Which place has the highest rates?

ANDREA VANCE
Last updated 05:00 11/06/2014
wilding trees mackenzie
SUPPLIED/ Kiersten McKinley

CHEAPEST RATES: The Mackenzie district is the lowest rates in New Zealand.

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Ratepayers in the Western Bay of Plenty are paying almost three times as much as those in the Mackenzie District, figures reveal.

Those who live in the WBOP District Council area pay the highest in the country - an average of $3274 a year. Mackenzie rates are the lowest in the country, with an average annual residential bill of $1104.

Data collated by the Taxpayers' Union, a lobby group, from council reports has been turned into an online tool, Ratepayers' Report, to allow residents to compare their local council with 67 territorial authorities across the country. This data was checked by Fairfax Media and supplied to councils for them to review prior to publication.   

Not surprisingly, rates in the most sought-after areas are also high. Those living in Auckland, where the average household income is around $76,000, face annual bills of $2636. The average house price in Auckland was $678,533 in February. 

But residents in Christchurch face comparatively low bills. At $1706 a year, they make the top 10 for cheapest rate bills.

The Western Bay of Plenty district takes in the urban centres of Waihi Beach, Katikati, Omokoroa, Te Puna, Te Puke and Maketu. 

Household incomes average $55,600. Although the district council's headquarters are in Tauranga, it does not take in the city, where under the city council the average rates bill is $2217.

The total revenue - including rates, charges such as consent fees and proceeds from council controlled organisations - for each WBOP ratepayer is $3585.

People in the Far North have the second highest yearly rates bills, at an average of $2841. This is followed by Tasman ratepayers, paying $2841. Nelson city residents fork out $2597 a year, followed by those in the Manawatu on $2566.

At the other end of the scale are Mackenzie District with its $1104 average, Whangarei District ($1213) and Southland District ($1534).

A spokesman for Auckland Council said the figures are ''to one degree or another, comparing apples with oranges''.

''In some ways Auckland Council, due to its sheer size and complexity, is more like an Aussie state government entity than your average New Zealand local government body. We bring in more income through user fees, grants and other income than we do via rates (about $1.8b versus $1.4b this year). We are also able to borrow relatively cheaply offshore, unlike most.''

Far North District Mayor John Carter said the high rates were ''largely a result of the district's population and infrastructure being spread across a large rural territory''.

Regional council rates are not included, but those of unitary authorities are. Auckland Council, Nelson City Council, Gisborne, Tasman and Marlborough District Councils and the Chatham Islands Council perform the functions of a regional council and could be expected to have higher rates - although this is not always the case.

Taranaki Regional Council wanted to charge $331.20 to answer how much it charges residential properties, on average.

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Western Bay of Plenty District Council did not respond to request for comment and Tasman District Council did not respond to queries within deadline.

WHO PAYS THE MOST?

1. Western Bay of Plenty District - $3,274

2. Far North District - $3,027

3. Tasman District- $2,841

4. Auckland Council - $2,636

5. Nelson City - $2,597

6. Manawatu District - $2,566

7. Whakatane District- $2,468

8. Queenstown-Lakes District- $2,420

9. Waitomo District - $2,408

10. Gisborne District- $2,385

WHO PAYS THE LEAST?

1. Mackenzie District - $1,104

2. Whangarei District - $1,213

3. Southland District - $1,534

4. Hurunui District - $1,559

5. Ashburton District - $1,560

6. South Waikato District - $1,661

7. Grey District - $1,680

8. Waimate District - $1,700

9. Christchurch City - $1,706

10. Kaikoura District - $1,710

- Stuff

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