How Average Residential Rates Were Calculated
Calculating an 'apples with apples' figure for residential rates is difficult because councils use various mixes of rates, levies, and user charges. Our approach is based on work by Napier City Council to find an average residential rate. We sent an official information request to all councils requesting average residential rates using the formula below:
Average residential rates = (X+Y)/Z
X is the total of all rates (general and targeted) charged by the Council to residential properties;
Y is the total amount of user charges or levies applicable to residential properties (for example, charge relating to metered water, infrastructure contributions, refuse collection, fire protection etc.); and
Z is the number of residential properties (however defined by the Council) within the Council's district or city. Councils were asked to use the closest definition (such as urban) should they have no classification for residential properties.
While we think this approach is useful and fair, the average residential rates figure should be a guide only. It does not, for example, factor in councils’ reliance on commercial rates. It also puts unitary authorities at a disadvantage. Unitary authorities (Auckland Council, Nelson City Council, Gisborne, Tasman, and Marlborough District Councils and the Chatham Islands Council) perform the functions of a regional council and can, therefore, be expected to have higher rates than other territorial authorities.