Your rates in action

Have you ever wondered why you pay rates? Rates are a form of tax paid to councils to fund vital services, infrastructure, and more in the local community. Your rates pay for a wide range of things that, together, ensure you can eat, work, live and play in a safe, attractive city.

This funding ensures that drinkable water comes out of your tap, prevents streets from flooding when it rains, provides travel routes throughout the city – however you wish to travel, and that the buildings you work in and the homes you live in are safe and healthy.

Your rates bill also contributes to building and maintaining key city facilities like parks, sportsfields, libraries, galleries and museums – things that are important to the people of Wellington.

The illustration shows a variety of activities and services the Council provides. Some of these services are funded by rates, some with user fees, and others with a combination of rates, fees and/or other sources of income (for example, government subsidies). In some cases we fund other organisations to provide these services and activities.

In 2014/15, the proposed average residential rates bill will be $2080 (this is based on an average property value of $526,940). This compares favourably with what the average residential household1 spends each year on:

Electricity $2012 Insurance $3428
Petrol $1856 Phone and internet bill $1889

1 Statistics New Zealand

Your rates in action infographic map of Wellington.

View larger image

* We are proposing to make changes in these areas – click the * to read more in the What’s New or Changed section

  1. Tourism promotion
  2. Footpaths
  3. Beaches
  4. Recycling
  5. Street lighting
  6. Community plantings
  7. Sewage network
  8. Swimming pools
  9. Heritage development
  10. Road safety
  11. Dog control
  12. Stormwater network
  13. Waterfront development
  14. Sea walls *
  15. Suburban centre improvement *
  16. Recreation centres
  17. Street cleaning
  18. Community festivals
  19. Hazardous tree removal *
  20. Walkways *
  21. Water network *
  22. Marinas
  23. Conservation attractions
  24. Tunnels and bridges
  25. Grants (eg: Circa Theatre)
  26. Sportsfields
  27. Golf course
  28. Social housing
  29. Artificial sportsfields *
  30. Public toilets
  31. Public art
  32. Cycle ways *
  33. Māori partnerships
  34. City safety
  35. Emergency management
  36. Community centres *
  37. Earthquake strengthening *
  38. City governance
  39. Public health
  40. Public murals
  41. Waste management *
  42. Landfill *
  43. Libraries *
  44. Noise control
  45. Parks and open spaces
  46. Urban development *
  47. Cable Car
  48. Cemeteries
  49. Rural road improvements *
  50. Botanic Garden
  51. On-street parking
  52. Museums and galleries
  53. Major events
  54. Pest control
  55. Roading *
  56. Public transport network


Recycling is funded by a portion of landfill fees, not through rates.


Every time you go for a swim you only pay 40 percent of the real cost to provide that service. It’s $5.90 for an adult to have a swim, but without the Council subsidy it would cost $14.80.


It costs $21 for an adult to visit the Zoo, but without the subsidy provided by Council it would cost $33.


Approximately 38% of our transport costs are funded by grants provided by the New Zealand Transport Agency.


It costs $94 per resident per year to provide 12 libraries with over 625,000 books, 200,000 magazines and 96,000 CDs and DVDs.


Most of the great events we hold in the city are funded though the Commercial targeted rate and not through residential rates.


Your free on-street weekend parking is fully funded by the Downtown targeted rate.


We are responsible for providing bus stops, shelters and bus lanes. Greater Wellington Regional Council is responsible for funding public transport services.