Mangawhai is far from being the only district with rating issues. Aucklanders, too, have been up in arms after receiving demands for the first instalments of a projected average 9.9 percent rates increase imposed by their council, though darts are being directed specifically at Mayor Len Brown.
As mainstream media has highlighted the discontent, Mayoral candidates Stephen Berry and Penny Bright sought to continue the momentum and organised a Rip-Off Rally last Sunday encouraging Aucklanders to mass and march in protest of this further imposition.
Mangawhai Ratepayers and Residents Association chairman, Bruce Rogan, was also invited to address the public meeting in Aotea Square as one of eight speakers “talking about what has happened to us in Kaipara, to prepare the Aucklanders for what is going to happen to them if they sit on their backsides and do nothing,” he said.
Speakers included former Mayor Christine Fletcher who declared "Auckland is becoming a city only for the super rich and the investor.”
Despite an apparent undercurrent of furore, and while many will no doubt be making their own protests, in a city of over a million residents less than 40 people took the time or opportunity to voice their dissatisfaction and join the rally.
This 9.9 percent average means some may have a 2 percent rise while others may have a 20 percent increase depending on their suburb and property valuations. It was also likely some of the outer suburbs might actually decrease.
One of the 10,000 objectors who made her own protest was former Mangawhai resident Christine Fernyhough who, following the death of her husband, sold her Findlay St property and swapped her stilettos for Red Bands in becoming owner/operator of Castle Hill Station, a south Island high country sheep and cattle unit while also retaining her Parnell, Auckland, clifftop residence.
The new rates set her property value at $12 million which she felt was extravagant. However her protest was successful in reducing that valuation by half to $6 million and thus reducing her rates bill by $16,000 to $34,000 for her two adjoining properties.
Five other properties have had their CVs similarly ‘adjusted’ while five others had a total of $11 million added on.
This must surely raise questions on the methodology used for rates assessments and, given the number of objections, how any system can be used to get relativity across the city.
As in the Kaipara, the debate has still some way to go yet.