Wellington Scoop

Regional Council wants us to pay a rates increase of 6.5 per cent

Press Release – Greater Wellington Regional Council
Continued investment in key regional infrastructure and resilience, including flood protection, environmental protection and public transport, features in the Regional Council’s Annual Plan 2019-2020, which will be considered at its council meeting on Thursday.

A rates rise of 6.5% for 2019-20 has been proposed to fund investment in priority areas previously set out in Greater Wellington’s Long Term Plan 2018-28.

The proposed rates increase equates to $0.97 per week for the average residential ratepayer and is 0.6% higher than forecast in the Long Term Plan.

Actual rates will vary by region based on residential and commercial property valuation.

16 per cent rates increase proposed for Wellington

The proposed increase reflects the ongoing costs of debt servicing to cover Greater Wellington’s capital investment programme, such as property acquisition and construction costs for Lower Hutt’s RiverLink flood protection scheme and investment in rail and bus assets.

It also covers significant cost pressures from the increasing cost of insurance for Greater Wellington’s portfolio of assets, including its share of the rail network. Higher costs have also been incurred for fuel, which affect Greater Wellington’s contracts with bus operators, and for additional bus services introduced in response to public demand.

“We are looking forward to progressing a programme of work that will be of immense value to the region. Council has tried its very best to minimise the rate increase and to achieve a fair balance between avoiding too much pressure on ratepayers and ensuring we can continue to advance long term programmes that bring significant benefits to the region,” says Greater Wellington Chair Chris Laidlaw.

As the Council’s programme has not changed materially from that outlined in its Long Term Plan, agreed last year, Greater Wellington will not seek formal submissions but will inform the community about what’s proposed for the Annual Plan 2019-2020 through the news media, advertising, online channels and printed material.

Councillors will be out and about at community and stakeholder meetings over the coming months to discuss the Plan and get feedback.

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  1. James S, 19. March 2019, 15:27

    Weirdly they neglect to mention that this will translate to a 16.5% increase for ratepayers in Wellington City.

  2. greenwelly, 19. March 2019, 17:19

    Gotta pay for that new bus service somehow…..:(

  3. Kara Lipski, 19. March 2019, 18:55

    Don’t they realise that the elections are due?

  4. Andy Mellon, 19. March 2019, 20:20

    “Higher costs have also been incurred for fuel, which affect Greater Wellington’s contracts with bus operators, and for additional bus services introduced in response to public demand.”

    How does this work? The bus company’s fuel costs go up and ratepayers have to pay?

    Either way, 6.5% is unjustifiable and once again massively outstrips wage growth and inflation. Rate payers are not a perpetual motion machine – this approach cannot go on forever.

  5. Newtown, 19. March 2019, 21:17

    Laidlaw & friends will happily pay for this. GWRC could’ve easily saved $14m by not building bus hubs. Why should we sponsor GWRC’s rubbish projects – they’ll turn them into a mess. So many people I know are taking their cars now since they have no confidence in the buses. Also, does the 6.5% hike include Laidlaw & friends’ salary increases & bonuses?

  6. Northland, 19. March 2019, 22:48

    It’s fast becoming the costliest little capital in the world with rates increases far higher than average wage increases and insurance costs rising in a similar fashion. And we can no longer say its offset by increased amenity – look at what they have done to the bus service and now we are told the library is closing. It is all extremely disappointing. Councillors should be duty bound to peg rates rises back to the bare minimum – perhaps we can link their remuneration to the rates rises – inversely!

  7. Chris Bennett, 20. March 2019, 19:53

    Yet another rates increase well above the rate of inflation. Poor leadership is the problem. Time for a change. The poor will go without .

  8. Diane Calvert, 21. March 2019, 9:27

    They are debating their draft annual plan today and are suggesting a 16.1% (yes!) rates rise for Wgtn city residential ratepayers. [via twitter]

  9. Benny, 21. March 2019, 10:47

    So Wellington is getting a sharp rates increase to cover for the new bus network while getting the worst of it: cancelled services, less convenient, way less sustainable (15-20% increase of greenhouse emissions as recently admitted by the CEO: http://wellington.scoop.co.nz/?p=117053), dropped driver’s wages, etc.
    If only we were paying more for a better service, clean, reliable.

  10. Michael Gibson, 21. March 2019, 12:49

    James – your comment is entirely relevant about our rates increase in Wellington being more than 16%.
    Regrettably this is because the main effort to improve services has come from places like Porirua which want to improve their own services and couldn’t care less about Wellington City. They know that they can continue to trample over our five councillors who don’t speak out even at Council meetings let alone have the interest or ability to do so.
    As one example, it was from Porirua that the decision was made to remove seats in our local Wellington City buses AT OUR COST.
    It would only be fair if our five Councillors got Porirua to pay to have the seats put back.
    Sorry that I am a bit cross! It is because I have been following what has been going on.

  11. Wellington Commuter, 21. March 2019, 13:12

    @Benny, the GWRC claim that Wellington City rates rises are due to increased bus costs is simply untrue. The major reason for the increases is because last year the GWRC changed the rating model for funding PT. It is switching to charge all the residents the same Transport Rate amounts on the basis that the residents in all areas get the same benefit from the PT services GWRC provide.

    This means Wellington residents serviced by cheap but unreliable bus services to town will be contributing the same in Transport Rates as residents in Upper Hutt and Porirua who get reliable but much more expensive rail services into Wellington. (In fact Wellington households will soon be paying more per household for PT because Wellington City housing is more expensive than other cities).

    Wellingtonians need to ask their regional councillors why they voted to increase Wellington City ratepayer contribution by millions/year when this increased spending is to be consumed in hundred million projects to maintain and improve a rail service they cannot use. Meanwhile it is becoming clearer the GWRC will do little this calendar year to improve the bus service … there is no funding in the 2019/20 Annual Plan for significant bus priority or any other bus improvements. Ask your regional councillors why this has happened as well.