Opinion: Rates rise still a burden for businesses despite revision

Opinion: Rates rise still a burden for businesses despite revision

Leeann Watson is Chief Executive of Business Canterbury

After an unprecedented number of submissions from stakeholders, including Business Canterbury, the Christchurch City Council’s decision to limit the increase of commercial rates to 10.9 per cent is welcomed, however we would ask whether enough is being done to reduce the burden on business.

The Council’s long-term plan is a balancing act between funding necessary development and maintaining affordability for ratepayers. A revision from the initially proposed 14.2 per cent hike is a step in the right direction, but there remains considerable room for improvement.

An 11 per cent increase is still a substantial burden for businesses at a time when costs are at record highs and consumer confidence at near record lows. The Council itself decided to recently withdraw from LGNZ because of increasing subscription fees – an option not available to business ratepayers.

It is important that the Council continues to scrutinise its internal costs, uses all levers available to deliver essential services efficiently, and supports a capital programme to leverage the upcoming ‘golden decade’ for Christchurch and Canterbury. We cannot let double digit rates rises for businesses create an anchoring effect where anything less than that in future years is seen as a success, that is not the precedent we want set.

We welcome the Council’s $6.4 million additional commitment to major event bid funding, which will help to position Christchurch as a go-to destination for national and international events, driving economic activity and showcasing the region’s offerings.

Read Business Canterbury’s full submission to the Christchurch City Council on its draft Long Term Plan here.

Have you got news to share? Email us your business news, story idea, or opinion piece to news@businesscanterbury.co.nz

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