Queenstown and Arrowtown rates higher than flagged

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Queenstown Lakes District Council has approved a rates hike higher than first flagged. 

Ratepayers across the Wakatipu-Wanaka region will be saddled with an average increase of 9.1 per cent – among the highest in New Zealand. 

This compares with the 8.5 per cent increase in QLDC’s 10-year plan, and a 6 per cent hike last council year. 

“Indicative rates [increases] shown in the draft annual plan were slightly understated for most property types,” QLDC finance boss Stewart Burns (pictured) says in a report tabled at today’s full QLDC meeting. 

Most residential property owners will pay between $3.18 and $23.75 per year more than first signalled, he admits. 

The exception is Arrowtown, where rates will jump an average of $48 a year more than flagged. 

Burns gives three reasons for the unanticipated hikes: 

  • A forecast 3.2 per cent capital-value increase was over-optimistic, he admits, with an actual district-wide capital increase of only 1.8 per cent – meaning rates must be adjusted upwards so QLDC can collect its total budgeted dollars 

  • About $60 million of capital value has been wiped off parcels of land at Jack’s Point and Remarkables Park, Burns says – so other ratepayers have to compensate for this QLDC revenue loss as well 
  • And the council over-estimated growth in the number of rateable properties – though Burns doesn’t say by how much – meaning fewer rateable properties must now be stung more dollars to take up the slack from this forecasting glitch.