Greater Wellington rates collection error identified for Wellington city
Greater Wellington has recently discovered some of its general rates have been incorrectly applied and collected within Wellington city, since the 2019/20 financial year.
The discovery during a rates-modelling exercise undertaken by Greater Wellington, shows that Wellington city residential and rural ratepayers have been overcharged, while CBD and business ratepayers have been undercharged because differentials were not correctly applied.
Territorial authorities, like Wellington City Council, collect all the rates set by Greater Wellington under agreements between councils.
Greater Wellington chief executive Nigel Corry said that in 2019/20 Greater Wellington had changed its basis for collecting rates through its Revenue and Financing policy, setting four differentials on its general rate (residential, rural, business and central business district) to recover different amounts from certain types of land and rate payers.
“This is an unfortunate error. While Greater Wellington issued a media release at the time about its changes to its rating policy, the direct communication to Wellington City Council staff did not sufficiently convey that there had been a change in policy. Both Councils immediately established new checks and balances on discovery of the error to ensure it cannot happen again.”
“The problem is isolated to Wellington city only. Rates collected through other territorial authorities in the Wellington region have not been impacted. The fault went unnoticed as the total amount was correct but collected in the wrong proportions,” Mr Corry explained.
On average, residential ratepayers have been overcharged $30 per year, and rural ratepayers $36 per year, while CBD ratepayers have been undercharged $583 per year, and businesses $160 per year.
Mr Corry said the differentials had now been correctly applied and rates notices will show the correct amounts for 2023/24.
“Greater Wellington is seeking independent advice on the most practicable solution for addressing this issue and will present options to councillors in late August,” adds Mr Corry.
Wellington City Council Chief Executive Barbara McKerrow said “the City Council has been working closely with Greater Wellington to ensure the correct rating assessment notices are issued and that essential communications between the councils are tightened”.
Greater Wellington is responsible for the region’s environment and land management, flood protection, regional parks, public transport, and metropolitan water supply. For more information on the roles and responsibilities of the regional council visit:
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