Auckland Airport pushes back on Mayor Wayne Brown's claim it gets free rates ride

Auckland Airport has pushed back on a claim by Mayor Wayne Brown that it gets a "free ride" when it comes to rates.

The airport told Newshub it was a significant Auckland City Council ratepayer with a yearly bill of $25 million.

Its statement comes after the Auckland Mayor said properties such as airports and other certain kinds of land cannot be charged rates under the Local Government (Rating) ACT 2022.

Section 8 of the Act designates as non-rateable any land that is "within the operational area of an aerodrome" or used for the "movement" of aircraft and the loading of "goods and passengers."

"It seems odd to me, that a multi-billion dollar listed company such as Auckland International Airport Limited is sitting on hundreds of millions of dollars' worth of non-rateable land, when everyday Aucklanders are doing it tough," said the Mayor.

"Why do families that are under pressure in the suburbs have to cough up more to cover the government and the churches and airports who are not paying for exactly the same services we provide?".

However, it's understood the rates Auckland Airport pays are charged on the commercial properties it has on its land, not the use of land for the actual airport.

A statement from the Airport also said it manages and pays for all its own roading, footpaths, utility networks, rubbish and recycling collection and that these are "services normally covered by council, so the benefit to Auckland ratepayers is two-fold".

Brown this week sent a massive rates demand to central government, saying it should pay rates on all central government buildings like prisons and hospitals.

He said that costs Auckland $36 million in lost revenue.

Brown also said that GST collected on all rates should be returned to the council. That would be another $415 million.

"Staff estimates show for the 24/25 financial year, that would be an average saving per household of $506.40."

Charging central government for rates on its buildings and returning GST collected on all rates were both recommended in last year's 2023 Future for Local Government review.

Local Government NZ President Sam Broughton said based on 2022-23 rates returning the GST could add up to about $1.04 billion.