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SWDC votes for another big rise

South Wairarapa District Council [SWDC] have voted for one of the biggest rates rises in New Zealand this year.

Yesterday’s SWDC vote to hike rates by 19.8 per cent means total rates for the district have gone up by more than 50 per cent in the past three years [the council unexpectedly increased rates by 29 per cent in 2021].

The vote to pass the annual plan and rates resolution was not unanimous, with three councillors voting against the motion.

Councillor Aidan Ellims said he voted against the increase partly because of the impact on rural ratepayers and partly because more savings had not been found.

“I believe we had a real opportunity to reduce the rates for both rural and urban by approximately 8.5 per cent if we had used the Better Off [central government] funding,” he said.

60 per cent of the submissions received in the consultation process had been in favour of increasing spending on the rural roading reserve, Ellims said.

“We chose not to do that.

“We have not signalled anywhere to our rural ratepayers that they will be getting any increase of service.”

Ellims said the council had previously discussed intergenerational projects like roading and infrastructure.

“We have to take a long-term view to roading and infrastructure; otherwise, our communities can’t thrive,” he said.

Councillor Pip Maynard supported Ellims’ position.

“We have listened to our rural ratepayers, of whom in the Martinborough ward we have a lot,” she said.

“We have genuine concerns with regard to that.”

Maynard said not applying the Better Off funding for the Martinborough wastewater treatment plant and Greytown is of concern. “We are missing out on an opportunity,” she said.

Councillor Aaron Woodcock also voted against the motion.

“I’m not happy where we’ve got to for our ratepayers,” he said.

“I have had many ratepayers tell me that they can’t pay these rates, and they won’t be because they just can’t afford it.”

The total amount of rates collected by SWDC will increase by 19.8 per cent, higher than the LTP forecast of 3.19 per cent.

SWDC have a rates calculator on their website to assist households in estimating their property rates. – NZLDR

Public Interest Journalism funded through NZ On Air


  1. Somewhat ironic that after promising to spend some of the increase on “amenities such as libraries”, whose use has gone up by nearly 30%, the council instead rejected an increase in funding to augment its minimal library staffing levels with a pool of part-time and casual workers, hired only as needed, so that now each of its libraries has had to cut opening hours by between two and 3 full days a week.

  2. The SWDC finances were $4m in arrears as at 31st March 23 ,
    They’ve also owe $8m against 3Waters in loans on 31June 24 .
    On the following day 1July 24 , they owe another $7m in loans against 3 Waters .
    They have $8 m in the bank .
    Question- are they even solvent despite the huge rates increases?

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