Christchurch 13 percent rates rise 'unviable for residents'

7:19 pm on 27 February 2024
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The council will finalise the long-term plan before July. Photo: RNZ / Nate McKinnon

Christchurch City councillors have overwhelmingly supported going to the public with a 13 percent rates rise for the coming financial year.

The council this afternoon signed off on its draft long-term plan, the 10-year budget, and the accompanying consultation document.

Few councillors were pleased with the headline figure, but councillors approved the plan 13 votes to four.

Sara Templeton - telling Stuff about unmasking her online political troll.

Sara Templeton Photo: screenshot / Stuff

Among those who voted against the draft was Heathcote ward councillor Sara Templeton.

She said the plan did not do enough to address the city's water infrastructure needs.

"In 2018, the leakage rate from our pipes was 18 percent and we had a target of getting it under 15 percent," she said.

But it was now at 27 percent, and the target was to get it under 25 percent.

"It's clearly unacceptable," Templeton said.

"A fully functioning and safe drinking water supply is the lifeblood of any city, and ours is creaking and leaking and I've not seen a plan to fix it. It's only out of sight and out of mind until it's flowing down the street. This is not a more affordable long-term plan and we can certainly not afford for our water infrastructure to get so bad it fails."

Spreydon ward councillor Dr Melanie Coker also held concerns about the lack of forward thinking.

"We're leaving the tab for future generations to pick up," Coker said.

But even those who supported the draft did so on the condition it would be altered by the time it was finalised.

Fendalton ward councillor James Gough was scornful of the proposal.

"I think the proposed 13 percent rates rise is shameful really, and totally unviable for residents. For me that's the headline of it," he said.

Harewood ward councillor Aaron Keown said he hoped the public would suggest cuts.

"I hope this is the one LTP where the public come in and tells us how not to spend money," he said.

"Yes a lot of work has been done but I don't think enough work by table has been done to reduce the costs for people that live in our city. The rates rise is truly unacceptable."

Keown wanted a single-digit rates rise.

Submissions open on 13 March and close just over a month later.

The council will finalise the long-term plan before July.