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Request for Ministerial review of the ARC.

Request for Ministerial review of the ARC.

Some weeks ago John Drury, on behalf of Orewa, and myself on behalf of Glenfield, wrote to the Minister of Local Government asking that he carry out a ministerial review of the ARC's handling of the rates issue.

Last Saturday I had a very brief meeting with the minister and two of his staff and it was agreed that we should make our final submissions on this request this week.

Those submissions were sent to the minister yesterday and included a series of 12 questions which we believe need to be investigated. Those questions are listed below.

A full copy of the submission will be posted on the following website early next week; www.ratesrebellion.org.nz

While we have no way of gauging what the ministers final decision may be we are convinced of the need for such a review - even though present Government policy is very much 'hands off' local government.

However the rates issue has provoked such outrage that we are hopeful that the minister will recognise the depth of feeling within the Auckland community and will respond positively to our call for an investigation based on the questions we have raised.

Keep the faith

David Thornton

The Questions..

We submit that a Ministerial review should investigate the following;

1. Did the council consult on its draft Annual Plan with an open mind?

2. Did the council take appropriate advice during the process of setting its funding and rating policy, and were there significant errors, later discovered, in papers presented to working parties detailing likely impacts of various rating scenarios on individual ratepayers?

3. Did the council make appropriate decisions in relation to the selection of a rates solution partner?

4. Has the council maintained the confidence of its ratepayers on its ability to set rates in a clearly understandable and on a fair and equitable basis as between different categories of ratepayers?

5. Did the council set its targeted rates correctly in relation to the Passenger Transport Rateable Area?

6. Did the council deliberately set a budget of rate collection which included a forecast non-payment of 30% of either ratepayers or income?

7. Does the council have in place the necessary process and resources to commence recovery action against defaulting ratepayers from 7th December 2003?

8. Under what circumstances and in what manner did the council obtain legal advice on its ability to reset rates?

9. Has the council's CEO instructed staff to prepare a 'nil' rate increase budget for the 2004/5 year and what would be the ramifications of such a policy?

10. Is the current state of the relationship between the council and the TLAs of the region conducive to good local government within the Auckland region?

11. Has the council followed the correct process for setting penalties?

12. Is the council's rate invoice fully in accordance with Section 46 of the Act?

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