Kerikeri is again clearly experiencing considerable property development and our enquiries indicate that more is planned. We are astonished that Council requires no development contributions which must be nearly unique among New Zealand local authorities. Council has few funding sources; there is resistance to rate increases, an apparent aversion to borrowing and yet no development contributions.
Development contributions were removed during a period of low population growth after 2006 in order to attract development. At that time Kerikeri was well and truly subdivided but there was little building activity. It was also intended to allow Council to focus on upgrading our ageing infrastructure.
That was then but what about now. The hangover from the Global Financial Crisis is no longer a factor, building activity is obvious and our ageing infrastructure has had little spent on it. Although our population is around 6,500, Kerikeri is the service centre for a large population. As one example, the patient rolls for our local doctors exceed 15,000 people. How many more cars are on our roads?
There is little room for rates increase, especially for people on fixed and low incomes. The independent Council ‘Mark report; on Council performance notes that 83% of Council income comes from rates. This compares to a national average of 49% and the report recommends other sources of revenue including development contributions.
We think that Council policy on property development requires urgent review. What are your views? Let us know.