Check your rates hike
I invite you to play the exhilarating game of check next year’s rates on the Auckland Council website.
With the council having formed a plan to take an increasing proportion of household income, it’s worth knowing what you face.
And there’s a bittersweet pleasure that comes from looking up the homes of your friends, family and acquaintances.
In the next ratings year, starting on July 1, residential rates across Auckland will rise by an average 5.6 per cent. Inflation is less than 1 per cent.
But the rates rise doesn’t hit everyone equally.
A landlord in Manurewa might well find their rates moving only a fraction.
A homeowner in Mt Eden may get a rise of 10 or even 15 per cent.
So plug your address into the calculator in the ‘‘Rates, building and property’’ section of the council’s website, and find out if you are a winner or a loser in the game of rates.
My house in Epsom shows that if the council continues with its favoured plan, my next rates rise will be 14.1 per cent. That’s more than $500.
I’m almost too frightened to think about what’ll happen the year after, though the calculator does not show me.
I looked up the rates of a few friends and also a few random addresses.
A chum in Titirangi was up 8.3 per cent. Funny to find myself envying a rise of 8.3 per cent. Then I looked up a stranger’s home in Manurewa. Up 0.8 per cent.
Owning houses is becoming a lot more expensive. The effect of this on individual households will be different.
Our household will tighten its belt as I refuse to have Auckland Council reduce my savings rate. This year, it’ll be me reining in my spending.
Since using the rates calculator, I have ditched my Coke Zero habit. I drink a couple of 1.5 litre bottles a week, sipping away while working. Often I consume a couple of bags of chocolate raisins a week.
I don’t buy coffees and have never been a fan of takeaways so these little luxuries never seemed excessive and, though I love it, I limit myself to sushi lunches from St Pierre’s twice a month.
But it adds up. Actually, $10-$15 a week on snacks roughly equates to my future rates rise. So sorry Coke. Sorry, my usual dairy. Sorry St Pierre’s. The council’s getting that money now. Others will make similar decisions. Why have I written this column? Because until 4pm on March 16, you can send the council your thoughts on its plans to raise your rates as part of setting its 10-year budget.
And I have a feeling many people haven’t expressed their views, which can be done through the council’s website.
And I am fairly certain too that very few people know what kind of rates rise is really coming their way.
I asked Auckland Council how many people had used the future rates calculator by Wednesday last week and it told me that it was about 4300, which is a tiny minority of Auckland households.
If you want to have a say on the 10-year budget, it’s time to look up your rates rise, think about what it means for you and tell the council what you think.
Oh, and it’s also your chance to have a jolly good snoop on the rates rises of all your friends.