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ARC is a Disgrace: Many Councillors should resign

ARC is a Disgrace.....and many of the Councillors should resign!!!

Attn: ARC Councillors

This is not just a recent occurrence, I have now been participating in this ridiculous ARC rates saga since March of this year when ARC Councillors Philip Sherry and Ian Bradley first presented the ARC Draft Annual Plan at a Castor Bay Ratepayers Meeting on Wednesday 5 March 2003. At that very first meeting I quickly did some sums and worked out then and there that North Shore ratepayers were going to be severely affected.

This is an extract from the North Shore Times Advertiser 7th March Edition:

"Cr. Williams said the $400million odd rail service was expected to carry only 7000 people per day, yet the $220M busway on the Shore would transport about 21,000 people daily. He said this didn't make sense and once again the North Shore was being rated to pay for the rest of Auckland. "How's a train service to Papakura going to help a little old lady in Milford?" he asked. The new rating system, which is based on capital value, once again meant that Shore residents with valuable homes would be subsidising poorer people in south and west Auckland, he said. He called this "social engineering". Mr Williams called for the Shore, Rodney and close lying areas of Waitakere, to join forces and dump the ARC, and to form their own northern authority which would serve their interests. Mr Williams later told the North Shore Times Advertiser that two people in the audience worked out their ARC rates would increase by $300 and $400 respectively a year. He will urge the North Shore Council to make a submission against the increase, and urged Shore residents to do the same. "Let them hear how angry and upset we are." Shore businesses will be better off under the proposed system.Many will pay $500 to $600 less each year. Mr Bradley said this meant businesses would finally be treated equally on the Shore. But Mr Williams said that businesses can claim these rates off their taxes as a business expense, which ratepayers can't do"

How very sad it is that five months later everything I said and predicted at that 5 March meeting has come to fruition. Despite our North Shore ARC Councillors Bradley and Sherry saying at this meeting, and at subsequent community meetings, that this was only a "draft plan" and the ARC would listen and respond to submissions.....there have been no such changes to the ARC annual plan. (It should be noted also that at the Castor Bay R&R meeting Councillor Bradley stated that he was having to pay the ARC Transport Levy even though at Paremoremo where he lived they only had one bus a week serving the prison. Subsequently it was pointed out later in the evening to Cr Bradley that his Paremoremo property was in fact not in the ARC Transport Rateable area...so he would not be paying this levy. )

ARC Chair Gwen Bull, accompanied by Councillors Bradley and Sherry, then made a presentation to the North Shore City Council's Wed 30 April council meeting.....and stated that the ARC would consider all annual plan submissions....and said that should there be strong submissions in favour of altering the proposed rating scheme...then the ARC would respond accordingly. Gwen Bull stated in her address that they had not ruled out a Uniform Annual General Charge....and should submissions overwhelmingly support such a charge, then the ARC would give full consideration to this...and any other changes in the annual plan.

The ARC then received submissions to its Draft Annual plan from every TLA in the Auckland region. The TLA's advised against moving to Capital Value Rating, against removing the business differential, and recommended having a UAGC. Some 600 submissions in total were put to the ARC....mostly calling for measures along the same lines. The ARC had asked for submissions, had said they would respond should there be an overwhelming response on how the rating was being set......but at the end of the day this was all just wishful thinking.....with no intention to do anything other than was in the draft annual plan.

The ARC had no intention of ever altering any of the methods of rating. Their promises to consult and amend their rating procedures should the region and the wider community not support it were all out and out LIES.

And since the ARC rates bills have been sent out across the region...the lies continue.

ARC Councillor Brian Smith attended the Orewa R&R meeting on Saturday 2 August and promised the 500 plus crowd that he would support a review of the ARC rating scheme and would do what he could to help his Rodney constituents. He said the dropping of the business differential was not correct....and that his own business ARC rates in Silverdale had dropped significantly (something like $1200 down to $300). He said he would go to the ARC and support the residents of Rodney in their struggle to have the ARC reconsider this matter. And what was the result???? Cr. Brian Smith voted against the ARC re-setting the rates. He lied to that Orewa R&R meeting.......so should be removed from office forthwith.

Likewise North Shore ARC Councillors Sherry and Bradley......faced with an overwhelming call from North Shore ratepayers and the North Shore City Council to review the ARC rates...have both voted against resetting the rates. They have voted in direct opposition to the wishes of the vast majority of North Shore ratepayers. Even worse Cr Sherry also voted against reviewing penalty payments and instalment options.....which would help many of those on the Shore struggling to pay the huge ARC rate increases....particularly the elderly on fixed pensions and others on limited incomes. This is absolutely appalling.....that this ARC Councillor should vote in opposition to the clear direction of his constituents. He must resign forthwith as a result as he no longer has a mandate to act as an ARC Councillor representing the North Shore...and certainly does not deserve to hold the position of D

So quite clearly, the ARC has continued with a "litany of lies" for the past five months since the first public meeting detailed above that I attended on Wednesday 5 March in Castor Bay. They have never had any intentions of reviewing or altering the new ARC rating scheme.....their annual plan process and consideration of submissions were a complete sham.....and their subsequent dealings with the TLA's of the Auckland region and the ratepayers of the region have been deplorable. The "group of seven" ARC Councillors are therefore put on notice that there is no doubt that they will be removed from office at the October 2004 local body elections by the voting ratepayers of the Auckland region....and that when they fall from office in absolute disgrace they will do so in the knowledge that for ever and a day Aucklanders will remember them as having acted in a dishonourable and underhan

Yours sincerely

Andrew Williams – Councillor North Shore City

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