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Waitakere Applauded For Holding Rates Down

Waitakere Applauded For Holding Rates Down; Debt To Rise 40 Per Cent

Waitakere earned applause from the Employers & Manufacturers Association for holding its costs down when the EMA presented its submission to the council today.

But the association also pointed out Waitakere charged businesses three times more in rates for equivalent property value than it did residential ratepayers on the misguided presumption that businesses can afford to pay more than residences.

EMA lodged its submission on behalf of its 400 business members in Waitakere City. Together these firms employ 12,000 people, 40 per cent of the city's employees, and account for $340 million in payroll annually.

"Waitakere City is to be congratulated for holding its rates down," said Alasdair Thompson, EMA's chief executive.

"But we question the priorities of the council's capital expenditure programme. Over 60 per cent of all new capital spending of $40.7 million in this election year is to go on community and economic development projects with the rest to be spent on overheads, roads and transport, waste, and waste water, water and stormwater.

"This is out of kilter - infrastructure development should take precedence over community projects, along with most of the council's focus.

"Some of the council's community spending is tagged for projects that could see it compete with its own ratepayers. This is unfair.

"The council is increasing its debt load by $40 million this year to $145 million to help keep rates down. This is not necessarily a bad thing since many of the services funded will be used by the next generation of ratepayers, and they should therefore help pay for them, but it represents a sudden change in tack."

Ends

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