$14 saving on rates increase leaves Chch homeowners enough spare for a pint of beer

The beers are on the Christchurch City Council after a fall in next year's expected rates rise leaves the average homeowner enough for a pint.
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The beers are on the Christchurch City Council after a fall in next year's expected rates rise leaves the average homeowner enough for a pint.

Rates are on the increase in Christchurch – but the rise is smaller than previously forecast, leaving enough cash in the pocket for a pint at the pub or a trip to the cinema.

Residents were braced for a hike of 5.5 per cent in their rates bills this winter after the increase was proposed by the city council in 2018 as part of its planning for the next decade.

But homeowners will have a fraction more in the bank after councillors shaved the figure down to 4.98 per cent.

Based on rates for a $500,000 home, residents will have a $131 increase rather than the expected $145 – a saving of $14.

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That would leave them paying $2766 in their rates next year, rather than the $2780 forecast last year, equating to a weekly bill of $53.19.

Christchurch mayor Lianne Dalziel says the council has worked hard to bring rates increases down by being “smarter” with its spending.
GEORGE HEARD/STUFF
Christchurch mayor Lianne Dalziel says the council has worked hard to bring rates increases down by being “smarter” with its spending.

Across the whole rating base – which includes businesses – the average increase is down to 5.02 per cent.

The figures are included in the council's draft annual plan, which will be discussed and adopted by councillors on Tuesday before going out to public consultation.

The smaller increase comes partly from there being more houses and buildings on which rates are paid.

Mayor Lianne Dalziel said the council had worked hard to save people money by being "smarter" at the way things are done.

Building new houses has helped bring down the level of rates rises in Christchurch.
JOHN MCCRONE/STUFF
Building new houses has helped bring down the level of rates rises in Christchurch.

She told Stuff: "We've managed to bring down the level of the proposed rates increase.

"It is a significant reduction and I am hoping we can continue to keep pressure on that number for the 2019-20 year and hopefully by the end of the consultation period we'll have even more recommendations to look at in terms of bringing down that figure."

The council plans to spend $538 million on major capital projects over the next 12 months, an increase of $83m on the original proposed budget.

Rates in Christchurch are on the rise, but not by as much as people thought.
STACY SQUIRES/STUFF
Rates in Christchurch are on the rise, but not by as much as people thought.

A total of $60m is earmarked for the planned multi-use arena, $26.8m will be spent on transport projects and $7.9m on the performing arts precinct.

"We continue to look for more strategic ways to resource projects," Dalziel said.

"All the time we are looking for different ways of doing things, and hopefully doing things smarter and thereby reducing the cost increases to ratepayers."

Last year's long-term plan projected a 52.35 per cent rise in rates by 2028, with the first two years seeing 5.5 per cent increases before dropping to five per cent in 2021 and eventually to 2.91 per cent in 2028.

That initial drop has been brought forward a year, but Dalziel said it would not necessarily lead to residents being hit in the pocket further down the track.

Stuff