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Birch Review lays down reasonable challenge

Media Release
Friday, December 14th, 2001

Birch Review lays down reasonable challenge for Auckland Council

The Birch Review to stabilize Auckland City rates at the present levels by 2004/05 is the least business expects of the Council, says the Employers & Manufacturers Associations (Northern).

"The Review represents a considered set of recommendations for the Auckland Council to address, with nothing unorthodox to unsettle residents or business ratepayers," said Alasdair Thompson, EMA's chief executive.

"The challenge laid down in the Review is for Council to match the $367 million of debt forecast in five years time with equivalent savings, or better, so rates won't have to rise.

"Auckland's businesses have every right to expect Council to tackle the challenge with some relish as business pays about 55 per cent of Auckland's rates income.

"We are also pleased to congratulate the Council on earning praise from Sir William who noted the city's finances are well run with sound fiscal disciplines in place.

"We are particularly pleased further user charges are to be considered and that a 'sinking lid' is likely to apply to Council's operating expenses. The sale of certain assets is reasonable to ensure other desperately needed infrastructure developments can proceed under urgency.

"Recommending the model used by some Australian cities to build partnerships with the private sector for the funding and operating of passenger transport, toll highways and storm water is long overdue."

Comments: Alasdair Thompson tel 09 367 0911 (b)

09 303 3951 (h)

025 982 024

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