10 Mar 2023

Mayor Phil Mauger is encouraging Christchurch residents to have their say on a budget that aims to keep rates increases down while continuing to invest in the city’s future and deliver the basics.

Christchurch City Council’s Draft Annual Plan 2023/24 has opened for public feedback. It proposes what the Council will spend on projects and day-to-day services over the next financial year and how it will pay for them – and foremost among the proposals are some changes to how the Council charges its rates.

“Keeping the proposed rates increase below inflation, and well below the potential 14.6% increase we were faced with late last year, has taken a lot of clever thinking by councillors and staff, and I’m pleased with what we’re proposing this year,” Mayor Mauger says.

The Draft Annual Plan proposes an average overall rates increase of 5.68%, and an average increase for households of 5.79%.

“Given the choppy economic waters that Christchurch, New Zealand and the world is going through at the moment, our focus this year has been on keeping costs as low as possible for households,” Mayor Mauger says.

“We want to give everyone the opportunity to tell us if we’ve got it right before we make any big decisions. We’ll be out there talking with individuals, businesses and community groups, and councillors will take in every bit of feedback before we commit to anything.”

The easiest way to make a submission is via ccc.govt.nz/HaveYourSay

The main areas the Council is seeking feedback on include:

  • A recommended change to the Excess Water Supply Targeted Rate that would see the average daily allowance increase from 700 to 900 litres for residential properties. This accounts for 0.10% of the rates increase but would only take effect from 1 July 2023.
  • With residential property increasing in value in the recent triennial revaluation, the Council is asking whether it should lower the Uniform Annual General Charge (UAGC) from its current rate of $145 to $50, to help reduce the impact of rates increases for some lower income households. At the moment, the general rate is split between a fixed component – the UAGC – with the remainder based on capital value. If the Council lowers the UAGC, this $17 million shortfall would be spread across all ratepayers based on capital value.
  • With the value of business properties not increasing at the same rates as residential properties, the Council is proposing a change to the differential on business properties designed to maintain the contribution that business properties make to general rates.
  • Operational spend (spending on everyday services) of $585.2 million. That is $48.4 million more than what was in the Long Term Plan 2021–31 (LTP), mainly due to increasing costs outside our control like inflation, insurance and electricity price increases. To help compensate for this, the Council is bringing in a range of one-off savings, including leaving some staff vacancies unfilled for 2023/24 and revisiting some of the cost-saving measures first considered when developing the LTP.
  • Capital spend (spending on the construction of facilities and infrastructure) of $615.8 million. This is $136 million less than what was in the LTP. The Council is keeping its programme of capital works focused on what’s actually achievable in the current environment. There’s no need to charge the ratepayer this year for projects that aren’t realistically able to be delivered until future years.

Learn more about the Draft Annual Plan 2023/24. Consultation closes at midnight on Monday 10 April, and councillors will meet to consider the feedback and approve the final budget in June.