Today Federated Farmers will speak to their submission on yet another council proposed rate hike, as Hawke’s Bay Regional Council proposes an average rate increase of 19%.
Federated Farmers Hawke’s Bay president Jim Galloway calls this "excessive and obscene".
"Farmers are facing increased operating costs and are finding rates an ever-increasing unproductive cost that takes funds away for things like technology and environment spending.
"Let’s remember the 19% is only an average, meaning farmers are facing much higher increases. A farmer in Hastings faces an increase of 27% and a Central Hawke’s Bay farmer faces a 24% increase.
"The killer is that these rate increases are for this year only. What about the next year? What will these farmers be hit by then? What happens when these people run out of money to feed the ambitions of the day for this council? Last year we were hit by a 10% increase. That was marketed as a one-off."
Federated Farmers policy staff have worked out changes in the district differentials over the last few years since the last Hawke’s Bay Regional Council Long Term Plan.
"The percentage increase has hit three figures: Hastings has gone up 165%; Central Hawkes Bay by 186% and Wairoa by 197% since 2015."
Jim says it often feels like the council can "just up rates" when they want extra money and no thought is given to how the public they charge will pay for them.
"We urge the council to start showing restraint and to stop seeing the rural community as a bottomless money pit.
"There is no link between how much your property is worth and how much representation or engagement you receive," Jim says.