30 Jul 2012

Winners and losers in Auckland Council rates

10:24 am on 30 July 2012

Aucklanders will this week receive their first bills under the new region-wide property rates system, with some facing big increases.

Auckland Council's overall rate rise is 3.6%, but there are winners and losers in the rating scheme brought in since the amalgamation of eight councils into one in November 2010.

Differing former rating systems are blending into one, there is a new way of charging for water and sewerage and the impact of property revaluations varies across the region.

The changes mean 187,000 households will pay less - generally those in the west, south and rural areas.

But 133,000 will face a rise of more than 10%, mostly those in north and central areas.

The changes will be spread over several years, with no household having to pay an increase of more than 10% cent in any one year.

Auckland mayor Len Brown says the new system is fairer, with properties of equal value paying the same rates no matter their location.

However he acknowledges the rates change is hitting people's pockets at a difficult time.

"And it hits them for no other reason than we're almalgamating. It's not their fault, it's no-one's fault, in the end, it's just the final outcome of the amalgamation."

Councillor Dick Quax says the rates bill for many in his Howick Ward will go up significantly more than the 3.6% average.

Mr Quax, one of the mayors political opponents, says this years' rate rise is just the start of the pain as rates are expected to rise over the next 10 years by 56% cumulatively.

The first rates bills, to properties in the north and west, go into the mail on Tuesday and the remainder will be sent out a week later.