Rate increase threatens business

SIOBHAN LEATHLEY
Last updated 14:04 13/05/2013

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Increasing Auckland rates means many local businesses will struggle to survive, business association managers say.

Glen Innes Business Association manager Gary Holmes said the 2.9 per cent rate increase announced last week would make it even tougher for owners to do business.

Many are wondering how they are going to survive when every extra dollar adds more pressure, he said.

"We're hoping the increase won't drive more away. There's a few who have had to close down already, due to the increasing costs of doing business each year."

Holmes also manages the Dominion Road Business Association part-time, and although he is yet to receive feedback from members he said experience tells him many won't be happy.

Although Dominion Road business owners have some advantage in that they will see a return for their rates, through the road's upgrade on village centers and a continuous bus lane. Many others, including Glen Innes, will not.

"They're struggling to see what the rate increases does in dollar terms for them," Holmes said.

Pukekohe Business Association manager Kendyl Gibson said all Auckland businesses were finding things tough at the moment and feel they receive little benefit for the extra charges.

"It does seem like commercial premises get the rough end of the bargain."

"They'll either have to adapt or we'll lose them."

St Heliers Business Improvement District manager Wendy Caspersonn said the "huge" rate increases make it is very difficult for small local businesses to operate in suburb.

She said St Heliers is already an expensive area, and increasing charges add to the already high costs.

"Some businesses have said they don't know how long they can keep going."

St Heliers was lucky not have any empty shops at the moment but she did not know how long this would last.

Auckland Chamber of Commerce chief executive Michael Barnett says business owners still face significant rate increases over the next three years.

 "2.9 per cent tells a story but it is not a massive increase across the region.

"There is more to come."

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- BusinessDay.co.nz

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