Check your rates hike

Auckland City Harbour News - - OPINION -

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.

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