A thirty-seven percent rent hike on the Auckland Regional Council’s Pitt Street offices from 1 February 2009 has been averted by Chairman Mike Lee’s insistence that the increase was too high to be justified.
“When the six year lease on the building expired last year we were hit with a bill for $4 million per year from the building’s owner Kiwi Income Property Holdings Ltd,” says ARC Chairman Mike Lee.
“While we expected some increase since the last evaluation three years prior, this figure came as something of a surprise, in fact I thought it was over the top. This I was unwilling to accept.”
Mr Lee insisted the council dig in and refuse to pay. The Council sought arbitration and consequently, after hearing arguments from the two parties, the Umpire for Rent Arbitration reduced the rent demand from $4 million to $3.5 million, saving ratepayers over $500,000 per annum.
The ARC building was sold off to the private sector at the insistence of the government in the mid 1990s.