8 Feb 2023

Wellington ratepayers facing nearly 13% hike

6:38 pm on 8 February 2023
Tory Whanau

Mayor Tory Whanau says the council needs to spend on infrastructure. Photo: RNZ / Samuel Rillstone

Wellington homeowners are facing a hefty rates hike of nearly 13 percent this year.

Wellington City Council forecast a 12.8 percent jump in the 2023/24 annual plan, which it would vote on later this year after public consultation.

That followed increases of 13.5 percent in 2021, and 8 percent last year.

Mayor Tory Whanau said it would be a bitter pill to swallow for many, but council urgently needed to spend on infrastructure.

"I do feel for those struggling with day-to-day living costs but, unfortunately, Wellington has had decades of under-investment in key infrastructure like Three Waters and housing.

"We are tackling this head-on by investing 30 years of what we'd normally invest in a single decade."

Whanau said that included fixing pipes, housing intensification, sustainability initiatives, and upgrading cultural and community spaces.

Wellingtonians indicated they wanted that investment during the 2021-31 long term plan process, and now was not the time to reduce spending, she said.

"That is how we got into this situation in the first place.

"And delaying investment now would place an additional unfair burden on future generations."

Whanau said factors like inflation, higher debt repayment due to Official Cash Rate increases, and higher depreciation and insurance costs had impacted budget forecasts since that long term plan, when the 12.8 percent figure was initially floated.

But she said council found savings to offset those. Once approved, the new rates would kick in on 1 July.

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