In­creas­ingly late on pay­ing rates

Kapi-Mana News - - FRONT PAGE - JARED NI­COLL

The amount of Porirua home­own­ers late in pay­ing rates rose to al­most one in five last year.

De­tails re­vealed un­der the Of­fi­cial In­for­ma­tion Act showed 2933 prop­er­ties owed a to­tal of $1.2 mil­lion on July 1, 2017, up from 864 ow­ing $745,000 on July 1, 2014.

Porirua has 18,693 ratepay­ers in to­tal, and rates are not legally in ar­rears un­til July 1 of a new rat­ing year.

Mayor Mike Tana pointed out that the 2933 figure had since fallen to just 39 prop­er­ties ow­ing $45,000 last month.

‘‘The fig­ures were a snap­shot of a point in time and not ac­cu­rate for where we are to­day be­cause peo­ple are con­stantly clear­ing their ar­rears.’’

Tana said it was not just a Porirua is­sue.

‘‘Many peo­ple across the coun­try are grap­pling with the costs of hous­ing, whether they own or rent their homes.

‘‘There are many fac­tors that de­ter­mine af­ford­abil­ity and again these are na­tion­wide mat­ters that we know cen­tral gov­ern­ment is work­ing to im­prove.’’

On July 1, coun­cil staff con­tact banks with in­for­ma­tion about ar­rears and work with home­own­ers on a pay­ment ar­range­ment.

Then on Novem­ber 1, staff could send a de­mand no­tice to the banks for any rates that are still out­stand­ing and al­most all rates are paid by the bank at that time, Tana said.

Rates were higher than he would like, but he said there were im­por­tant fac­tors be­hind a pro­posed an­nual 5.25 per cent in­crease for each of the next four years.

‘‘Porirua has a small num­ber of ratepay­ers rel­a­tive to the pop­u­la­tion so fewer peo­ple pay the bill. And we don’t have ports, air­ports or large com­mer­cial ar­eas to help sub­sidise res­i­den- tial rates.’’

Plim­mer­ton resident and com­mer­cial real es­tate agent Chris Gollins re­quested the de­tails and made a sub­mis­sion to the coun­cil urg­ing it not to in­crease rates.

‘‘These ar­rears fig­ures are so bad you can only spec­u­late that coun­cil­lors were un­aware that they’re im­pos­ing the cost of their wish lists on fam­i­lies who’ve al­ready put their hands in the air.

‘‘At what point do you say enough’s enough when coun­cil­lors are us­ing their power to crip­ple the very peo­ple they’re sup­pos­edly serv­ing?’’

He sus­pected peak amounts of peo­ple in ar­rears would con­tinue to grow.

JARED NI­COLL/STUFF

Fig­ures showed 2933 prop­er­ties owed the coun­cil a to­tal of $1.2 mil­lion on July 1 last year. Mayor Mike Tana

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