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Rates relief is unlikely says review

A council review is offering little relief to the ratepayers of the Wairarapa district that levies some of the highest rates in New Zealand.

A Carterton District Council [CDC] meeting heard last week that its urban rates will probably still be among the highest in the country, even after a recent rating review.

At an average residential rate of $3938 annually, Carterton ratepayers pay the highest rates in the country, according to a Taxpayers’ Union report for 2023.

The council approved several changes to the district’s rates structure following the CDC review, but councillors acknowledged it will probably mean little change for urban residents.

CDC recently consulted the community on the review, with final decisions made last week.

Councillor Steve Cretney said he was worried about how these decisions will impact urban ratepayers.

“That concerns me considerably.”

Deputy Mayor Dale Williams noted that, through all the processes, they didn’t make any changes that will make a difference to the high urban rate.

“So, we started with a problem, and we’re ending with almost the same problem. The challenge going forward is to come at it from a different angle,” he said.

“To make change takes courage.”

The Taxpayers’ Union Ratepayers’ 2023 report confirmed Carterton currently has New Zealand’s highest residential rates.

“Rates continue to rise, with the average residential rate for district and city councils nationwide now $2,781 – $171 more than just last year,” it said.

Carterton District Council ranks highest for residential rates at $3938.91, with Manawatū District Council a close second at $3713.23, according to the report.

The lowest average residential rate comes from Buller District Council at $2155.98.

Taxpayers’ Union national campaigns manager Callum Purves said Carterton and South Wairarapa are both in the top five highest paying districts for rates.

“The Wairarapa has always been one of the most rates-burdened regions of New Zealand, and our analysis shows that things are no different this year.

“While Masterton district compares well against the rest of the country, residential rates in both Carterton and South Wairarapa are some of the highest out of any district, coming 1st and 4th for least-affordable rates against other district councils,” Purves said.

CDC adopted the updated revenue and financing policy with the rating review recommendations.

Recommendations included a new targeted economic development rate for the commercial/industrial sector and reducing the general rate differential from 2.0 to 1.8 for the commercial/industrial sector.

Funding sources would be changed from a uniform annual general charge to general rates for community amenities, community development, economic development, emergency management, and parks and reserves.

The council agreed further work will be done by management on other options for the future that could address the urban rates question.


Public Interest Journalism funded through NZ On Air


  1. One of the highest rates in the country 👏 and your unable to find a way to reduce them sad 😔. The last government made heaps more regulations that councils must implement. I hope 🙏 the new government changes them and stop this environmental, greens and labour’s nanny state regulations. Or reduce your staffing and expenses or combine all three councils to one wairarapa council 🤔 must save some money 💰.

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