COVID19 - Rates Relief Available

Waimakariri ratepayers facing financial hardship because of COVID19 have a range of options available to provide relief from rates - including deferral.

"The fourth instalment for the year to June is coming up and we know this will concern some people – especially those who are facing an uncertain financial future," says Mayor Dan Gordon.

"There are ways that we can help immediately that will provide people with relief and breathing space. We are also reviewing budgets and looking to make changes and defer projects which will make any increases for the coming year as low as possible."

The Council is continuing to work hard ensuring essential services are effectively delivered and maintained across the District.

Essential services ensure households have safe drinking water, that waste water systems keeps operating, rubbish is collected, burials can take place, essential roading and safety repairs are made, emergency services (Civil Defence) are on hand, and flood protection is being monitored. Council staff and after hours phone services means we are available 24/7.

Your rates are what pays for these staff and services to keep operating.

While we cannot make changes to the rates struck in this current year, there are two things we are doing.

Relief arrangements available for rates

Measures available are:

  • Defer the payment of the next instalment
  • Check if you qualify for a rates rebate – if you have a gross household income of around $35,000 or less let us know
  • Spread your payments equally over the instalment period or beyond
  • Reducing the frequency of an existing direct debit to make smaller more regular payments
  • Reduce the amount of your direct debit temporarily until your situation improves
  • Investigate other forms of financial assistance that may be available such as, talking to your bank.

Contact us on rates@wmk.govt.nz or 0800 965 468 (0800 WMK GOV) if you would like to talk more about this or discuss a payment plan – we want to help. Q and As on rates and relief measures in response to Covid19 are also available.
Online Application for Rates Payment Assistance

The Government has provided a large package to support people’s incomes, including working with banks to provide mortgage holidays. People who have lost their jobs or are on reduced incomes may also qualify for the Accommodation Supplement administered by the Ministry of Social Development through Work and Income -  this is the primary way the government can assist homeowners seeking help with accommodation related bills including rates.

Please do not just stop paying your rates or cancel your direct debit. If rates are not paid then our recovery will be slower, more painful and likely more expensive next year if we are to maintain essential infrastructure and be ready to open up facilities and services as soon as possible after restrictions reduce.

Reviewing budgets for the coming year

We are looking closely at our budgets in the Draft Annual Plan 2020/21 (the document which sets budgets and in turn rates for the coming year) to see if there are any changes we can make to defer projects or reduce spending to bring any increases to as low a level as possible.

The Council has a joint role to play here in both:

  • Making sure any rate increases are as low as possible
  • Investing locally in infrastructure projects that have positive flow on effects to contractors, suppliers and in turn stimulate the Waimakariri economy and job growth.

Our Draft Annual Plan 2020-2021 is currently out for consultation and we have extended this for another week (until Tuesday 14 April) to give residents additional time to provide the Council with their feedback. If you have any concerns, feedback or thoughts you can provide these via Waimakariri.govt.nz/letstalk.

These revised changes in budget, as well as all public feedback, will be provided to the Council before setting the rates for the coming year.

The community is very much at the centre of the Council’s decision making process and we will be in regular touch with more information about this as the emergency situation develops.

Phone: 0800 965 468 (0800WMKGOV)