Public supports new ways to pay for services and infrastructure

2 February 2024

Local Government’s call for more funding tools to deliver better services and infrastructure has been backed by strong public support in new research released today.

The report by the Infrastructure Commission highlighted strong public appetite for funding tools that go beyond rates, like usage charging.

“It is encouraging to see such strong public support for new ways to pay for the services and infrastructure Kiwis expect and deserve,” LGNZ President Sam Broughton said.

“Both local government and the public understand that continuing to rely so heavily on household and business rates is not a sustainable funding approach for local government.

“Many households pay $2-3,000 per year just for one service such as power. Rates account for a huge range of infrastructure and services communities rely on, like local roads, water and managing our rivers and streams. Rates are currently councils’ key tool to raise revenue.

“LGNZ will be working with the Government on a toolbox approach to addressing funding and financing challenges.

“Not every tool works well for each council, so we need to take a locally-led approach to finding the right levers for individual communities. Options for new funding mechanisms include revenue sharing between central and local government, which could form part of new city and regional deals.

“Our members have strongly supported that the Government pay rates on all Crown land, as well as introducing new tools like congestion charging, bed taxes and tourist levies.

“Councils will begin to consult their communities on their draft long-term plans (LTPs) soon, outlining the priorities for their community, how much it will all cost, and where the money might come from. It’s important that councils have more funding levers to meet the necessary investment required to fund existing services and essential infrastructure,” Sam Broughton added.