Tomorrow Auckland ratepayers will be able to able to see for themselves the actual dollar amounts they will be paying to add to the Len Brown’s coffers and they’re in for a nasty shock. So far the true impact on most ratepayers has been hidden in those wonderfully useful things ‘percentages’ that hide a multitude of sins. Spin doctors love them because they can be manipulated in so many ways. The reality for most is that their rates rises for many will be way above expectations.
What is of real significance this year is that the rates cap has come off. Until now rates rises have been capped at 10%pa. My rates have risen annually by 10%. This year the sky’s the limit. Here’s what we already know.
310,000 residences will get rises up to $500
34,000 residences will get rises between $500 and $750
9,000 residences, will receive an increase of more than $1000
Some of us have already been softened up with an advance letter from Council. I live on Waiheke where the rates are supposed to be going down by 2.8% according to the Herald. Had I been one of those susceptible to Council spin I might have expected this would mean my rates would fall. After all, I had challenged my revaluation, which Council had inflated by $200,000, and won. But I am too well versed in the ways of Council. As I have been warning for some time their figures are nothing but a sick joke!
My letter tells me I am one of the 34000 getting an increase of between $500 and $750. To put that in perspective, percentagewise, my rates are going to rise by between 17% and 25%. Rates now represent around 20% of my disposable income which is ultimately unsustainable for those, like me, who live on a fixed income.
In the five years since amalgamation my rates have almost doubled, and this at a time of almost zero inflation.
Perhaps, just perhaps, I wouldn’t have minded had I been able to see any benefit for Auckland as a whole but I cannot. Yes, there have been some improvements as there should have been with rates rises on the scale we have seen under Len Brown’s tenure. But all this pain for so many households and families has been to pay for a multi-billion dollar train set for our childish Mayor to play with. Even if the City Rail Link happens it will do little or nothing to improve the lot of anyone but a few inner city dwellers paid for by the poorest families of Auckland who will be subsidising their lifestyle for decades to come.
The Mayor has been busy flying overseas using our money to grease the palms of those who get to decide such irrelevances as ‘liveability’ so he can claim his mayoralty was a success. Meanwhile ratepayers are voting with their feet as the rush to get out of this unaffordable city gathers pace. It’s fight or flight. Join the exodus or join the resistance. I am staying for the fight. I’ve joined the resistance. I’ve joined the Auckland Ratepayers’ Alliance. So can you.
ARA Media Release
RATEPAYERS DEALT THE DAMAGE TOMORROW
Tomorrow ratepayers will learn how Auckland Council’s rates hikes will impact them.Auckland Ratepayers’ Alliance spokesperson, Jo Holmes, says:
“Tomorrow ratepayers will wake up to the damage that the Councillors who approved Len Brown’s budget have brought upon them.”
“Our experts estimate that between 9,000 and 10,000 households will be facing rates increases of more than $1,000. At a time when inflation is close to zero, rates increases of this magnitude are completely unjustified.”
“To add insult to injury, the Council is spending $60,000 on a telemarketing company to call people to give them the bad news. Rather than calling people to spin the bad news, ratepayers would rather the Council focus at delivering value for money.”
“The Auckland Ratepayers’ Alliance is determined to hold that those Councillors who are responsible for these rates hikes accountable. Since April, more than 11,000 people have joined the campaign at ratepayers.nz.”