Big rates rise a shock for home­own­ers

Kapi-Mana News - - FRONT PAGE - JARED NI­COLL

‘‘We're on one in­come and it's just mak­ing it dif­fi­cult to be in this area. You try to live in a rea­son­able area and have a rea­son­able life, and you just get pe­nalised for it.’’

Porirua res­i­dents have been shocked by in­creases of up to 17 per cent on some rates bills.

About 3500 ratepay­ers will be see­ing in­creases of more than 10 per cent – against an av­er­age res­i­den­tial in­crease of 6.4 per cent – this year as the re­sult of an av­er­age up­swing in prop­erty reval­u­a­tions of 24 per cent.

The coun­cil set the rates in ac­cor­dance with the ma­jor­ity of pub­lic feed­back, which was not in favour of pulling more from the ru­ral and com­mer­cial sec­tors, whose prop­erty reval­u­a­tions were more sub­dued, to sub­sidise res­i­den­tial ratepay­ers with big in­creases.

One res­i­dent in Cam­borne – the sub­urb with the high­est ex­pected av­er­age rat­ing in­crease at 10.2 per cent – felt anx­ious just walk­ing to the mail box af­ter the city coun­cil sent out the first round of bills ear­lier this month.

The sub­urb had the high­est av­er­age prop­erty value growth in the city, at al­most 30 per cent.

Amy, who did not wish to share her sur­name, thought it was tough for the coun­cil to ‘‘pe­nalise’’ fam­i­lies such as hers, which was hit with a 12 per cent in­crease.

‘‘We’re on one in­come and it’s just mak­ing it dif­fi­cult to be in this area.

‘‘You try to live in a rea­son­able area and have a rea­son­able life, and you just get pe­nalised for it.’’

And though her home’s value had gone up, it needed ex­pen­sive work, and the fam­ily had no in­ten­tion of selling any­way.

She did not be­lieve the sub­urb she has called home for 14 years got value for money, point­ing to on­go­ing road­ing and flood­ing is­sues.

Whitby home­owner and sol­dier Adam Calver bought his home with his wife and daugh­ter in 2015. The value has jumped 42 per cent from $320,000 to $455,000, and his rates bill has risen 16 per cent, or about $500 a year.

‘‘When your rates in­creases are that high above in­fla­tion, it just doesn’t fit.’’

Whitby pen­sioner Jan­ice King, 73, said her her bill climbed 17 per cent – about $500 ex­tra a year – which would be tough to find on a fixed in­come.

‘‘I’m not the type of per­son who com­plains too much, but it was such a shock.’’

She qual­i­fies for a $620 rates re­bate be­cause she earns less than $24,790.

While some places, such as Cam­borne and Whitby, topped the fig­ures, other sub­urbs such as Aotea had much lower in­creases, re­sult­ing in an av­er­age rates rise of 4.6 per cent.

Porirua Mayor Mike Tana said the coun­cil had a set amount it needed to earn from ratepay­ers, and it worked out how much each ratepayer had to pay based on prop­erty val­ues.

While he felt for those fac­ing steep in­creases, the coun­cil set the rates in ac­cor­dance with the ma­jor­ity of pub­lic feed­back.

It had ‘‘stuck to its knit­ting’’, split­ting the bill us­ing the fairest process.

PHOTO: JARED NI­COLL/STUFF

The hill­top sub­urb of Cam­borne, over­look­ing Pau­ata­hanui In­let, has had the high­est av­er­age rates in­crease in Porirua with 10.2 per cent. Cam­borne res­i­dent Amy

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