Labour Candidates Commit To Rates Review

Palmerston North’s Labour councilor candidates are calling for a review of the rating system to make it better reflect residents’ ability to pay.

As the new rates bills hit mailboxes in the city this month, many ratepayers will be faced with significant increases.  This is as a result of a 3.9% hike in rates this year and a redistribution of the rates take based on changing land values.

“We are committed to a review of the way rates are collected,” said Lorna Johnson.

“There are several ways the rating system could be changed to make it better reflect residents’ ability to pay. For example, fixed components such as the uniform annual charge have a higher impact on people with lower incomes.

“In the 2016-2017 rating year, the uniform annual general charge, paid by all property owners in Palmerston North irrespective of the value of the land, will be $610 per household. The total fixed component including water, waste-water and other fixed charges is $1313 per property. That is the equivalent of 55% of the $2382 rates that the average residential owner will pay in the city.

“In comparison, in Auckland ratepayers will only pay $394 as their uniform annual general charge. Palmerston North City Council offers rates rebates for those with an income below $24,470.

“If elected to council, we will work with other councilors to set up a review that ratepayers can be part of. We need to make our rating system as fair as possible,” said Lorna Johnson.