Rates decision to come from government - district council says

Any decision to help some people in Canterbury pay their rates bills during the impending lockdown is likely to come from the Government, the Selwyn District Council says.

Said council chief executive David Ward: “(We) will be guided by government policy and guidelines in relation to financial assistance for ratepayers. It is likely to be a national decision.”

Mr Ward said it is still too early to tell exactly what assistance the community will need.

"It’s very early days and I think that we are just looking at how we respond to the virus.

"For us, it’s about responsiveness to the central government guidelines, the safety of staff and the safety of our communities.”

It follows calls from Christchurch city councillors to stop rates increases in response to the Covid-19 crisis.

David Ward. Photo: Supplied
David Ward. Photo: Supplied
Councillors James Gough, Sam MacDonald, Catherine Chu, Phil Mauger, Aaron Keown and James Daniels sent a letter to Mayor Lianne Dalziel asking her to lead a conversation as to how a zero per cent rates increase could be achieved this year.

Selwyn Mayor Sam Broughton said the situation is continuing to develop and he wants to ensure the district is responsible with the assets it has.

“There needs to be the investment that is required to ensure that our water and wastewater systems are up to scratch and we can provide good services to our community,” he said,

All community facilities in the district closed their doors yesterday. The closures includes all libraries and service centres, the Selwyn Aquatic Centre, Lincoln Event Centre, Rolleston Community Centre, West Melton, Tai Tapu, and Dunsdandel community centres, and all other council-owned community centres. 

Libraries and recreation centres will look at alternative ways of delivering programmes and classes using digital channels.