Wellington Scoop

Paying up

It’s that time of the year when we get to compare all the rates increases.

Wellington has announced the lowest average increase – only 3.8 per cent. It may seem a lot, but in the mayor’s words:

“… officers have worked hard to trim the fat and find alternative avenues of funding, despite cost increases around insurance.”

The average increase quoted by the council is however based on rates increases every year over the next ten years. Leaving ratepayers to wonder if their annual incomes will rise by a similar average amount every year to match the endless increases.

Things are vaguer in Porirua, where the council says that its rates increase will be

“hopefully under five per cent.”

The council says somewhat defensively:

Decisions were … made to not spend money. There will be no provision for the purchase of strategic property originally proposed at $11 million. Instead any investment decisions will be made on a case by case basis. To help offset any additional costs as a result of community feedback, the Council will now not achieve a balanced budget until 2022/23.

Kapiti has been more precise – announcing an increase of 4.8 per cent and giving many reasons why it’s needed. Mayor Gurunathan says it could have been worse.

“We’ve committed to spend less and pay back more to make sure we’re living within our means, and we’re confident our 20-year plan reflects that. We’re making a start on reducing our borrowings by using the majority of this year’s surplus to pay off debt. Over the 20 years of our long term plan we’ll be repaying almost $40m.”

In Lower Hutt, the council has found a way of avoiding putting a figure on the increase that it has approved. Instead it offers this information:

Council has voted for a rates revenue increase of 1.5% for existing ratepayers, with a further 1% rates revenue increase expected from growth from new builds and property investment.

Work that out. All will no doubt become clear when the first rates demands arrive.


  1. Jonny Utzone, 18. June 2018, 8:35

    The good news is that in Wellinton we’ll be having our rates bill translated into Maori.

  2. Concerned Wellingtonian, 18. June 2018, 9:43

    With respect, Lower Hutt sounds as though it is taking a huge step in the right direction with that information. What are the equivalent figures for Wellington and why aren’t they obvious?

  3. Sekhmet Bast Ra, 19. June 2018, 14:57

    Jonny Utzone, your comment had us rolling in the aisles with laughter when we thought how confusing a rates account in Te Reo Maori might be for a household of new New Zealanders whose first language is Mandarin. But seriously, we must question if investing municipal funds for the promotion of language is appropriate. Like the wholesale promotion of ‘gender diversity’ and environmentalism, this is yet another instance of the larger communitarian social engineering program. It’s not really about being out and glad to be gay, or everything being kapai because we are all sharing korero and breaking out the guitars to sing Me He Manu Rere after a hard day’s volunteer work executing small furry animals. Their hope is once the majority of citizens have allowed themselves to be indoctrinated into the induced feel good vibe of ‘belonging’ via the local government social engineering program, citizens will be less likely to complain about the rising cost of residential rates and less likely to query the implementation of the directives of Agenda 21 and the 2030 Agenda.

    Given that few Wellingtonians are on a salary which compares to Mr Lavery’s or even the ‘living wage’, the ongoing rates rises amount to a form of socio-economic cleansing and a creeping form of compulsory gentrification.

    Our best suggestion is for all to read Dr Naomi Jacobs’ book Socialist Councils, Debt-Bondage and Serfdom.

    Welcome to the age of post truth politics and idiocracy, look below the hood and question who is really pulling the strings and if everyone at city hall has truly lost their marbles.

  4. Citizen Joe, 21. June 2018, 14:17

    I see Kapiti Council is now going to spend $125k a year of ratepayers’ money (it’ll be more) subsidizing flights to Auckland from their Paraparaumu airport in competition with WCC subsidizing flights to Canberra (oops Melbourne) from their airport.

    Councils keeping to core business? Not when you have a seemingly never ending supply of ratepayer money to waste and too little for your over-paid councillors to do.

  5. Barbs S, 22. June 2018, 8:35

    Councils are just sucking us dry. Just maintain what we have such as street lighting. My friend has just tripped on a broken pavement and was seriously injured and ended up in hospital. We do not need vanity projects.

  6. Citizen Joe, 24. June 2018, 12:32

    I see Wellington City is spending our rates to reduce tree diversity on Tinakori Hill by chainsawing cherry trees seeded by the birds of Wellington and then treating the stumps with toxic poison (the toxic signs are everywhere).

    So not only is the WCC reducing diversity, it is also reducing the spring display of our flowering cherry trees and the pollen and nectar they provide for Tuis and native bees and their autumnal display of red and yellow leaves that adds colour to our otherwise monotonous green and which provides a nutritious mulch for insects etc. And hacking down and poisoning of our cherry trees also reduces a rich food source for birds.

    Another example of ‘ecology’ madness at WCC paid for by rate-payers.

  7. aom, 25. June 2018, 9:54

    CJ’s example of ‘ecology’ madness at WCC would probably be tempered if he/she joined the hundreds of volunteers who are presently planting thousands of endemic seedlings throughout the city. That is when one sees the threat to the seedings that the Council propagates to add to the 0.1% that remains of the city’s original forests. It is heartening to hear that Tinakori Hill is receiving attention so that in the future, the Northern Rata that has been planted there is more likely to thrive. In reality, the Council’s budget for such work is inadequate, so much of the weed control work is done by hand by environmentally motivated volunteers. In reality,‘ecology madness’ is allowing the uncontrolled proliferation of exotic species.

  8. Josie B., 25. June 2018, 20:29

    Yes – please put me down for leaving cherry trees on Tinakori hill alone too, especially if it means the WCC doesn’t waste my money playing the nature god. I like cherry trees, I can buy one from the garden centre and the Tuis that visit the gardens on Tinakori Rd eat the fruit and spread the pips up the hill. That’s nature working just fine isn’t it? I see the Botanical Garden on the opposite side of Tinakori Hill and it is paid for by WCC ratepayers likes Cherry trees too given the number they have planted. How bizarre!

  9. Barbara S, 25. June 2018, 21:32

    I live on Tinakori Road and I am disappointed with the Council for poisoning the cherry trees on Tinakori Hill. What is this hatred of trees that are not native to New Zealand?

  10. TrevorH, 26. June 2018, 7:37

    @aom: humans are an “exotic species” which continues to proliferate. “Ecology madness” is chasing shadows of an imaginary, unchanging past and exterminating everything that doesn’t fit the illusion.

  11. Farmer John, 26. June 2018, 8:09

    Killing the ‘non native’ trees is happening in Porirua too and over my side of the big hill! Eco elitism paid for by rate-payers. And all under the name of ‘diversity’. What reversed ‘spin’ is this? Where’s George Orwell and ‘newspeak’ when you need him! What they teach in ecology down at Otago Uni these days can’t be science at all. All cultural blah blah.

  12. Andrew, 26. June 2018, 8:26

    That is nature working fine, if you only want to look at cherry trees (and sycamores). They are both fairly invasive species. If you do not want the council playing ‘nature god’ should they stop meddling elsewhere; seawalls, drainage, road maintenance etc… let nature take its course. It’d be a lot cheaper, after all.

  13. sean, 26. June 2018, 14:36

    Professor Philip Hulme of Lincoln University has done a lot of research in this area and communicates this well, including in the recent 2017 Leonard Cockayne Lecture Award tour around NZ.
    He shed a lot of light on how significant the problem is in NZ, why and how some damaging plant species not just get hold but spread and eventually dominate, how it is possible to prevent further and new spread, that this needs us to be informed about the risks of plants we import, buy and plant and that reducing this impact is a good idea. This includes reduced impacts on the economics of agriculture, which already suffers from invasive species.
    As somebody quite removed from the subject, I attended to learn something outside my normal interests, I found his material quite compelling.

  14. Sekhmet Bast Ra, 26. June 2018, 14:57

    Farmer John, you are right on citing the universities as part of the problem. Most of the universities have entire departments which teach the pseudoscience of ‘restoration ecology’. It is a false doctrine which did not exist prior to 1980. Every year individuals graduate with qualifications in it and a lot of them are employed by local government.

    Elected representatives each bring their own area of expertise to the halls of governance, but few will have qualifications in administering the environment. Thus most councillors will be relying on council staff with ‘environmental qualifications’ to advise them, which in the age of post-truth politics appears to include speciesism veiled in the gift wrap of ‘restoration ecology’. A classic case of the ‘tail wagging the dog’ if ever we saw it. This means voting for someone other than our current councillors at the next election is not about to change anything. What is required is a council who are prepared to do their own research and question the opinions of their staff.

    Indoctrination of citizens into speciesism is not limited to tertiary institutions. School children are presently being immersed in it via the enviroschools project. Councils pay NZ schools to sign up to enviroschools who in turn indoctrinate the children into this insanity which includes hands on experience in killing non indigenous animals in the name of ‘conservation’. Next level up from enviroschools is the NZ Association For Environmental Education. Their resources page links directly to the UNESCO Global Action Programme on Education for Sustainable Development. Thus it is quite clear it is the globalists who are really directing this madness from behind the scenes.

  15. aom, 26. June 2018, 18:54

    Andrew – too subtle. Sean – too well informed. There is obviously a clique that wants Wellington to be renamed the Pink Capital of NZ. Seemingly they didn’t mind the fortune of rates money that was spent to get rid of the wilding pine threat on Tinakori Hill that subsequently allowed the cherry trees to threaten the northern rata that were planted there.

  16. Peter, 26. June 2018, 21:13

    Some of us as kids of the 50s & 60s were lucky to spend our after school hours and holidays out in the many small bush areas that existed throughout Wellington. There, we learned first hand the difference between what belonged and what didn’t, the native birds and insects that lived there and we had few qualms about killing rats, stoats and mice, realising they were a threat to the creatures that belonged there. Some might call it the university of life but it inspired some of the early environmental academics you seem to delight in denigrating. Look at what many from those generations now do in their retirements! It sure isn’t sitting behind a keyboard, pontificating against those who want to reverse NZ’s woeful record for driving species to extinction.

  17. Hel, 27. June 2018, 8:50

    Spending ratepayer funding to kill off cherry trees is a ridiculous prioritisation of funding. This council lost the plot long ago and with it control of the agenda which is now driven by an unelected executive who frankly have little interest in Wellington; are any of these people even from Wellington? The only saving grace for Wellingtonians is they are not saddled with Porirua’s problems and rate hikes.

  18. Bob the Bushtail Possum, 27. June 2018, 9:16

    Peter and aom, don’t the cherries on cherry trees provide food for the Tuis and Silver-eyes (recent emigrants from Queensland) etc. I quite like them too (varies my diet). I can’t see the ecological value in protecting some monotonous green bush by spraying toxic Vigilant poison across the town belt. And what about the Botanical Garden across the road? Should all the exotic trees be chopped down there to suit your narrow minded view that pre-european settler nature should be restored at all cost never mind the cruelty involved to us small mammals the white fellas imported?

  19. Andy Mellon, 27. June 2018, 19:17

    Another kind of ‘speciesism’ to quote one of the previous posts is to support a single species to the detriment of many others. But, I guess as long as policy supports the species you personally like, then screw everything else. Definitely a few advocates here for faunal monoculturalism.