27 Jun 2023

Councillors have approved a $1.54 billion budget for Christchurch City Council for the coming year, with an average rates increase of 6.41%.

The rates increase for the average residential ratepayer will be 6.60%, or an extra $4.01 a week. Business properties will see an average 5.71% increase and rural properties an average 0.48% decrease.

Adopted this afternoon, the Council’s Annual Plan 2023/24 includes $605.8 million for the day-to-day costs of running the city, $190.7 million for debt servicing and repayment, and $746.4 million for its capital programme, based on what can realistically be delivered in light of the current economic challenges.

“Late last year, we were looking at an increase of 14.6%,” says Mayor Phil Mauger.

“All of us, elected members and staff alike, are very aware of the importance of reducing the burden Council’s rates place on households given the increasing cost of living, especially for those on low and fixed incomes. Through this whole process, we’ve been absolutely committed to keeping rates increases below inflation, which is 6.7%.

“It’s meant months of hard work and tough conversations, but this created opportunities for us to reduce the burden our rates will have on people’s wallets this year, and we took them.

“We’ve done this while balancing our own cost increases – namely from inflation, insurance and interest rates, but with some other unexpected factors thrown in at various points. The economic landscape has been shifting a fair bit, and will continue to, but we’ve locked in a rates increase that compares favourably with what you’ll see in other cities around New Zealand.

“We listened to some really clear and passionate feedback from the community, and we’ve acted on it. People want us to keep rates down, improve our basic infrastructure and maintain our community services. They also have a strong desire to protect our waterways and water supplies, clean up our environment and reduce our emissions.

“They also told us to lift our game and deliver on these expectations. That’s what we’ve tried to achieve here – delivering what Christchurch and Banks Peninsula expect, without putting anyone under more strain than they already are.

“The really meaty conversations will start later this year when we dive into the Long Term Plan 2024–34, which will set out our priorities and spending for the next decade.”

Read the full report. Some of the big decisions councillors arrived at include:

  • Increasing the Excess Water Supply Targeted Rate average daily allowance from 700 litres to 900 litres for residential properties.
  • Leaving the Uniform Annual General Charge at $153.
  • Changing the differential on business properties to 2.22. The value of business properties did not increase at the same rate as residential properties in the last revaluation, and this change will maintain the contribution that business properties make to general rates.
  • An extra $36 million investment in the transport network, in part reflecting residents’ views on the need for ongoing focus on roading and enabling travel choice.
  • Allocating $2 million to a roving footpath maintenance crew, to give effect to the Mayor and councillors’ desire to enhance service in this area.

Other changes for the coming year include:

  • Agreeing to start construction on the Wheels to Wings cycleway as soon as staff and local councillors have completed further work with the affected communities to address previously identified concerns as part of the detailed design process.
  • Using additional one-off revenue receipts, plus $0.5 million from the Capital Endowment Fund, to offset rates.
  • Minor fee increases for some groups using the Council’s community facilities.
  • Penalties on unpaid rates and excess water invoices will increase from 7% to 10% in line with interest rates.