Wellington residents facing biggest rate hike in 25 years

Wellington residents could be facing the biggest rates hike in 25 years, with the city council considering a 23 percent increase. 

The proposed increase follows Wellington City Council's projected $70 million loss during the COVID-19 lockdown.

And it's faced with big, expensive infrastructure projects like fixing the city's dilapidated water pipes, its major transport project and the Wellington Central Library upgrade.

But there are concerns the ratepayers hike is unaffordable for many Wellington residents.

"I'm not impressed by it," one resident told Newshub.

"We'll see the banks again and remortgage, people out there are struggling with rates," another said.

"This year there is that perfect storm of so many things putting pressure on our budget," Wellington Mayor Andy Foster said.

But Foster did mention the 23 percent increase is the worst-case scenario.

"We're looking at all the levers we can pull to bring the number down."

However, he wouldn't rule out an increase of around 15 percent - which is still its biggest hike in more than 20 years.

Citing concerns from residents that rates could become unaffordable.

"If you try and keep rates to a minimum you're causing problems in the future, but trying to balance that with what people can afford is a really difficult task," Newtown Resident's Association chairwoman Rhona Carson says.

The taxpayers union surveyed 48 local and regional councils this year and found the average rate hike in 2020 was 2.5 percent.

Most councils revised their planned hikes downwards this year in response to COVID-19 - but it still highlights just how high this proposed increase is.

The council's months away from putting out their draft financial plan - leaving Wellington ratepayers to wait and wonder what next year will bring.