Property Council submission on Wellington City Council Annual Plan 2019-20

The Property Council opposes the business rates differential increase for the following reasons:

  • It is inherently unfair and disproportionally burdens the commercial sector.
  • Compared to other councils, the commercial sector pays a higher portion of total rates which creates a large imbalance with residential properties.
  • Increasing rates on commercial properties, coupled with higher insurance costs and a massive seismic strengthening burden will be an issue for attracting business investment and lead to businesses relocating to other cities to reduce their rating base.

We recommend that the Wellington City Council takes the following actions:

  • Defer the decision to increase the business rates differential until after the release of the Productivity Commission report into local government funding and financing in November 2019.
  • Begin reducing the business rates differential in future years with the aim that it be phased out. 
  • Look at alternative funding methods such as targeted rates, public-private partnerships (PPPs), toll roads, the Government’s regional development fund.