We need to have open, transparent and honest conversations about rates. 

Not just in Napier but all over the country. Rates are currently being set for the year. In a tight fiscal climate with rising costs across the board, this means heated discussions and tough decisions around what we can and can’t do in our communities.

There are a number of levers we can use to set rates. Each of them has effects and impacts as we slide the weighting up and down. 

For example, one of the levers is Levels of Service. The higher the level of service, the more cost involved. Weekly curb side rubbish collection for example, instead of monthly, is a higher level of service. Another lever is time. To keep costs down in the year ahead we can push projects further out into the future. They will still happen – and we will still need to invest in them – just not now. Other levers are things like whether we make facilities user-pays and how much we borrow, money we can use now but will have to pay back over time.

In Napier, when we started looking at the year ahead – to do everything in the plan, in the time suggested, to our community’s expected levels of service, with the resources we have – we were facing a 43% rise. That’s unacceptable. We had to adjust the levers. 

By increasing user-pays fees and charges, paying for some costs with loans, and moving some costs to future years we’ve got to a place where we are looking at a percentage increase in the low 20s, with 2% specifically for improving resilience. The proposed increase doesn’t include funding any new activities.

Costs across the board have been pushed up and up. This affects us, our community, and the investment we can put back into our neighbourhoods. There is also an argument that says we haven’t kept annual rates rises high enough; that they should have gone up more than they did every year. We have some ground to cover to make up the difference. We have to keep investing in our neighbourhoods so our kids don’t inherit a similar problem. 

We need to keep up with infrastructure repairs and renewals. We need to upgrade and replace playgrounds. We need to make sure our existing public places and green spaces are well cared for. We need to maintain our 48 public toilets, our 27 playgrounds, our six cemeteries, our libraries, our theatres, our pools and our sportsgrounds. 

Of your weekly investment in your neighbourhood, your city and your district – which equates to an average of $70 per week – about $8 a week pays for roads and footpaths and $8 pays for flushing toilets and the wastewater network. Another $6 pays for drinking water and $10 pays for libraries, sports grounds, cemeteries, theatres and museums. For an investment of $1.25 per week per household we get public toilets.

Alongside asking residents to increase their annual investment, we are looking at how some of our facilities can become financially self-sufficient. We are particularly focused on the ones with high tourism interest. And we’re considering too how to make sure the money in our care is making money itself through savvy financial investments. 

The most important thing you can do is give us your thoughts through our submissions process. As much as we can make tweaks and adjustments, we need your views on what’s important, what our future needs, what our levels of service should be. Social media is a tempting place to share opinions but only submissions can make a difference.


Join the Conversation


  1. In what world is a 20% rate rise acceptable let alone 43%… I didn’t notice my pay packet increase by that amount, honestly, it never has. How are we supposed to keep up with these constant increases? Do we stop eating to pay the rates? Maybe, live in darkness? It’s ridiculous and unsustainable!

  2. I live in Hetlet crescent and next to number 43 is a lovely park and a zigzag walk which I use most days.At the foot of this walk way your people have replaced a log wood fence.Why? I cannot see the benefits of this fence and so probably a complete waste of money.YOu are going to build a drainage system at this place which has been wanting so well done.

  3. If NCC honestly believed they could “stick to their Ten Year Plan, which would have meant burdening us iratepayers with a totally Unaffordable 43% rates increase!! Proves they must be ALL away with the fairies! Me thinks it’s clearly a softening up exercise, look how good we are to you! We’ve now reduced it to an Unaffordable 20% +++ yeh right!
    Happy days

  4. Rates have consistently risen above inflation for years. This is unsustainable. Our incomes have not risen at the same rate as rates. Now in a time of 5% inflation you think it’s ok to raise rates by 4 times that amount? If we ran our personal expenses like the council we would all be bankrupt, which is where a lot of people are heading with the greedy demands of businesses and tax collectors.

  5. What happened to budgeting and keeping to it. We have to do it so do you. Scrap ALL unnecessary projects which is nice to have but a luxury. Get rid of ALL consultants or contractors and employ local people at a fair rate. We are not going to stand for ever increasing rates. And if you can’t do it, move on so that those who are more savvy can do it

  6. Is this part of the 20% Plus rate hike? The proposed new library building plan, wow it looks lovely, a great tourist attraction?
    New buildings which serve the people of Napier and surrounding areas, should be built, such as the library, in a place more central to the community, perhaps Onekawa pools area. Building this in the city comes with parking problems in an already congested area. Forward thinking of the money spent, the value of what is housed in it, the location, and the risk of Tsunami wiping it out, should now always be factored in. We have to start planning Napier in a Council monetary survival mode, no government is going to front up with the extra cash to replace the same in the same location, hence the yearly insurance increases will be extreme for the rate payers of Napier. Napier is a tourist attraction, but I think it is unfair rate payers pay for the “Wow factor”, with ongoing rising costs associated with each new council owned build, Homeowners and renters are already having to pay huge increases due to insurance costs. One library for Napier is all we need, in a safer place than planned, our Rates money, but it Rates low in well spent money planning.

  7. How about giving a rubbish dump voucher like 2 /3 per yr to households ,may lessen the roadside dumping

  8. Is it time to talk about amalgamation again? We have multiple councils working independently of each other. Surely cost savings and efficiencies could be had if we reduced the duplication.

    1. You’re right! With the Hawkes Bay Regional Council, NCC, Hastings DC, Central HBDC, and ALL the duplication of staff, mayors and endless councilors……..
      Hawkes Bay is by far the most over “governed Province” in New Zealand.
      Overdue time to roll um ALL into one.

  9. Rate increases should be capped by government. There should be minimal increments, none some years. Who gets a 45% wage increase? The rate rebate should be more accessible to combat costs.
    This cost is forcing me to rethink home ownership. I’m close to selling up and couch surfing.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *