Gerrard Eckhoff does us All a favour

Updated post
Wed, 27 Jul 2016 at 10:07 p.m.

Gerrard Eckhoff redrawn 1The Dunedin City Council’s decision to develop a rates remission policy to take into account the special relationship Maori have with the land is interesting, writes Gerrard Eckhoff.

### ODT Online Wed, 27 Jul 2016
DCC rates policy may be unfair to Pakeha landowners
OPINION All Dunedin City Council ratepayers will, I’m sure, be sympathetic yet intrigued to understand the principle the council has employed that allows for rates remission for Maori freehold land and not producing revenue (ODT, 19.7.16). It is a policy that will be embraced by most, if not all, ratepayers, as it sets a wonderful precedent. Cr Hilary Calvert sensibly noted DCC staff should develop policy which included non-Maori land as well for consideration.
Read more

● Gerrard Eckhoff, of Central Otago, is an Otago regional councillor.

DCC Rates history
The table and graph [go to the webpage] show the comparison between inflation and Dunedin City Council rate increases over the past couple of decades. For the first two years, the changes which followed local body amalgamation in 1989 mean it has not been possible to accurately calculate the DCC rates increase figure. Major upgrades in the areas of water and wastewater, and significant building projects, have had a big effect on DCC rates rises over the period.

DCC rates-infation-chart

Received from Mike

This graph is a cumulative graph of DCC rates rises after inflation has been removed, graphed over the same range that the DCC graph is, with this year’s data added (and a couple of mistakes in the DCC’s inflation rate touched up to.match the Reserve Bank’s, they are minor, and mostly cancel out).


Posted by Elizabeth Kerr

Election Year. This post is offered in the public interest.


Filed under Business, DCC, Democracy, Dunedin, Economics, Finance, Geography, Media, Name, New Zealand, OAG, Ombudsman, People, Pet projects, Politics, Property, Public interest, Stadiums

17 responses to “Gerrard Eckhoff does us All a favour

  1. Calvin Oaten

    The major spike started in 2015. It would be churlish to link that with a stadium, conference centre, settlers museum or cycleways wouldn’t it.

  2. Rob Hamlin

    Difficult to calculate accurately, but a fag packet calculation based on this graph gives a rates increase of some 90% in real terms over the period (plus the extra 600 million of debt too).

    • Mike

      Yes my spreadsheet shows an 84% increase over and above inflation over the period given above, I doubt few ratepayer’s salaries have gone up that fast (inflation basically being defined by our average salary increase after all).

      Despite claims to the contrary rates rises seem to be roughly linear over the past decade, and are increasing in real terms by an average of (84-28)=56% per decade (5.6% per annum) after inflation with no end in sight.

      I understand that councils need some latitude in funding, I’d like to see a mandatory 5-10 year rolling average rates increase of 0% post inflation – that means that a council that wants to build say a financially failing stadium or a new pool needs to explicitly reduce spending elsewhere – for example, firing staff, or closing other public services like the library or art gallery.

      • Calvin Oaten

        Mike and Rob’s comments make the trick revealing. We the people are expected to be forever grateful to ‘Dave’ and his band of manipulators. Dave of course could perhaps be excused on the grounds of incompetence. The other facts overlooked are the ever increasing costs of service charges. Massive escalation in items such as parking, tip charges, consent costs and more, all the burden of citizenship. Roll on October.

  3. Of course rates are onerous because they work like compound interest. Each rise is a rise on the year before’s rise! So while 3% may not sound much, it’s a 3% rise on top of all the other recent rises. It comes to much more than you think. It’s compounded year on year. Ba()*&%^%&%^ DCC!

  4. Elizabeth

    See updated post at top of post. Mike has supplied a cumulative graph for DCC rates increases after inflation. Hold onto your hats.

  5. Elizabeth

    Remember this from Mayor Cull’s first Facebook page:


    Diana Flanagan
    I shall certainly not vote for Dave Cull. He has cost Dunedin a fortune and then had the audacity to give himself a 9% pay rise, most people are fighting to get a 3-4% rise.
    22 July at 19:55

    Dave Cull for Mayor
    Correction Diana. I did not get a pay rise of 9% and I don’t decide it anyway. From memory last year I took a cut and this year it was something like 1.5%. Not sure how you figure I cost the city. Since I took the mayoralty we have brought rates rises down drastically from what the previous Council projected. And we have stuck within the limits we set.


    Or go to

    Read more

  6. Elizabeth

    ODT 25.7.16 (page 8)
    ODT 25.7.16 Letter to editor Kenny p8 (1)

  7. Tussock

    Going back to Gerrard Eckhoffs article at the top of the page. Have you ever wondered how Ngai Tahu have accumulated such massive wealth since the treaty settlement. They became a charitable trust, and unlike you and me. They pay no tax.

  8. Peter

    It is dangerous to talk of one group/race having a special relationship with the land over another group/race. By all means pay recompense for stolen land, but land ownership changes over time and spiritual notions about land aren’t race specific. Try telling a white farmer who has farmed a patch of land for generations that his attachment to the land is not as important or as deep as his Maori/ Aboriginal/ lndian brother’s attachment to land.
    As a nation we are setting ourselves up to fail by creating such division.
    Bending over backwards to continually apologise for past wrongs for stolen land, even once recompense has been given, is tiresome.
    It’s like the Irish still banging on about past historic injustices by Protestants/ Catholics.

  9. Hype O'Thermia

    “Country Calendar”, Saturdays TV1, often shows the enterprise of people who are 2nd and 3rd generation constantly developing, changing production to fit with demand, and loving their land with deep passion. I have noticed many of them combine making a living with making a heritage, protecting areas of native bush, conscious of the need to be respectful, adult offspring and their partners joining the parents then taking over responsibility. These land owners are not investors in maximum productivity and shareholders’ gains, they are investing in the continuing health of the land and hoping to increase its “worth” by giving back at least as much as they take from it. Many of them talk about the wish that it stay in the family, that one of the children will be interested in continuing on the property, not stuck in tradition, endlessly learning and adapting and improving. How can anyone claim that one race has higher grade “spiritual” connection to the land than another? The difference is one of vocabulary, the word spiritual seems to come easily to Maori while NZers of European forebears are less comfortable with it and use words like love and attachment which don’t sound like they require as much respect as spiritual.

    • Hype O’Thermia is correct the cases of family attachment to land should be discussed and dealt with on a factual basis. Who has ownership, rights to use, dispersal of land etc. should be decided in honest consideration of all the facts. Every person, every family has attachment to the land one way or another. It’s just that farmers and big land owners have a choice to make as to how they manage larger more strategic parcels of land than most of us. Spiritual attachment need not be the cause of every head being awckwardly bowed whenever spiritual “rights” are mentioned, so that the power to do what is to be done on that land is forfeited to the ones saying they have “spiritual rights.” I admit there is the power of the Tiriti… but it does not have power or it should not be interpreted by the Waitangi Tribunal as having any rights over private parcels of land.

  10. Hype O'Thermia

    Apartheid, it was something we learned about at school. Not so much about the informal (mostly not enshrined in law) rough deal Maori had in NZ, there were “no” Maori in our school, not that anyone acknowledged including those few with a Maori forebear. Apartheid in South Africa was at last overturned; in NZ acknowledgement and Treaty settlements began and have proceeded judderingly ever since. Some time we are going to have to, if we want to avoid becoming a society thriving on attributing every social ill on old failures and new putting-right, draw a line under the process and embrace equality (not the same as identical twin-ness) as our most precious social value. Getting rid of neo-con governments and the transfer of wealth to the rich, while a greater and greater proportion of NZers slip further and further downhill to, no exaggeration, poverty – that has to be the struggle now. White, brown and all colours faiths and ethnic identification, we’re all in this slide, all except that tiny few on the rich ladder. We need to get over looking at deprivation and need for assistance as a racial matter. It isn’t, even though for social and educational reasons often rooted in cultural attitudes to duties and roles and perception of individual im/possibilities, some families seem stuck down the empty-plate end of the buffet.
    What I dread now is continued “solving” of Maori issues by extra help such as imposing extra Maori representatives on Council and boards and committees. Are we saying Maori have a failure gene, Maori need mobility scooters in perpetuity because they can’t make their way in society on their own feet? I don’t believe it. There are too many high achieving Maori to make this a convincing plea!
    So Maori don’t vote, don’t get onto councils, yada yada. So they need quotas? No! They need encouragement and hassling, best of all from their own people, to get their shit together just like their successful brothers and sisters. Well meaning guilt-cringing white people – butt out of this separatist do-gooder program! Can’t you see the future when Maori councillors and MPs are not mentioned as “Maori MP, Hemi ___” but Hemi ___ like John ___, both working for all of us, using their pre-parliament knowledge and experiences to guide them to make good decisions.
    Past injustices are not mended by substituting new unfairness.
    I dread the thought of going back to “white is right”, this time turned upside down, an equally toxic version of “We are all equal but some are more equal than others”.

  11. Hype O'Thermia

    No, and the worse of it is that the keenest advocates of it are such well-meaning people, like that Mayor (forget which town) who wanted special Maori representatives on council. It’s a not uncommon cry – we need Maori representatives so there should be reserved extra-democratic positions. Sometimes similar re women and young people, quotas here, special appointments there. It entrenches weakness instead of finding ways to foster strength and self-confidence, also assumes that there will never be Maori, women or young people good enough to be voted for, nor Maori, women and young people motivated to support their own kind.
    When it comes to race though it’s insidious, arguing FOR democracy and FOR the ability of non-OldWhiteMen to get there on their own merits with support of voters of all colours and creeds, is cried down as racism. In my opinion it’s the opposite. Don Brash was given hell for talking about, essentially, equality, as if it meant everyone had to turn into OldWhiteMen.

    That’s where the notion of God the Creator is useful – as a way of talking about equality that is not about being smarter or better looking or poorer or clumsier or skilled in Kapa Haka vs Gregorian Chant. It’s a way of getting to the essence of equality in society, being of equal value in our humanity while different from one another, even OWM from OWM, woman from woman, Maori from Maori, OWM from Maori woman……. And if we believe in that kind of equality, if it is a value dear to our hearts, how can we do otherwise than fear apartheid?

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