Jesse Richardson
Jesse Richardson
Aidan Homewood
Aidan Homewood
Our Story
In 2022 we realised there was a lot of space for Wellington's rating system to improve. We found it surprising that Wellington City Council, amidst a housing crisis, were creating another financial barrier to building housing.
In April, Wellington City Council's upcoming rates review prompted us to found Common Ground Aotearoa. We began forming a wide coalition of stakeholders and pitching councillors.
Later that year we begun expanding our outreach across New Zealand and were shocked at the vast amounts of council revenue being acquired through flat charges. While the rates review at WCC has slowed we've realised there's a huge amount of opportunity to make New Zealand better right now.
Taxation, in our view, needs to be efficient. Instead, capital value rates punishes productive developers and homeowners who want improve their properties by making them pay more in rates. In some cursed cycle, council then funds projects, from new pipes to an events centre, which benefits land-bankers the most. Developers simply have less incentive to build if the market has to price in a massive yearly rates bill.
Empty properties profit from the hard work of ratepayers who improve their properties. We know this because baked into the value of each land parcel is the infrastructure it has access to, the services council provides, and the beautiful city around it.
New Zealand has a choice, continue to poor vast amounts of unproductive investment into housing, or make a country for ourselves that's actually liveable. We think removing capital value rates and flat, uniform charges is a deeply impactful step in the right direction.
Jesse & Aidan
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