### stuff.co.nz Last updated 05:00 11/03/2012
Councils borrowing billions
By Lois Cairns
Local councils have clocked up $1606 in debt for every man, woman and child in New Zealand at a time when the amount they expect people to pay in property taxes is rising steeply. Government figures released to the Sunday Star-Times show local councils are charging, per capita, an average of $951 in rates and that nationally, rates have risen an average of 7 per cent a year for the past decade. Over the same period council debt has ballooned from $1.8b to $7b.
Local Government Minister Nick Smith is worried councils are stretching themselves too far and has signalled changes to the sector. He is set to deliver policies in the next two months so local government can control costs and keep rate rises in line with the Consumer Price Index (CPI), which has risen by around 2.2 per cent per annum over the past decade.
The SST cites Council debt per capita eg Kaipara District $4142; Dunedin City $1920 (Source: Statistics New Zealand)… making DCC almost look good by comparison.
The problem with this is it’s not showing up Dunedin’s average debt per ratepayer at a massive $11,056 to 30 June 2011, compared to Kaipara at $4,395 – also derived from councils’ audited annual reports. See Russell Garbutt’s comment https://dunedinstadium.wordpress.com/2012/02/21/kaipara-this-time/#comment-22152
Lois Cairns for SST has gone off message for Dunedin’s debt crisis by using the alternative set of stats.
Dunedin City’s average debt per ratepayer currently sits at est. $16,000. Note the escalation from 30 June.
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27.2.12 DCC Statement of Public Debt Summary as at 31 December 2011
21.2.12 Kaipara this time
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Posted by Elizabeth Kerr