The New Zealand Taxpayers' Union, in partnership with the Auckland Ratepayers Alliance, have today published this year's Ratepayers' Report – online local government league tables – at www.ratepayersreport.nz.
With these league tables, New Zealanders can easily compare their local council performance and financial position against similarly sized councils and types.
By setting out more than two thousand data points, Ratepayers' Report provides transparency, so no-one can credibly claim cherry-picking or a political agenda. The league tables set out metrics such as Council debt, assets, spending and staff costs, all on a per-ratepayer basis.
Some councils do very well in the league tables, some not so much. Every council has checked its own numbers and approved it for accuracy.
Across the country council borrowing continues to skyrocket. On average, councils have increased the share of debt for each of their ratepayers by $244 – a 5.3 percent increase in borrowing in just a year!
The data shows why Auckland Ratepayers, in particular, have cause for real concern, with Council liabilities now $19,537 per ratepayer, up more than $600 since last year. This is second only to Christchurch, and almost four times the national average of $4,876.
Every dollar spent by a Council was earned by a hard working ratepayer. Ratepayers' Report allows ratepayers to see how their money is being spent.
- Christchurch City Council has more debt on a per ratepayer basis than any other council in the country ($21,137). Auckland Council is the second most indebted authority, with debt per ratepayer of $19,537.
- The average debt per ratepayer of all councils is $4,876.
- Auckland Council pays 2,250 of its staff salaries in excess of $100,000. Auckland Council also employs more staff per ratepayer than any other unitary authority (17 staff per 1,000 ratepayers). Marlborough District Council, another unitary authority, employs 10 staff per 1,000 ratepayers.
- The highest average residential rates in New Zealand are in Western Bay of Plenty ($3,234 per year).
- The lowest average residential rates in New Zealand are in the Mackenzie District ($1,637 per year)
Data for the report was compiled by the Taxpayers' Union and was supplied to all councils for them to review prior to publication.
Ratepayers' Report facilitates straightforward comparison of average residential rates via a formula first used by Napier City Council which allows for an 'apples to apples' comparison of average residential rates and charges. Only Westland District Council was unwilling to provide the Taxpayers' Union with the necessary rates information.