Principles and objectives of the Council's rating policy

Rating principles

  • There will be one comprehensive rating system for the whole of Wellington city that allows consistent application across the entire city.
  • The rating burden on the different sectors needs to be reasonable in terms of its impact on the viability and vitality of Wellington’s business community.
  • For services with clearly identifiable private benefits a direct user charge may be more appropriate, as it causes the user to focus on cost and the need for conservation. However, this approach is to be tempered with an assessment of affordability, practicability and the Council’s other policies.
  • The rating system will have wide general application and will be set from a global perspective.
  • The impact of the process of change, due to revised assessment of incidence of costs and benefits received, as well as changes in the assessment of ability to pay and other Council policies, will not fall disproportionately on any one section of ratepayers. While it is recognised that anomalies will exist it is not appropriate to focus on any special 'individual' cases.
  • Rates paid should to some extent reflect the benefits received. However, it is recognised that the issue of benefit distribution analysis is a complex and inexact process.
  • The rating burden should be distributed amongst ratepayers based on capital value of property and through the use of targeted rates. Any differential, where appropriate, will be based on property use, the incidence of costs and benefit of service. It should take into account 'ability to pay' practicalities and the Council's other policies, but recognise that the level of rating also depends on the degree of use of alternative sources of income such as user charges.

Policy objectives

The Council's rating policy is guided by the following objectives:

  • to provide the Council with adequate income to carry out its mission and objectives
  • to support the Council's achievement of its strategic objectives
  • to be simply administered, easily understood, allow for consistent application and generate minimal compliance costs
  • to spread the incidence of rates as equitably as possible, by balancing the level of service provided by the Council with ability to pay and the incidence of costs in relation to benefits received
  • to be neutral in that it does not encourage people to redirect activity in order to avoid its impact
  • to reflect the decisions of the Funding Policy and rating reviews