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Hopeful mayors rate the increase

PHOTO/STOCK.ADOBE.COM

Local Democracy Reporter EMILY IRELAND asks mayoral candidates whether they think this year’s rates rise was fair and why.

MASTERTON

Craig Bowyer

No.

It was above the long-term plan projection, therefore consideration as to the strain on to all people, ratepayers, renters, fixed income families, needed to be robustly discussed by councillors.

Simply saying its due to inflation is an excuse to hide internal business management practices that need reviewing.

Gary Caffell

Yes.

Rates rise of 6.8 per cent was pared back to what the council saw as the absolute minimum so was fair in that respect but it should have been subjected to public consultation before it was adopted to allow ratepayers the chance to comment on what services could be reduced or projects canned.

Jo Hayes

Not sure.

Depends on what the increase is going to be used for. Unfortunately, rates rises will occur, the issue is how often it will happen over a three-year term and how much engagement has occurred between council and its ratepayers, concerning a rates increase.

Bill Izard

No.

Council income is spent too fast among themselves before any money can be saved for projects for the community

Tina Nixon

Yes.

We did our best and despite strong inflation we managed to keep below the CPI. But it’s not sustainable. Next year we’ll face double figures or have to reduce some services, which is why I’m advocating for fairer central government funding as the only way to reduce the rates burden.

Masterton mayoral candidate Hakepa did not respond.

CARTERTON

Greg Lang

Yes.

Elected members and council staff put significant effort into reviewing all budgets, and cutting costs where we could to keep our rates increase as low as possible, while still delivering all our services, and the planned capital programme. This average rates increase is the lowest of the nine councils in the Wellington region.

Ron Mark

No.

The Carterton community clearly doesn’t think they get value for money as evidenced by low ratings in the council’s own satisfaction survey and the mayor admitting in the annual plan that the increase in rates will cause hardship and financial strain to some households.

SOUTH WAIRARAPA

Alex Beijen

No.

Fundamentally no rates rise is fair. However, given the appalling lack of rates increases over 10-plus years, a major adjustment was needed to correct underrating to deliver demands from residents and Government.

Something previous councils refused to address or accept.

Martin Connelly

No.

Residents in South Wairarapa recall last year’s rates fiasco, when a promised 14 per cent increase became closer to a 28 per cent increase.

The cumulative effect over two years means many people now pay 40 per cent more in rates that they were two years ago.

Absolutely not fair, nor competent.

Daphne Geisler

Not sure.

We know that some members of our community will have difficulty paying this year’s increase on top of the 29 per cent last year and others will question if they get value for money.

Better community engagement and involvement along with strategies for those having difficulties could address the perception of unfairness

Brenda West

No.

Considering the previous LTP miscommunication and how council advised on what they “could” do, to reduce the financial burden what substantial savings have occurred?

Ratepayer money is a precious commodity and not a bottomless pit, when you respect this you respect those that give it. – NZLDR

  • Public Interest Journalism funded through NZ On Air

Emily Ireland
Emily Ireland
Emily Ireland is Wairarapa’s Local Democracy Reporter, a Public Interest Journalism role funded through NZ On Air. Emily has worked at the Wairarapa Times-Age for seven years and has a keen interest in council decision-making and transparency.

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