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Wednesday, 11 June 2014

Amalgamation: the Ratepayers Report

Upper Hutt City Council's chamber building.
The Taxpayer's Union and Fairfax have produced the Ratepayers Report on the financial positions of New Zealand's territorial councils. They've looked at a lot of metrics, the most interesting to those who own a house being the average annual rates bill. For Upper Hutt it's $1,733, one of the lowest in the country, and for Hutt City it's $2,006.

As The Dominion Post reports that both Upper and Lower Hutt have low levels of debt compared to the rest of the region. The Taxpayer's Union's spokesman Jordan Williams comments:

"We cannot find a correlation between bigger is better or the converse," he said.
"So if cheaper rates is [driving the push for amalgamation], at least from a residential perspective, you may be better to stick with what you've got."
It's my personal view that the status quo works very well for the Hutt Valley - but ultimately the decision on amalgamation is to be by the wider community through a referendum.