Wellington rates rise well below forecast

27 March 2017

Despite over $5 million in emergency spending due to the November earthquake, Wellington’s average rates will increase by just 3.3 per cent this year, rather than the 5.1 per cent originally forecast in the Council’s long term plan, Mayor Justin Lester has announced.

The lower rates increase comes after Council identified over $11 million dollars in efficiencies from lower priority spending. 

Making the announcement today in his State of the City speech, Justin Lester said that despite the earthquakes the Council’s books were in good shape. 

“I’m very happy we are going to be able to deliver a much lower rates increase than forecast, despite millions of dollars of unavoidable new costs because of the earthquake,” he said. 

“I’ve made keeping rates affordable a key focus since becoming Mayor. In January I instructed our Chief Executive to target at least $8 million in efficiencies. I want to congratulate our organisation on digging deep and finding over $11 million in efficiencies. 

The Mayor said these had been achieved by re-prioritising and re-phasing capital expenditure, better utilisation of Council office space, building consent processing in-sourcing from Auckland, increases in energy efficiency, and improved procurement processes. 

“In this year’s Annual Plan our council will deliver on a very busy programme of work: major investments like the Film Museum to boost the local economy, building hundreds of new social houses, offering a rates rebate to people building a new home, working towards a solution to our traffic issues, restoring our iconic town hall and providing a major boost for our local arts and culture scene.  

“We are also investing in making Wellington safer through our resilience strategy as our city continues to recover from the earthquakes. 

“To be able to do all of this while still delivering a much lower than forecast rates rise means Wellington is very well placed to succeed. We’re got very low levels of debt and the strongest credit rating of any government entity in the country, including central government, as stated by Standard and Poors.  

“I’m committed that Council will continue to manage our books well while delivering on an agenda that’s helping to make Wellington a more vibrant, exciting place to live.”