Council to hit Wellington City with higher rates rise

Families and businesses will be paying higher rates as a result of Wellington City Council’s decision yesterday to again hike rates by double the rate of inflation, according to the Wellington Chamber of Commerce.

"An increase of 3.8 per cent is unfair because there is zero justification for it," says Chief Executive John Milford.

"We will seek feedback from our members on the Council’s commercial rates increase of 3.8 per cent, but right now it’s not clear what additional benefits businesses will get for it.

"Businesses in Wellington already pay one of the highest shares of rates in the country. Rather than fix this, the Council is increasing the rates multiplier that businesses pay next year.

"Businesses are rightly asking why they are being squeezed so hard by the Council when congestion on our roads is getting worse and key infrastructure projects have stalled.

"Last year the Council increased rates by double the rate of inflation and businesses didn’t see much for it. History is just repeating, and in the last year the commercial sector has had to bear earthquake strengthening costs, significantly higher insurance costs, and higher fire levy costs.

"Enormous sums are being poured into projects like the Town Hall restoration, and now the closed library will probably follow suit.

"We must improve our infrastructure, but we can’t keep increasing rates forever. The Council must reconsider recycling of assets to fund new construction.

"I fear there is more to come. The Council needs to rule out now any extra taxes on local businesses such as a bed tax or transport levy.

"The city can’t keep using businesses as cash cows or they’ll go elsewhere. And we’ll lose out on the jobs and vibrancy that makes Wellington so great," says Mr Milford.

Contact: Brent Webling

Phone: 021 821 383