Bills

Rates bills deliver shocks to Porirua residents

JARED NICOLL

The hilltop suburb of Camborne, overlooking Pauatahanui Inlet, has had the highest average rates increase in Porirua with 10.2 per cent.

Porirua residents have been shocked by increases of up to 17 per cent on some rates bills.

About 3500 ratepayers will be seeing increases of more than 10 per cent – against an average residential increase of 6.4 per cent – this year as the result of an average upswing in property revaluations of 24 per cent.

The council set the rates in accordance with the majority of public feedback, which was not in favour of pulling more from the rural and commercial sectors, whose property revaluations were more subdued, to subsidise residential ratepayers with big increases.

One resident in Camborne – the suburb with the highest expected average rating increase at 10.2 per cent – felt anxious just walking to the mail box after the city council sent out the first round of bills earlier this month.

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The suburb had the highest average property value growth in the city, at almost 30 per cent.

Amy, who did not wish to share her surname, thought it was tough for the council to “penalise” families such as hers, which was hit with a 12 per cent increase.

“We’re on one income and it’s just making it difficult to be in this area.

“You try to live in a reasonable area and have a reasonable life, and you just get penalised for it.”

And though her home’s value had gone up, it needed expensive work, and the family had no intention of selling anyway.

She did not believe the suburb she has called home for 14 years got value for money, pointing to ongoing roading and flooding issues.

Whitby homeowner and soldier Adam Calver bought his home with his wife and daughter in 2015. The value has jumped 42 per cent from $320,000 to $455,000, and his rates bill has risen 16 per cent, or about $500 a year.

“When your rates increases are that high above inflation, it just doesn’t fit.”

Whitby pensioner Janice King, 73, said her her bill climbed 17 per cent – about $500 extra a year – which would be tough to find on a fixed income.

“I’m not the type of person who complains too much, but it was such a shock.”

She qualifies for a $620 rates rebate because she earns less than $24,790.

While some places, such as Camborne and Whitby, topped the figures, other suburbs such as Aotea had much lower increases, resulting in an average rates rise of 4.6 per cent.

Porirua Mayor Mike Tana said the council had a set amount it needed to earn from ratepayers, and it worked out how much each ratepayer had to pay based on property values.

While he felt for those facing steep increases, the council set the rates in accordance with the majority of public feedback.

It had “stuck to its knitting”, splitting the bill using the fairest process.


 – Stuff

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