Three regional councils drag the chain on rates relief
A round-up of the country’s regional and unitary councils reveals that ratepayers in Wellington, Otago, and Southland are being ripped off by authorities who are forging ahead with rate hikes planned prior to COVID-19.
New Zealand Taxpayers’ Union spokesman Louis Houlbrooke says, “An economic crisis is the worst time to increase tax – and that includes the taxes set by our regional authorities. Unlike income taxes, the level of rates does not reflect a household’s ability to pay, meaning they’re especially unfair on Kiwis who have lost income and livelihoods.”
“Three regional councils in particular need a kick up the arse – Greater Wellington, Otago, and Southland are on track to hike rates by 5%, 9.1%, and 5.9% respectively – in line with plans set prior to the COVID-19 outbreak. Now is not the time for a business-as-usual approach to rates.”
“Other regional councils have revised rate hikes downward in the face of COVID-19, but the real benchmark has been set by those freezing rates entirely. Congratulations to the regional councils of Waikato, Bay of Plenty, Taranaki, Hawke’s Bay, Tasman, and West Coast, who have committed to a zero rate increase. By finding savings and deferring non-essential spending they have done right by struggling ratepayers.”
The Taxpayers’ Union is tracking the rates status of all local councils at www.taxpayers.org.nz/rates_dashboard, and will be releasing region-by-region roundups of local councils as information comes to hand.