How can Christchurch avoid a 15.84% rates rise?

Christchurch's new 30,000-seat stadium, Te Kaha, accounts for a large part of the rates rise....
Christchurch's new 30,000-seat stadium, Te Kaha, accounts for a large part of the rates rise. Photo: Newsline
Christchurch Mayor Phil Mauger is open to any and all ideas to keep rates down as the city council prepares to discuss a proposed hike of 15.84 per cent.

Christchurch City Council will meet to discuss its draft long-term plan on Wednesday and Thursday.

On the table is a proposed rates rise of more than 50 per cent over the next 10 years - starting with 15.84 per cent this year and 8.2 per cent next year.

Councils around the motu are grappling with potentially eye-watering rates hikes.

The big jump in rates early in the cycle was due to Christchurch's 30,000-seat multi-use arena Te Kaha, which is currently under construction.

Phil Mauger. Photo: Geoff Sloan
Phil Mauger. Photo: Geoff Sloan
The city council had committed $286 million from 2025 to 2027 to complete the covered stadium.

Mauger said the options were ultimately raising rates or cutting services.

"That's what it comes down to," he said.

He wanted the public to guide the council on what it found palatable and where savings could be found.

"The jump in the rates rises is for one or two big years, after that the stadium is passed and it drops down to about seven, eight, three, four per cent.

"We've got to try to get that lump out of there because that's the killer of it all."

Other southern mayors had expressed their concern for the ability of pensioners and vulnerable ratepayers to keep up with rates if they continued to rise over the next decade.

Mauger said he was also concerned.

"It's still a hit, no matter where you start from, going up 15.8 per cent is a big jump.

"Not everyone can afford these rates rises. We can't keep doing it like this.

"We're waiting for the government to come through with its Three Waters stuff to see where that lands.

"We're very lucky here that we've got a lot of our infrastructure has been repaired after the earthquake, so we're a bit ahead of others.

"We're in pretty good shape, but we can't have rates rises like this."

The council was set to discuss 120 amendments to the long-term plan, about 40 of which were "meaty".

Mauger said the council would discuss those in depth and then wanted the public's feedback on them.

"The people out there will say 'not happy with this, please change this, please lower this', and we'll listen to what they have to say. Anything that saves rates that people come up with, I will back."