Many letters in The Press this morning about the council raising their rental on flats by 24%. It didn't seem very controversial to me at the time, but then I suppose I'm a member of the hard-hearted 98.5% of households that actually pay the rates rather than the 1.5% who are in council housing.
One letter from Barry K Morgan of Manukau says:
Surely the good people of Fendalton, Merivale and Cashmere, most of who have profited directly or indirectly from the efforts and spending of low income people over the years, would not mind an additional $5 to $10 a year being added to their rates bill in support of those less fortunate than themselves?
I will leave aside the question of what an Aucklander is doing talking about our rates, although when they do it would be better if they didn't witter on about the 'New Right'.
I want to see the rates halve. They are far too high. At the moment we pay about $2500 for a 1/4 acre in St Albans. This is from after-tax income so amounts to perhaps $4000 of pre-tax income, or $80 a week. I don't understand how this is supposed to be affordable - even on a very decent salary of $80k it is 5% of income.
Strangely this weekly amount is about the same as the bedsit rental ($76, about to go up), except that I thought we owned our house. On 2700 properties, assuming an average rental of $110 and a cost of $10 for not having to increase it, this is 2700 x 10 x 52 = $1.4m. which amounts to about $9 for each ratepayer. Of course because of the unfair way rates work, in St Albans we will pay $26 while in Parklands they will pay $6.
If you are wondering why I used $10 increase instead of $25, this from the same article:
The 24% rise would see the for a bedsit increase from $76 to $94 a week.
This rise would be subsidised by the housing benefit, and so would amount to a $5.40 rise for the tenant.
So we pay 70% of the increase through our central government taxes anyway.
If the council really wants affordable housing it should offer it for 100% of residents, not just a few. It could do that by abolishing its subdivision charges, approving building plans within 7 days, allowing growth of the city without always fighting it in court, firing the half of its staff that gets in the way, etc. Housing costs in poor little ChCh are far too high, and we will all be forced into social housing the way things are going.