Long term planning: Phil Mauger, Christchurch City Mayor

It has been well reported that our country faces some challenging economic headwinds at the moment.

Phil Mauger, Mayor of Christchurch City

Community groups, businesses, and households are all finding it tough right now. Our council has been hearing this message loud and clear recently as people present their submissions on our draft Long Term Plan.

It’s not easy when costs keep increasing, but we are all acutely aware of the pressures rates put on peoples’ back pockets.

We are not alone here. Councils around the country are coming up against the same thorny issue: how do we fund the delivery of core services when faced with rising inflation, a growing population and aging infrastructure?

One idea I’d like to see the Government consider is returning the GST collected on rates to councils.

This would remove a tax on a tax and reduce the rates burden. More importantly, it would ensure that the money paid by Christchurch ratepayers goes towards Christchurch’s roads, parks, water supply, and other key services.

For example, the value of GST on rates for the 2024/25 financial year will be approximately $102 million. If this was returned to the council, it could reduce rates by 15 percent next year.

Auckland Mayor Wayne Brown and I have both asked the Finance Minister to consider this idea. We must look at new ways of funding the core services we all rely on every day.

Right now, however, our council must work with the system we have and make the tough decisions as we finalise our Long Term Plan next month.

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