent of all staff, compared to an average of 14 percent across all local councils. And the Council has been spending $830 per household just paying down the interest on its debt.”
“Despite all this, Auckland Council fails to include an accountant or lawyer on its Audit and Risk Committee which is meant to provide oversight of spending.”
Auckland Council also has the second highest level of liabilities per household – $25,372, behind only Christchurch. The figures in the 2020 Ratepayers’ Report are based on the 2018/19 financial year, and therefore do not reflect changes that all local councils have made to their budgets in light of COVID-19.
The full league tables are available now at www.ratepayersreport.nz.