The year-on-year 10% cap on rates proposed for nearly 200,000 Auckland rate payers decided by Auckland Council is unacceptable, says Auckland Chamber of Commerce head Michael Barnett.
Equally unfair is the proposal for business rate payers to pay 33% extra in each of the next three years as part of Council’s transition to the new single rates system.
For ratepayers on fixed incomes and the many small-medium (SME) businesses on tight margins there will be serious and unfair consequences, he predicted. “Job losses and business closures are inevitable.”
The Auckland legislation requires the Council to put in place a single rating system from 1 July so that properties of equal value will be paying equal rates, wherever you are in the new Auckland. In theory properties in Takapuna will be rated at the same level as those in Henderson and those in Manukau.
Council has three years to make the transition, but is being misleading in what it is telling Aucklanders about the change and its effects. “Under the proposals Council will be asked to confirm tomorrow, even with the proposed 10% cap on annual increases, there is no possibility of Auckland moving to a single rates system in the next three years where everyone is treated the same,” said Mr Barnett.
o It is seriously misleading for Mayor Len Brown to claim that Council is proposing an overall rate increase of 3.6%.
o The business community is still being expected to contribute 34% of the rates revenue even though they represent less than 20% of Auckland’s ratepayers.
o Businesses are expected to pay 163% more in rates for equal services on equal valued properties, and there is no proposal to remove the business differential as there should be if a single rate system is the goal.
These and other serious omissions in the rates transition proposals must be addressed by Councillors tomorrow. “I agree with the Mayor that there is no more important issue than a fair and equitable rating system for all Aucklanders. But saying that means nothing without honest action to deliver.”
Michael Barnett, Chief Executive, Auckland Chamber of Commerce.