2017/2018 Council Rates
Heart of the City continued to raise concerns about the Council’s proposals to pause the reduction in the business rate and to introduce a targeted rate on accommodation providers right up until Council made its final decision on its draft annual plan on 1 June.
The targeted rate was passed by 11 votes to 8 at the Council’s budget meeting. The decision will be formally confirmed by a meeting of the full governing body towards the end of June.
The new accommodation rate is a watered down version of what was originally proposed. The rate is now expected to raise $13.5m, rather than the original $27m, to fund spending by Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development (Ateed) to attract visitors and events. The new money will free up investment for transport projects. Further concessions included excluding backpackers, camping grounds and areas on the fringe of the city.
Heart of the City‘s view has been that while Auckland needs an effective way to fund infrastructure and tourism promotion, a targeted rate on accommodation providers is not the right mechanism. It remains our view that it is an unfair and ill thought out fix that may be difficult to implement, especially at short notice.
The Council also decided to pause the reduction of the business rates differential. Council had previously committed to reducing the rates differential between businesses and residential properties over a period of 20 years because the difference is unjustified. Currently Auckland businesses pay 2.73 times more rates than other rate payers. Heart of the City opposed the proposal to the pause for the reduction for a year.