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Rebellion Welcomes Early Consultation On Arc Rates

MEDIA RELEASE ..
From the REGIONAL RATEPAYERS REBELLION campaign
[The campaign fighting for changes to the ARC rating system]

Thursday, 22 January 2004

REBELLION WELCOMES EARLY CONSULTATION ON ARC RATES SYSTEM
MAJOR CHANGES SOUGHT TO RATING SYSTEM
TRANSPORT FUNDING PACKAGE WILL MEAN BIG RATE INCREASES.

We welcome the response to our request for early input into changes to the Auckland Regional Council's rating system for the next financial year.

The request was made at our December meeting with ARC chair Gwen Bull, and the council has issued a general invitation for interested parties to make initial submissions by 2nd February, for consideration before the Draft Annual Plan for 2004/5 is finalised.

Our submission on the next Plan asks for

* A business differential of 2.4 to 3.5

* A rural differential of 0.5

* A Uniform Annual General Charge of $50 per rateable unit

* Options for using Land value instead of Capital value - or a mixture of both.

* Options for Stepped differentials for residential rates - including an upper limit on rates payable

* A review of the option for ARC rates to be collected by local councils

We are also seeking ARC support for an independent and total review of local authority funding to find ways of removing the inequities in the present rating legislation. We are entering into discussion with two Universities to design an appropriate research programme. Other local councils are also being approached to support this initiative.

We are also seeking meetings with business groups in an attempt to reach common ground on the vexatious issue of differentials.

The Government transport funding package announced on 12 December appears to call for significant increases in both local council and regional rates and the Rebellion campaign is gearing up to fight on behalf of all ratepayers for fairness and equity in the rating system

We are asking the ARC to re-evaluate the need for the 18% rate increase forecast for the next financial yaer.

Finally, we are asking the ARC to remove all penalties being charged on the current year's rate. We believe that there is ambiguity in ARC's original rates resolution and it is unfair that ratepayers should be penalised because of that. We are also aware of some ratepayers being treated differently to others.

Our latest information from the ARC in mid-December was that 45,000 ratepayers had paid nothing at all, and a further 58,000 had paid less than demanded or were paying by methods other than direct debit as demanded by the ARC.

That means there are still over 100,000 active rate rebels.

ENDS


CONTACT spokesman DAVID THORNTON email David@kandu.co.nz


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