MIL OSI – Source: Taxpayers Union – Release/Statement
Headline: Rates bill in Hamilton City Northern Waikato’s cheapest
Hamilton City Council’s average residential rates bill of $2,035 is the lowest in Northern Waikato, according to Ratepayers’ Report, the Taxpayers’ Union’s local government league tables, launched today at www.ratepayersreport.nz. Nationwide, only three city or metropolitan councils charge a lower average residential rates bill.Jordan Williams, Executive Director of the Taxpayers’ Union, says, “With a six-hundred-dollar difference in the average rates bill, ratepayers’ in Hamilton City must be thankful that they do not fall under the surrounding Waikato District Council’s catchment.”“Waikato District ratepayers’ pull the short straw, burdened by the highest average residential rates within the North Waikato region. Waikato District Council pays proportionally more staff a salary of over $100,000 than any council in the region, has the highest ratio of staff to ratepayers in North Waikato, and has the second highest staff costs of any council in New Zealand.”Thames-Coromandel District Council’s below average assets per residential ratepayer of $57,963, is accompanied by the least liabilities per ratepayer in North Waikato (currently $3,253).“Thames-Coromandel District Council has a lower staff to ratepayer ratio than its neighbours. That means it offers greater value for money with the lowest operating expenses and staff costs per ratepayer in the North Waikato region.”“Neighbouring Hauraki District and Matamata-Piako District ratepayers’ must be questioning why their Councils do not appear to be as well-oiled as Thames-Coromandel District.”“Hauraki District Council has debts of $10,294 per ratepayer – more than triple those of Thames-Coromandel District. Matamata-Piako District Council’s staff costs are also comparatively high, well over double that of the Thames-Coromandel District’s.”Ratepayers’ Report is available online and free of charge so all North Waikato ratepayers can judge for themselves the performance of their local town hall.”Ratepayers’ Report available at www.ratepayersreport.nzNote: All references to rates in the above comments, refer to residential rates.Other findings related to North Waikato:
Hamilton City Council charges the lowest average residential rates in Northern Waikato, at $2,035. Waikato District Council charges the highest average residential rates in the region, at $2,651.
Thames-Coromandel District Council has the lowest operating expenses ($3,253) and personnel (staff) costs ($664) per ratepayer, in Northern Waikato.
Matamata-Piako District Council pays proportionally less staff salaries over $100,000 than any other council in the region, with only 5.88% of staff receiving such salaries.
Hauraki District Council has the most liabilities per ratepayer of all councils in Northern Waikato, at $10,294.
Councils considered for this comparison are Thames-Coromandel District Council, Hauraki District Council, Matamata-Piako District Council, Waikato District Council, and Hamilton City Council.
Q & A
What is Ratepayers’ Report?Ratepayers’ Report is interactive local government league tables covering financial position, performance, and governance information for all of New Zealand’s territorial authorities (excluding the Chatham Islands). What is the purpose of Ratepayers’ Report?Ratepayers’ Report provides accountability and transparency to New Zealand ratepayers by allowing anyone to compare their local territorial authority with others around the country. Where was the data sourced?The New Zealand Taxpayers’ Union working with its sister group, the Auckland Ratepayers’ Alliance, compiled the data in Ratepayers’ Report after reviewing each council’s annual report for the year ending June 30, 2016.Other figures represent the most up to date figures available and were mostly obtained under the Local Government Official Information and Meetings Act.The data has been sent to each individual authority for their review and error checking prior to public launch.Population data is from Statistics New Zealand. Where did the group finance figures come from?They are taken from each Council’s annual report. They include council figures, plus any subsidiary council controlled organisations. Which councils are assessed in Ratepayers’ Report?Of New Zealand’s 67 territorial authorities, 66 are examined in Ratepayers’ Report. That includes all city, district, and unitary councils, with the exclusion of Chatham Islands Territory Council (due to concerns surrounding that Council’s workload pressure and unique position). In future iterations of Ratepayers’ Report, we plan to incorporate regional councils into the analysis. Is this the first Ratepayers’ Report?No. Ratepayers’ Report was first published in 2014 jointly by the Taxpayers’ Union and Fairfax Media. How are the councils (territorial authorities) grouped?
Unitary authorities – the 5 territorial authorities which also carry out the functions of a regional authority are grouped.
Metropolitan – the 5 large councils with a population of over 120,000.
City – 6 smaller metropolitan councils with populations between 40,000 and 120,000.
Provincial – the largest group, 27 non-metropolitan councils with a population over 20,000.
Rural – 23 councils with populations less than 20,000.
How was the average residential rate calculated?Calculating an ‘apples to apples’ figure for residential rates is difficult because councils use various mixes of rates, levies, and user charges. Our approach is based on work by Napier City Council to find an average residential rate. The methodology councils were asked to use to calculate the figures disclosed in Ratepayers’ Report is available here, www.taxpayers.org.nz/rp_methodology. While we think this approach is useful and fair, the average residential rates figure should be a guide only. It does not, for example, factor in councils’ reliance on commercial rates. It also puts unitary authorities at a disadvantage. Unitary authorities (Auckland Council, Nelson City Council, Gisborne, Tasman, and Marlborough District Councils, and the Chatham Islands Council) perform the functions of a regional council and therefore can be expected to have higher rates than other territorial authorities. Were councils consulted in the process?Yes. Every council was sent a draft version of their respective page to review.ENDS