Otago Daily Times
Wellington council to mull rates rise
WELLINGTON: Residents in the capital could be facing a rates increase of 17%, as the council works out how to pay for a mass of infrastructure and resilience projects.
Wellington Mayor Andy Foster yesterday revealed a sketch of the council’s 2021 longterm plan, to be further discussed by the council next week.
‘‘The planned investment is diverse, and will improve the foundations for a better city,’’ Mr Foster said.
‘‘It will increase levels of service in key areas that matter, such as infrastructure, climate change, key civic buildings and transport, broadly maintain levels of service everywhere else, and retain headroom for future generations.’’
The capital investment needed would be the largest the city had ever made, he said.
Wellington faces a trifecta of money issues: hundreds of millions of dollars are needed for earthquake strengthening some of the city’s most beloved buildings; investing in an ageing and now frequently failing water network; and paying for a billiondollar, decadeslong transport programme.
Mr Foster said spending cuts would have to be found elsewhere.
‘‘The council has needed to make some extremely hard decisions about what is in and out of the budget.
‘‘This is to ensure we do not spend more money than we can afford, that future generations are not adversely impacted and that we have money for unexpected events.’’
The exact scale of rates increase had not been decided, and would not be until consultation had finished.
At the top end of the scale, a rates increase of 23% is suggested; but Mr Foster said there were other options ranging from a 14% rise to a 17% rise, which would increase the level of debt repayment. — RNZ