15 Jul 2015

Aucklanders can check new rates online

8:37 am on 15 July 2015

There is nothing Auckland Council can do about huge increases in property values that have contributed to rates rises in some cases of up to 40 percent, mayor Len Brown says.

Auckland housing, pictured from Mt Eden.

Photo: RNZ / Diego Opatowski

From today, Aucklanders can find out their rates bill on an database on the council's website.

Access Auckland Council's online rates database here.

About 9000 properties will have an increase of at least $1000 a year, with an average rates rise of 9.9 percent.

But nearly 80 percent of Aucklanders face a rates rise of less than $500, and about 51,000 homes will see their rates drop.

Len Brown at the Auckland Council meeting on Thursday 25 June.

Len Brown (file) Photo: RNZ / Kim Baker Wilson

Mr Brown told Morning Report people whose home had a higher asset value would find that reflected in their rates bill.

"One of the real flaws in our rating system is that ... there is nothing that we can do about those who have extraordinarily high revaluations; that over the three-year period, their increase in house value, in fact their asset value, may have increased by 50, 60, 70, even 80 or 90 percent."

An Auckland ratepayer lobby group said council should cut waste and reduce staff numbers to bring rates down.

Auckland Ratepayers Alliance spokesperson Jo Holmes said some people have had their rates go "through the roof".

"We've had a case in Point Chev of a resident getting an increase of $1700, so it's very uneven throughout the city," she said.

Ms Holmes said staff numbers and salaries were "massively inflated".

"They're duplicating services that government is providing, we could stop doing that right now," said Ms Holmes, with a saving of "millions" of dollars.

Auckland Council released the individual rates changes in its database which went live on its website at midnight on Tuesday.

The council expected a large amount of traffic on the website, and said it might take a few days before everyone could gain access.

The biggest factors in the changes are revaluations, the end of transitional capping arrangements and the increase in the council's budget, including the transport levy.

The council said people who could not afford their rates should apply to the council for help. The number of people asking for assistance has dropped, and only 22 got a rates postponement last year.

The head of Grey Power for Counties Manukau, John Ballantyne, said many elderly people assumed they would not be eligible for help. He said many were thinking of moving out of Auckland.

New rates notices will be sent out next month.

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