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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.”