Wednesday, 11 June 2014

And the country’s most indebted council is …


Some councils save for a rainy day. And others are already heavily indebted when rain arrives.

So it’s no wonder that the third-most indebted council in the country, with a debt three times the NZ average, is Christchurch, already irresponsibly over-spending when natural disaster arrived, and now struggling to pay for the infrastructure repairs a more responsible might have afforded better.

The great new survey released by the Taxpayers’ Union does a great job showing the under-performance and over-spending of councils across the country, revealing however that precious few deserve the epithet “responsible.”

All of Canterbury is sick. Christchurch City Council spends $3901 per ratepayer - well ahead of the national average of $3175 – and simply borrows the rest. Yett

the Ratepayers' Report shows the Waimakariri District Council has the highest average residential rates in Canterbury. Waimakariri ratepayers pay an average of $2130 a year in rates, while in Christchurch City the average rates are $1706 a year.
    The Selwyn District has the second-highest operating expenditure per ratepayer and the second highest liabilities per ratepayer.

Second-most indebted is Dunedin, owing $15,093 each to pay for that glorious stadium that will get its one international game per year this weekend. As you watch the test match this weekend, think about what Dunedin ratepayers are enduring so you watch the All Backs dismantle England under cover of a roof.

Mind you, if Canterbury has a disaster to pay for, and Dunedin a white elephant, long-suffering Auckland ratepayers only have the unnatural disaster of Len Brown to pay for (and keep paying).

With a debt of $15,858 per ratepayer, 518,784 ratepayers on the hook, the grand prize for most indebted council in the country (per ratepayer) and a mayor intent on monument-building rather than debt-reduction, Auckland ratepayers will be receiving no respite for years to come.

Our future is a city permanently in debt.

It makes an Auckland ratepayer long for Central Otago.

READ: Taxpayers’ Union’s Ratepayers’ Report


  1. I blame Maurice Williamson (wasn't it) who first "reformed" (really deformed) NZ counciils, moving from ratepayer franchise to a universal franchise that really did the damage - and they Rodney Hide, who had the chance to change Auckland back to a sensible model but stayed with a universal franchise - with results I predicted at the time.

    I think Jamie Whyte said something sensible recently about this: getting rid of councils, get back to small city corporations that are private companies accountable to the market, significant ratepayers and corporations - and not any Tom, Dick, or Harriet who is dumb enough to send in their postal vote to an undemocratic STV or MMP "election".


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