HBRC Councillors

HBRC on Wednesday approved a new apportionment of its rates structure. The overall effect is to tilt more of the Council’s rate burden – whatever that is at any point in time – to HB’s urban ratepayers. 

This was not a decision regarding the Council’s overall rate take or funding priorities and service levels – the size of the HBRC budget going forward.

As several Councillors noted during the debate, those decisions will be made through the upcoming Long Term Plan process, and will be subject to comprehensive public consultation.

The most controversial aspect of the ‘pie re-slicing’ was a proposed shift to basing ratings on capital value (land plus improvements), as opposed to the present basis of land value only.

The shift to capital value-based rates was adopted by a 7-4 vote. Councillors in favour of the shift to capital value-based rates were: Ormsby, Kirton, Williams, Siers, Mackintosh, Roadley and Hokianga. Opposed were: Foley, van Beek, Harding and Lambert.

Those supporting the shift essentially believe that more extensive capital improvements on the land (be those homes, manufacturing facilities, or orchards) are likely to be associated with greater environmental footprints (and mitigating those is the HBRC’s core business) and are also generally reflective of greater ability to pay rates for that purpose.

That’s a fair call from my perspective. As is the overall shift of weighting to residential ratepayers.

This HBRC table summarises the projected impact of ratings based on the two approaches.

Considerable comment was made by Councillors about the consultation process for this ratings review, which addressed a very complex matter – its submission results, its sufficiency and the weight to be given to it.

Some focused on the numbers, a low response, with most opposed to the shift to capital value-based rates. Others took the view that it was their job as representatives to consider the issues as deeply as possible, in the broad interest of the region, and exercise their best judgment … numbers notwithstanding.

That’s a tough call for any Councillor as an elected representative – numbers or judgment? But there’s a reason why, even in a democracy, we don’t make most of our public decisions by referendum.

What’s your view on this? Do you want your elected Councillor to follow the numbers (the public voice) or their (possibly better) informed judgment? What should they do when these conflict?!

And wherever you stand on this, how can our public consultation processes be conducted so as to be of greatest value to the decision-making process, including engendering trust in the outcomes?

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8 Comments

  1. I’m very happy with a capital based approach. I’ve got a house in town so will no doubt pay more.

  2. My regional council rates have gone from $800 a few years ago to $3500. I get nothing for that extra spending, I never see or hear from anyone in HBRC. Why do we have regional councils? Lets axe them and the people that actually do something can go across to local councils. NZ can not afford this level of waste and the doubling up of services. I have always thought of Regional councils as corrupted.

  3. I am in 2 zones Jervoistown zone that greatly restricts subdivision and construction but Residencial zone for normal rates which costs more but still restricted to Jervoistown rules with less than half the services of other people

    HBRC changing to capital value for greater return
    NCC putting into 2 zones with restrictions

    1 property 3 zones which is obviously a money grab seems the ratepayers don’t really register in the equation except as cash cows

    You cannot have much trust /faith when councils are obviously zoning for the highest return with no regard for people that are already struggling from a cyclone

  4. Why am I not surprised they made this call…..and it almost feels like Tom is still on the board….

    Quote: “will be subject to comprehensive public consultation” I suppose that will be during the long Easter weekend? Worked well for them with the recent consultation during the Christmas/Holiday break….but what does it matter anyway….results (if they are not what council likes) will be ignored.

    Sorry sage, with once again the consequence that the already long suffering rate-payers (incl pensioners like me) get milked a bit more…till the tit runs dry ofcourse.

  5. I have to challenge that ” mitigating environmental footprint” is HBRC’s core purpose. Surely it is providing services? Your comment about “greater ability to pay” is essentially that a wealth tax is ok, whereas “user pays” is a much less wasteful method eg install water meters.

  6. Councilors are elected to represent. They are not conscious voters. End of. Do I trust them? Not on your life.

  7. so… it’s okay to give forestry a free pass (with around 70% reduction in rates) and put this onto home-owners in town? evidently Tom, you as well as HBRC haven’t been to the beach lately. talk about ignore the problem and encourage it at the same time! if that’s “mitigation” give me open slather. (and that goes for the big water-users like dairy and horticulture, too. or is water not a problem any more?)

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