Mayor defends proposed rates hike
Porirua’s proposed rates hike is the second highest in the region and the city’s mayor says it’s partly the fault of previous councils.
Mayor Mike Tana said the 4.9 per cent proposed rise came because council had previously underfunded depreciation - the cost of wear and tear on its assets - but was now dealing with it.
‘‘Past councils didn’t account for it and we’re playing catch up now.
‘‘We had to build it into a fiveyear plan to pay off which is why our rates are up.’’
Sky-rocketing house valuations and a $3.5 million bill for flooding and earthquakes that shook the city were also to blame, he said.
Tana said city residents enjoyed some of the district’s highest service levels and ratepayers didn’t want those cut to keep their rates down.
‘‘Every single one of our councillors is a ratepayer - we want to keep rates down for everyone.’’
Porirua came second only to the Kapiti Coast, whose residents are facing a proposed 5.9 per cent increase.
As of last week, all nine councils in the region have begun consultation on proposed rate increases for the next billing year, starting in July.
Wellington City Council is running mid-pack, with a proposed average 3.3 per cent increase.
Lower Hutt is at the bottom with 2.3 per cent, and Kapiti Coast District Council is at the top, with 5.9 per cent.
Over on Neighbourly, news of the rates increase was greeted with frustration by Porirua residents.
Leina Isno from Paremata said she wasn’t ‘‘a happy camper’’, having just paid her rates and already the next lot was due.
‘‘It feels like a rip-off! No breathing space to even save up. ‘‘
Mike Rodgers said Camborne was facing a 10 per cent increase because of the property value increases.
‘‘Rates should be a cost recovery exercise to fund critical core services & infrastructure not an opportunistic cash grab to build surpluses or fund pet projects.’’
John Dunlop from Paremata said he had never been bothered about rates before but wondered how the increase was justified ‘‘given the substantial hike in property values.’’
Tai Roach from Ascot Park perhaps summed it up best with her comment.
Major flooding contribued to a rates increase, Mike Tana says.