Dalziel on right track

February 12th, 2014 at 9:00 am by David Farrar

The Press editorial:

Councillors were told this week that the rating base had declined by 2.3 per cent and the council faces a larger-than-forecast operating deficit. The decisions to be made will undeniably be difficult and are likely to be unpopular.

There is one option that Mayor appears to have ruled out.

“It’s not a question of adding to the rates; it’s a question of re-allocating within budgets,” she said.

That is the right approach. Rates are already set to rise by 6.5 per cent this year and probably by similar amounts in years to come. Just adding more to property owners’ rates burden would be evading the problem not facing it.

It’s good to see Lianne Dalziel rule out further rates increases. The Council needs to adjust its expenditure to match its income – not take more money off struggling ratepayers.

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18 Responses to “Dalziel on right track”

  1. iMP (2,386 comments) says:

    Why then has she doubled the number of staff for herself, that Bob Parker had? Mates, many of whom are on $100k ea. Sure, cut backs, but not bear mayor Dalziel.

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  2. Reid (16,491 comments) says:

    Presumably not mowing berms is one of the items that came out of the brainstorming. Along with ruthless enforcement of parking violations, paying for rubbish collections on top of the current rates, metering the water supply and raising council fees across the board.

    Then on the other side of the ledger we’ll just implement say a 5% cut in headcount across the board, except of course in the “vital” functions like the spin doctors in the Mayor’s office, since they’ll be more more vital than ever, lest Lianne suffer undue, unrelenting and unfair criticism.

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  3. KiwiGreg (3,255 comments) says:

    “Rates are already set to rise by 6.5 per cent this year”

    There’s your local government austerity right there.

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  4. J Bloggs (241 comments) says:

    Reid: Following the Auckland model, then. Better put security cameras in the whanau room, just in case….

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  5. Allyson (47 comments) says:

    There is no socialist solution to a dwindling cash base. That why they love inflationary measures like rates hikes . The irony of course is that those on the margins will suffer most .This will get ugly

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  6. lazza (381 comments) says:

    Err Yes … maybe … possibly … the “Goodon Lianne for holding rates to a 6.5% increase” thing. Pull the other leg …

    For there are (at least) two “other” budgetary possibilities …

    (1). If CCC really followed cost- effective efficient delivery of their services who knows what the increase “could” be … maybe 2%? and

    (2). If a 6.5% increase is “held” what would the alternative higher (it is always higher) figure be? … 10%?.

    Does this not suggest the likely false economy of holding rates down when the most economic timing of necessary works etc, like NOW requires higher rates NOW with no deferral.

    Things have a habit of deteriorating/costing more … if they are put off.

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  7. jp_1983 (213 comments) says:

    We won’t increase rates yet…
    However we will increase borrowing and defer payments till I am out of office..

    ‘There fixed it for you.’

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  8. Viking2 (11,484 comments) says:

    With that attitude she can come and stand for Mayor in Tauranga.

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  9. chris (647 comments) says:

    Rates are already set to rise by 6.5 per cent this year

    If this is anything like Auckland then they’re talking averages anyway, so presumably some people will see higher increases. But it’s not Auckland, so maybe not? (Ah lovely Auckland, home of doublespeak such as “we’re working hard at keeping down the average rates increase”.)

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  10. labrator (1,850 comments) says:

    Rates are already set to rise by 6.5 per cent this year and probably by similar amounts in years to come.

    So hold on, rate increases have been put on hold not the rates themselves. When did it get to the point where we’re discussing holding the rates increase percentage at a constant level?

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  11. Joanne (177 comments) says:

    Lianne Dalziel is good value. I believe she has shifted some functions that existed already into her team. No biggy.

    The Ratepayers of Auckland need to be paid to keep Len Brown. I can’t decide who is more distasteful – him or Russell Norman.

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  12. Joanne (177 comments) says:

    Adding to that Lianne Dalziel is quite open to answering questions about her decision to increase staff in her office.

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  13. Lindsay Addie (1,528 comments) says:

    LD wasn’t any great shakes as a cabinet minister IMHO, but she has made a solid start as mayor of Chch.

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  14. m@tt (629 comments) says:

    I’m interested that you describe the ratepayers as struggling. Is this a concession that, in general, people are not earning enough to get by, or flip side of the same coin, that the cost of living has increased to the point it creates ‘struggle’? If so I hope this means you are going to go in to bat for those that are ‘struggling’ on a wider front than just keeping their rates bill down.

    For the record, I do agree that updating the budget is the right thing to do, and I am against further rate increases. I also think many rent payers and home owners are struggling, as you point out, but that’s not because of their rates bill.

    [DPF: They're struggling because their homes got demolished by a fucking huge earthquake!]

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  15. reversespin (69 comments) says:

    The 2.3% decline in rating base has a flipside……..big increases in the Selwyn and Waimakariri districts. They need to step up and start thinking like proper big-boy city councils. Big increases in population, infrastructure and roading requirements, etc etc. Quality of life for lots and lots of “Christchurch” people is being determined by some pretty ill-equipped and inexperienced councillors from Selwyn and Waimakariri.

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  16. david (2,557 comments) says:

    Can anyone with access to the budget detail identify how much of the council’s expenditure is being funded from the “funded depreciation” of infrastructure assets that Council’s are obliged to put aside annually by statute.
    It will be hard to find because some sleight of hand accounting generally has it as off-balance-sheet borrowing at nil interest so that when the sewer mains in Fendalton need replacing it will have to be funded from that year’s rates of real borrowing even though it was included in the rates for the last 10 years and should be sitting nicely in a fund somewhere dedicated to its purpose.
    Robbing Peter to pay Paul appears to be a favourite game of Councils – certainly stormwater and sewer upgrades desperately needed in Auckland have been loaded into Development Contributions which is why developers are currently kicking up bobsie-dai (spp?)

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  17. Paulus (2,631 comments) says:

    I will wait and SEE the new rates bill – then I will believe what I see and not what Dalziel’s PR office put out – just like the Liar – I wonder how long it will be before Dalziel gets that moniker after the rates are delivered – not what she says – she has lied often before so I doubt there will be much real change – only still troughing.

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  18. Viking2 (11,484 comments) says:

    When are they going to sell some assets and pay back the taxpayers that have been propping them up?

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