The Ratepayers Report

This morning Fairfax and the Taxpayers Union have launched the Ratepayers Report. Union staff have spent months collating the data from 67 city and district councils, with Fairfax staff checking the data, writing stories on it, and producing the online league tables.

You can see in ranked order the 67 councils stats for:

  • Average rates bill (Western Bay of Plenty $3,274 to Mackenzie $1,101)
  • Staaf numbers (Auckland 5,956 to Kaikoura 22)
  • Staff earning over $100,000 (Auckland 811 to four Councils on 2)
  • CEO salary (Auckland $620,000 to Waimate $166,000)
  • Mayoral salary (Auckland $247,229 to Kaikoura $51,050)
  • Council Revenue/ratepayer (Wellington $5,904 to Opotiki $2,197)
  • Group Revenue/ratepayer (Chch $10,368 to Opotiki $2,197)
  • Debt/ratepayer (Auckland $15,858, Dunedin $15,093 to Central Otago $327)

Stuff has published a number of stories, based on the report.

One can use the data to create your own league tables. For example I’m interested in the ratio of the CEO’s salary to the Mayor’s salary. The highest is Westland where the CEO gets paid 4.9 times as much as the Mayor and the lowest is in Christchurch where they get 1.7 times as much only.

One can also calculate what proportion of staff earn over $100,000. The three highest are Chathams (2/9), Westland (6/37) and Christchurch (302/1936). In Christchurch one in 6.3 staff are paid over $100,000, in Wellington one in 6.8 and in Auckland one in 7.3. At the other end only one in 25 staff at Napier City Council get over $100,000.

Special mention to Larry Mitchell, whose work in this area was the inspiration for the Ratepayers Report.

It is hoped that the Ratepayers Report will be an annual publication so people can see changes in their local councils over time, and use the data at election time to praise or criticise Mayors, councillors and candidates. Ultimately the aim is more informed ratepayers, where they can see key financial info at a glance.

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