Good news at last for ratepay­ers

Kapi-Mana News - - FRONT PAGE - KRIS DANDO

‘‘I was ap­pointed on the ba­sis that ef­fi­cien­cies were to be made, with rates rises the num­ber one is­sue for res­i­dents.’’

Porirua ratepay­ers have re­ceived good news, with the pro­jected rates rise now cut to 3.7 per cent af­ter the city coun­cil flagged a slew of cost cut­ting.

In the 2015-25 long-term plan, pro­jected rises of more than 5 per cent each year un­til 2021 were in­di­cated, which drew howls of protest from ratepay­ers.

How­ever, in the re­cently re­leased draft an­nual plan, the rise has been pared back dra­mat­i­cally.

Sav­ings in­clude staff ($200,000), repri­ori­tis­ing city pro­mo­tion ac­tiv­i­ties ($174,000) and re­duc­ing cap­i­tal ex­pen­di­ture ($250,000).

Ser­vice changes will af­fect Ti­tahi Bay res­i­dents es­pe­cially. Halt­ing fund­ing for week­day life­sav­ing at the beach (an­nual coun­cil fund­ing of $22,000), re­mov­ing beach war­dens ($30,000) and lock­ing the beach gates at night and reopen­ing in the morn­ing ($9000) are pro­posed.

Coun­cil chief ex­ec­u­tive Wendy Walker said hard de­ci­sions were made and more would fol­low.

‘‘We are be­ing very ag­gres­sive and some tough calls were made,’’ she said. ‘‘But look­ing at the an­nual plan sub­mis­sions, there seems to be gen­eral sup­port for the ap­proach we’re tak­ing.

‘‘I was ap­pointed on the ba­sis that ef­fi­cien­cies were to be made, with rates rises the num­ber one is­sue for res­i­dents.’’

Porirua has 18,000 ratepay­ers and with­out a big com­mer­cial base, nearly 73 per cent of the coun­cil’s rev­enue comes from rates.

Un­der the re­vised rates rise, Porirua com­pares bet­ter with other cities.

Napier and In­ver­cargill, which are of sim­i­lar size, are pro­ject­ing 4.2 and 2.33 per cent rises in the next 12 months.

In­ver­cargill City Coun­cil in­terim chief ex­ec­u­tive Dean John­ston said de­mand for bet­ter ser­vices but keep­ing rates at a man­age­able level was a bal­anc­ing act.

‘‘We’ve gone out the last few years with an an­nual plan rates in­crease less than is in­di­cated in the long-term plan. But it’s an on­go­ing chal­lenge,’’ he said.

Auck­land is pro­ject­ing a 3.2 per cent rates rise in 2016/17 and Christchurch a 5 per cent in­crease. Welling­ton ratepay­ers are fac­ing a 4.5 per cent rise and Up­per Hutt 4.39.

PHOTO: PHIL WINDLEY

Hannah Mir­a­cle Si­amomu, left, and Oceanah Pule prove su­per­heroes can live in har­mony at Porirua’s Holy Fam­ily School on April 14. The school grounds were full of colour as the pupils came dressed as their favourite su­per­hero, and they later wel­comed the New Zealand War­riors, who gave each pupil a rain jacket as part of a Kid­sCan ini­tia­tive. Kid­sCan is a na­tion­wide scheme that sup­ports chil­dren from low-decile schools by help­ing with food, shoes and rain­coats, and in other ar­eas.

More pho­tos P22.

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