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Only 5 Signatures Needed To Recall Full Council


Relief For Ratepayers Today - And Only 5 Signatures Needed To Recall Full Council Within 24 Hours.

Ratepayers can, in my view, pay only 10 per cent of their rates today - and cannot be penalised in any way.

My belief is based on the council resolution which set the rates on1st July 2003.

Relevant extracts are as follows, with my comment below each extract,

Copies of the full resolution are obtainable from Ewen Hutchinson at the ARC,

PENALTIES

Pursuant to sections 57 and 58 of the Local Government (Rating) Act 2002, the following penalties may be added by the Council to unpaid rates:

(i) For rates assessed in the 2003/2004 financial year, a 10 percent penalty on any rates that are unpaid after the due date for payment; and

(ii) For rates assessed in any financial year, a 10 percent penalty on any rates which are unpaid 5 working days after the date of this resolution.

(iii) For rates to which a penalty has been added under paragraph (ii), a further penalty of 10 percent on any rates unpaid 6 months after that penalty was added.

The important word is 'may'' - the resolution does not say the ARC WILL add the penalty - it says may

In my view the ARC would need to pass a new resolution in order to enforce the penalty.

Again this is possibly ambiguous.

PAYMENT OF RATES

Rates may be paid by any of the following methods:

* By pre-arranged direct debit annually or in ten equal payments over ten months;

* By post, using the freepost reuseable envelope provided;

* By telephone / internet banking;

* In person at any NZ Post or Books & More outlet throughout New Zealand;

* By Visa or MasterCard via our web site, www.arc.govt.nz, telephone banking or by post; and

* In person at our Council Office at 21 Pitt Street, Auckland, between the hours of 8am to 5pm Monday to Friday.

The important point is the first bullet point which is at best ambiguous - I am taking this to mean that the word 'or' stands alone and offers an annual payment by direct debit OR ten equal payments over 10 months by any method listed in the following bullet points.

The importance of the rates resolution has been underscored in advice from the councils lawyers - and is used as their basis for saying that the rates cannot be reset without a lengthy and expensive process.

If the ARC is following that legal advice that it must accept the 10 per cent argument and the 'no penalty' implication.

COUNCIL CAN BE RECALLED IMMEDIATELY

I have asked ARC councillor Mike Lee to obtain the five signatures needed to call an Extraordinary Meeting of the Council.

Please contact him if you wish to get up to date news on that.


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