Vanessa Van Uden
Queenstown Lakes ratepayers will have to make up the
shortfall if Government changes mean the council can no longer
levy development contributions for community infrastructure,
Mayor Vanessa Van Uden says.
She said the Local Government Amendment (No 3) Bill,
introduced to Parliament, proposes to remove a long-standing
source of revenue for councils which could result in
''significant'' rates increases in some parts of the district
to offset loss of revenue.
The council had assessed the impact of the proposed
legislative changes could be an average rates increase of
Under the Bill, councils would no longer be able to levy
development contributions for community infrastructure, other
than public toilets, playgrounds and community halls, the
mayor said. Other forms of community infrastructure, such as
libraries, parks and sporting facilities, will have to be
funded from alternative sources, primarily rates.
''In a high-growth community like ours, developers have quite
reasonably been required to make contributions to offset the
financial impact their development has on the district.
''For example, a 250 house subdivision has infrastructure
impacts such as new footpaths; increased water and sewerage
capacity and increased maintenance of roads.
''But population growth also means we have to invest in
additional community infrastructure, such as increased
library capacity, new parks, sports fields and other
The mayor said it made no sense to say the cost of new
playgrounds could be funded from development contributions
but sports facilities could not.
''The reality is that, while we welcome development and the
growth that it generates, existing ratepayers should not have
to foot the bill for new costs created by developers,'' she
In the past five years, rates have comprised only 55%-60% of
the district's total revenue and development contributions
have comprised 10%-20% of total revenue.
Ms van Uden said the greatest impact would be on key pieces
of community infrastructure, in particular the Queenstown
Events Centre (QEC) and the proposed Wanaka sports facility,
which were budgeted on the understanding development
contributions would form part of the funding, ''but this will
not be the case under the proposed changes''.
''As a consequence, ratepayers will have to pay more to
continue to enjoy the same services, in the case of QEC, or
to have a new facility, in the case of the Wanaka Sports
The mayor said the council would be supporting a submission
from Local Government NZ against the changes, as well as
making its own submission, and encouraged ratepayers to raise
concern by submitting to the select committee themselves.
''Our message is simple - if you don't want to pay more as a
ratepayer for existing or future community infrastructure,
then you need to make your views known.''