Auckland rate hike approved
The cap which has protected some Auckland homeowners from up to 40 per cent rates rises has been voted down today.
Auckland Council's Governing Body today argued its way through its 10-year budget, known as the Long-term Plan 2015-25.
Among a series of major decisions it has removed the rates cap, refused a referendum on its controversial plans to pay for expensive transport projects and made changes to how it charges property developers.
The vote to scrap the rates cap was tight - 11 votes to 10.
Since the eight old Auckland councils amalgamated into the super city, the new council has been trying to align the rates it charges.
It has meant some homeowners have had decreases in their rates, but others have faced steep increases.
In an effort to give some relief to the pain of those homeowners in line for big increases, the council operated a policy called "rates transition" - capping the extent of rates rises each year to a maximum of 10 per cent.
But today the cap went - all ratepayers who own similar value properties will pay the same rates no matter where in Auckland they live. And no matter how big the rates rise.
It has been reported that some will now face a massive household rates increases of 40 per cent or more next year.
The councillors voted 12 votes to 9 to refuse a referendum to seek feedback from Aucklanders on transport investment and funding options.
Instead the council will pay for an "independent, statistically reliable" survey of Aucklanders about transport funding.
It promises results will be analysed by an independent party - and just possibly, a referendum would be held "at a later date once further information is available."
Councillors also adopted changes to the development contributions policy.
Development contributions are the fees charged to property developers to fund community and network infrastructure such as stormwater, transport and reserves the council has planned to provide for development projects.
The proposed policy will base charges on house size - because a larger house generally equates to more people, and it is the number of people that results in the need for more infrastructure investment, the council says.
Development contributions are charged for all residential developments, from a new house to a large apartment block, as well as non-residential developments, subdivisions, and for some changes of land use.