Wellington Scoop

Property owners complain: “commercial rates are unbelievable”

News from Property Council of NZ
Property Council research into rating policies in main cities paints a bleak picture for Wellington commercial property owners according to Mike Cole, Wellington Property Council Branch President. He says he is astounded by the differences bought to light in the report.

“It is unbelievable that Wellington City’s commercial ratepayers are paying rates nearly 50% higher than their Auckland equivalents, and nearly 100% more than owners in Hamilton.”

“For a commercial property that’s valued at $2 million dollars, in Auckland that property would pay rates on average of $19,000, in Hamilton approximately $16,500 and $32,000 in Wellington. This cost differential is extravagant and absurd – it puts Wellington’s economic growth at a disadvantage compared to other New Zealand cities.”

Mr Cole thinks “the city’s and region’s councillors are simply politicking for short term gain at the detriment of the long term future of the city. Councils should be putting in place policies that enable Wellington to compete and grow, not milking ratepayers for everything they have got.”

“Counterintuitively, the rating burden is falling disproportionately on those who are helping the city to grow and become more prosperous.

“Despite commercial properties making up only 20% of the rateable property value, they pay over 46% of the total rates bill. Again this is much higher than in other New Zealand cities, putting Wellington at further disadvantage.”

Mr Cole stresses “we are not against paying our fair share of rates. What we need is for our rates to be put to proper use and to ensure Wellington is attractive to outside businesses.”

“We need a vibrant commercial property industry in Wellington to help drive economic and social prosperity for the city. We want jobs growth for our residents.

“There needs to be an objective and robust facts based debate on how essential services and infrastructure is funded in Wellington. For example, the Regional Council has consistently failed to provide a logical reasoning as to why commercial property owners are paying ten more in targeted rates than residential ratepayers who use the public transport system.

“Wellington City Council and Greater Wellington Regional Council must come to the party with stakeholders to develop a positive and transparent vision as to how essential services, infrastructure and economic growth projects are funded in the future”.

“With the local body elections in October, Property Council calls on candidates and voters to support rates and economic growth policies that make Wellington an attractive business destination so we can continue to grow and prosper.”


  1. Ian Apperley, 11. August 2016, 18:14

    Yep. And you get nothing for it either. With three businesses in hand, the rates bill is astronomical. If I could move to Lower Hutt or Porirua, I would.

  2. Jack Little, 11. August 2016, 20:57

    I think they forgot to include Nick Leggett’s authorisation statement on this PR.

  3. CC, 11. August 2016, 21:08

    The business sector needs to get real. Have any of them bothered to check the residential differences between Wellington and Auckland. Thought not! Besides, they don’t pay the rates anyway, they add it on to their prices and act as tax collectors and no doubt have a collectors margin factored into their costings. Then of course, according to John Milford, they expect the residential ratepayers to front up for their airport extension and all the other ‘good for business nice to haves’ that they demand and most of the Councillors support.
    Ian – nothing to stop you shifting. Do it and stop the bleeding moaning. There is really nothing to stop you, or is it far more profitable to be in Wellington despite the rates?

  4. Chris Calvi-Freeman, 11. August 2016, 21:12

    Residential rates aren’t exactly light either, and will rise faster than commercial rates. [via twitter]

  5. time for change, 11. August 2016, 21:14

    Leggett’s property campaign funder mates are signalling here what the payback will be if Nick is elected mayor. Commercial load down. Relief on heritage rules. Seismic strengthening subsidies up. Paid for by residential rates up, more user pays. Will he close pool days and library hours like in Porirua?

  6. CC, 11. August 2016, 21:47

    What does Justin Lester, the executive member of the Property Council, have to say about his organisation’s bleating? He, no doubt, realises that the residential differential between Wellington and Auckland is at least 50% higher than the commercial rate!

  7. Hamish G, 11. August 2016, 21:53

    Looks like Leggett’s got the property developers doing his bidding (again). No surprises given tonight’s murmurings on Twitter that the latest polls show Coughlan could take the mayoral race.

  8. CPH, 11. August 2016, 22:01

    Let’s see … Leggett has promised lots more spending plus he wants to decrease rates for his property developer mates. I wonder where he’s going to make up the difference? (Hint: YOUR rates bill!!)

  9. CC, 11. August 2016, 23:09

    Time for a change: you are signalling no change if Leggett gets in (God forbid)? Look at the promises of the other main contenders – increased rates are on the way at an even heavier residential loading.

  10. Trevor Hughes, 12. August 2016, 10:29

    If businesses want stupid loss-making liabilities like the convention centre and runway extension they should pay more rates, not less.

  11. Celia WB, 12. August 2016, 12:15

    Wellington CBD Office space is much cheaper overall than Auckland – or Australia. A whole of city view must consider transport costs, land costs, capital value and the cost and quality of living for employees. The capital’s significant advantages for business and residents mean we have got the balance about right. Investment in arts, public space, beaches and reserves, public safety, sports and libraries attracts talent around the world. Competitive cities benefit both businesses and residents and attract tourists, students and further investment. ”

    In the Wellington CBD, the average total occupancy cost is $345/per square metre, compared with a national average of $399/per square metre, and approximately 46% lower than Auckland’s average of $553 per square metre (Colliers)

  12. Anabel, 12. August 2016, 15:54

    Another irrelevant cost spin. What about ratepayer costs in subsidized profits for these big companies most owned by foreign interests? People and the WCC have forgotten the function of WCC. It’s not tourism, not “competition with other cities”, not supporting big private companies or trying to “attract” foreigners .