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Rates rise unfair to Shore - Wood

LIZ WILLIS
Last updated 10:07 30/08/2012
wood
George Wood

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The rating system unfairly penalises Shore ratepayers, councillor George Wood says.

This is because the bulk of rates are charged on property values that have risen steeply in many Shore suburbs, Mr Wood says.

Auckland Council set a relatively low uniform annual general charge of $350 towards council services, with the bulk of rates based on house and land values.

Mayor Len Brown says the system is fair but Mr Wood refutes this.

"I still believe that in the long term we have to look at the high rates on particular home owners," Mr Wood says.

He says some Takapuna property owners face $700 to $1200 annual rate increases.

But introducing bigger fixed charges that everyone pays is fairer than "people paying more because they have a higher value property", he says.

"A lot of people are asset rich but cash poor. They have to budget very frugally even though they are in pretty high cost properties."

Mr Brown says increasing the uniform charge would see more people facing double-digit increases.

At $350, 127,165 home owners face 10 per cent plus rises but that jumps to 129,585 at $450 and 170,847 at $750.

Mr Brown says people would have still faced big increases even if the council cut investment in trains, libraries and parks.

"The amalgamation was a massive challenge in all sorts of ways, not least of all rates, but we have brought in transition policies to smooth out any change and in the end we will have a fairer system where homes of the same value will pay the same rates, wherever they are in the region."

But Mr Wood says adding to the inequities he sees is the fact that the council is spending to get Manukau, Rodney and Waitakere up to scratch because they haven't invested enough in infrastructure.

"To be blunt about this, it's unfair for the areas in Auckland that have their house in order because this low uniform annual general charge means established areas in good shape are having to pay for other areas."

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