Tuesday, June 28, 2011

CHCH: Correct me if wrong... [updated]

Something that's been niggling me about ChCh and the need for wads of taxpayer funding.

At the '89 local government amalgamation, one of the rules made was that previously profligate councils had to actually stick some of the rates aside to cover depreciating assets both above and below ground. On top of that councils were required to carry full insurance on such assets. (that's why councils and other entities Telecom went around mapping every asset such as power poles, joint boxes, manholes etc in the early GPS days and still do it)

Just so when said assets expired after 40-50 years of fair wear and tear usage, there would be a pot of gold to replace said assets without breaking ratepayers with ginormous capital expenditures.

We are now 20 years plus into that program and I assume councils will have a healthy reserve to replace worn out / broken with new assets. Such that the total pool collected including insurance payouts might repair broken assets in ChCh post earthquake. And not require much taxpayer input at all.

If re-insurers will not provide more cover post-quake, then the way I see it, ratepayers will have to stump up at a higher rate to cover asset replacement over the next 40-50 years.

The question that is niggling at me is "Where and how much of that depreciation reserve is being used over and above insurance payouts to cover the rebuild?" or to put it differently, "Is the Bob and Gerry Show stiffing the NZ taxpayer with new taxes rather than using council reserves?".

I invite my readers to explain further / correct me if I'm wrong. (Graphs accompanying any figures would be a real treat)

The first para at Not PC seems to answer the insurance bit - there was never any insurance. So the reserves now have pay for it all.


mawm said...

Wait for the 'Quake Levy' that will be added to your tax bill. It should come some time after National's re-election.

KG said...

That'd be the levy John Key will assure us won't be levied?

KG said...

No doubt it'll be added to our rates bill--the rates we pay on our house for no garbage collection, no sewage, no water supply, no footpaths and no street lighting.
(we do, however contribute to the gangs of local yobs being able to use the internet at Masterton public library and for new netball courts and a skateboard park)
Ain't communism a wonderful thing!