Wellington City Council must live within means also

July 15th, 2014 at 2:00 pm by David Farrar

The Dom Post reports:

Higher rates rises over the next few years could be the price residents have to pay for ’s “eight big ideas”.

Councillors have been warned that projects such as the airport runway extension, the Hilton Hotel and conference centre, and a film museum would not be sustainable without increasing the number of ratepayers – and even then “slightly higher rates increases in the short term” might be needed.

A presentation from council staff working on budgets for the next 10 years looks at various funding possibilities, one of which could be a rates increase above 10 per cent in 2015-16.

Another scenario, spreading out costs across the decade, involves an increase of about 6 per cent for 2015-16.

In recent years, rates rises have been held to about 2.5 per cent.

Rates should not increase more than inflation. It is all too easy for Councillors to have a wishlist of ideas, but we’re the ones who to have to fund them.

Any contribution to the proposed airport runway extension should be minimal.

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19 Responses to “Wellington City Council must live within means also”

  1. igm (1,413 comments) says:

    If principal ratepayers only, had the vote in local elections, we would not have deadhead, fiscally illiterate socialists voted into power. It is high time this discrepancy was addressed, and we get back to the days when we did not have frivolous wasting of others’ monies by unprincipled left-wing losers, with an envy of those they are thieving from, in order to sate their devious tastes.

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  2. Manolo (13,747 comments) says:

    The first task would be to evict the Luddite Wade-Brown. Out with the incompetent Greenie passing as mayor.

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  3. mikenmild (11,247 comments) says:

    ‘Rates should not increase more than inflation’
    That implies that the current rates have somehow been magically set at the correct level.
    This is a political exercise. We have a council to set priorities and find ways of funding them. some years that might mean an increase in rates; some years it might actually mean a decrease. Councillor can stand again on their records re rates and spending.

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  4. Tarquin North (296 comments) says:

    They could ask Len for a few tips.

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  5. KiwiRupes (16 comments) says:

    And at what point does the council need to invest in a hotel? Surely if there is a business case for a new hotel in Wellington, then the Hilton owners should be able to do it without the council investing?

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  6. tom hunter (4,809 comments) says:

    I recently checked the rates increase for one council I deal with when I found a rates notice from 1997 in old paperwork. They’ve averaged 1.6% per annum which I was very impressed with. Still, they’re a small, largely rural council so perhaps the feedback is more intense and frequent. It may also be that they have fewer “visions.”

    …. some years that might mean an increase in rates; some years it might actually mean a decrease.

    I’d love to see an example where rates have fallen. The elimination of the Auckland Regional Council comes to mind but wiping out a whole set of bureaucrats is surely not what you have in mind. Even with the council that I’m impressed by I can find no record of any year where the rates were reduced.

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  7. nasska (11,478 comments) says:

    About the only way to rein in the spendthrifts would be a two tiered voting system. Principal ratepayers to decide on rating levels & the desirability of big ticket expenditure……..community boards elected by all citizens to provide local input on local issues.

    Otherwise we have foxes running hen houses.

    Edit: Mike…..can you recall one instance where rates have ever decreased, anywhere in NZ, because I can’t? If there’s ever surplus cash it’s wasted on the next item on the wish list.

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  8. Rich Prick (1,700 comments) says:

    ‘Rates should not increase more than inflation’

    And yet rates increases contribute to inflation. How about rates should not increase and Councils should live within their means. If it’s good enough for the rest of us … “eight big ideas” pfffft.

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  9. mikenmild (11,247 comments) says:

    I didn’t mean to convey the impression that any council had ever reduced rates – I’m certainly not aware of any. Did the super city not lead to rates reductions?

    I meant only to draw attention to the absurd notion that rates increases must be limited to the rate of inflation.

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  10. OneTrack (3,089 comments) says:

    Socialists and other peoples money. Groan.

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  11. stephieboy (3,013 comments) says:

    I wonder if mayors or their CEO and chief executive officers have as part of their salary package are exemption from paying rates.?
    This could explain their casual indifference to the consequences of their grandiose schemes of making their cities as so called ” places to be proud of.” !

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  12. ben (2,379 comments) says:

    Sorry, is that the same Hilton Hotel that councils keep turning down through the resource consents process, now they’re so desperate to have it they want to put up rates to get it? #FFS

    On what basis would rates increase from the airport runway extension? If the answer is because the cost of the extension cannot be paid for by the additional revenues it attracts then you have your answer: don’t build it. That negative profitability is an unambiguous sign that it is not worth it. And by the way: some of the smartest people in the country are now spending their time coming up with ever more clever ways and ever more flash powerpoint presentations to convince the government and council to give them more money – and not spending their time working out how to get consumers a better product. That is deadweight loss to the country, folks, pure and simple. And, by the way, the next generation 787 may be light enough to fly direct to Asia and land on the existing Wellington runway: right about the time this $x00M white elephant arrives. No way.

    The film museum idea is flat out perverse: having thrown $x00 million in subsidies at rich people to make films on this side of a political line instead of another, it is adding insult to injury to then ask (read: take) even more on top of that to celebrate that highly regressive largesse. If anything, it is the film industry that ought to be forking out as thanks for all the taxpayer support!

    NZ is poorer for all the uneconomic activity these subsidies buy.

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  13. Max S (21 comments) says:

    This shows why Hutt Valley ratepayers don’t want a bar of a Super City. We would be landed with our share of this extravagent and unneccessary spending.

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  14. rouppe (971 comments) says:

    It appears as though money produced through previous rate rises, earmarked for particular projects, never stops getting spent on that project. Surely expenditure on Project A stops eventually and can then get spent on Project B.

    Why is it that when Project B comes along, there is always the requirement for new rates to pay for it instead of it being paid for by money freed up from earlier projects?

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  15. backster (2,171 comments) says:

    “Any contribution to the proposed airport runway extension should be minimal.”

    The cities contribution would need to match their shareholding (I think about 30%}…The answer is easy though, sell their shareholding then they have the cash to spend on their other dreams and they gather extra rates from the Airport Owners Infratil.

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  16. labrator (1,850 comments) says:

    @Max S and it shows why Wellington is so desperate for the Super City. Hutt Valley, with their economic common sense, could be hugely leveraged compared to existing rate payers.

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  17. wiseowl (891 comments) says:

    I know of a council that had a zero general rate one year.That is no-one paid a general rate, only targeted rates.

    Have stated before that you can not keep rates to the rate of inflation.It has been shown this is not possible and one of the biggest factors is the ever increasing legislative requirements passed on to Local Government and the financial impact of it.

    Councils have to stop spending .They have to say NO to all and sundry who want,want,want.

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  18. wf (441 comments) says:

    An Hilton Hotel?

    A Film Museum?

    They’re kidding, surely.

    Even though rubbish and roads and public transport are not exciting to deal with, they are what matter to the residents of a city. Councillors have become addicted to trendy projects which attract attention and the blandishments of their promoters.

    Time to stop this nonsense.

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  19. publicwatchdog (2,593 comments) says:

    Is Wgtn City Council compliant with the Public Records Act 2005? Do Wgtn citizens & ratepayers know exactly where every $ is being spent / invested / borrowed? Aucklanders don’t. Penny Bright

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