Call for rates revolt in small West Coast town

Ryan Boswell
Source: 1News

There are calls for a revolt in the small West Coast town of Blackball where rates are going up by thousands of dollars.

Land values in the town have shot up by a whopping 238% prompting the Grey District Council to follow suit by hiking rates.

Jane Wells told 1News that her business was paying 43% more in rates, bringing the new total to $6500.

The average rates rise across the Grey District was 5.9%.

“They’re just lumping it on us and expecting us to put up with it and we cannot afford to.

“We asked the council to come up and have a meeting and they haven’t come, they haven’t fronted,” said Wells.

Mayor Tania Gibson claims Blackball still “has one of the lowest rates in the area”.

While she pays about $5000 a year to live in Greymouth, “Blackball’s still sitting down there in the $2700 range".

Gibson said while other towns have had a gradual increase over time, Blackball spiked suddenly in large part to the great walks nearby which have attracted more people and required new infrastructure.

“The land valuations in Blackball went up by 238 percent.

“What Blackball is asking is for the rest of the district to shoulder their land value rises,” said Gibson.

Wells wanted to remind the mayor and councillors that it was election year, and suggested there could be a “rates revolt”.

Gibson said she will stand again for the mayoralty in October.

“Election year or not, it’s bad timing and it’s hard for everybody. Rate rises are not something anybody wants to be doing,” said Gibson.