Rates rise down to 7.9% thanks to new properties

Published on 11 July 2023

Aerial view of Whanganui facing Aramoho

Whanganui District Council’s average rates rise for 2023/24 has been reduced further thanks to significant growth in the number of new properties in the district.

The council’s chief financial officer, Mike Fermor, says elected members started with an initial figure of 11.3% in January and, with a number of cuts and deferrals for non-essential projects, managed to reduce it down to 8.3% by June – but in the final calculation the average rates rise came out lower at 7.9%. The increase equates to an extra $5 per week for the average household.

“The reason for getting down to 7.9% is we have more new properties in our district – this means there’s more people to pitch in on rates and the amount for existing properties is reduced,” Mike Fermor says.

The data shows 225 new residential properties have been created in Whanganui this year, spread fairly evenly across the city, and 35 new commercial properties, mostly in the Mill Road area.

Mike Fermor says he wants to highlight that 7.9% is the average residential rates rise and there have been considerable variations due to the recent district-wide revaluation by independent valuers QV.

“The big variations this year are caused by land values increasing more in traditionally lower-priced areas like Aramoho, Castlecliff and Gonville, than in higher-priced areas like Springvale and St John’s Hill.

“Yet even with the gap closing, lower-priced properties still pay less in rates than higher-priced properties.”

Whanganui Mayor Andrew Tripe says he is pleased the council has been able to deliver a rates rise that sits mid-range in the national context, especially given the cost pressures the council has been facing with inflation, interest hikes and construction costs – but he’s concerned about rising rates for people in our community who are struggling.

“We managed to deliver a mid-range figure by going through the books line-by-line and making cuts and deferrals to our work programme. And already we can see the economic pressures won’t be easing any time soon, with a double digits rates rise forecast for the 2024/25 rates year.

“In my view this is unacceptable and, as Mayor, I’m committed to improving the situation for our community by continuing to lobby central government to review the rating system which is affecting all councils across New Zealand.

“Right now the great news is the significant number of new properties in our district. This isn’t a surprise because looking around we can see business activity in Whanganui is strong, our district is thriving and Whanganui is perceived as a great place to live.

“Having new people here not only makes our rates cheaper, it also benefits us in many ways, with new ideas, diversity and energy coming to our district.”

The rates were formally adopted at the Tuesday, 11 July council meeting, putting in place decisions made in the annual plan which was adopted on Tuesday, 27 June.

Rates notices for the 2023/2024 financial year will be sent to households in early August. The information for your household is available now on the ‘Property Rating Search’ section of Whanganui District Council’s website.

If you’re on a low income and having difficulty paying your rates, get in touch with the council’s rates team by calling 06 349 0001 or emailing rates@whanganui.govt.nz 



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