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ARC Turning Democracy into Demockery

ARC Turning Democracy into Demockery

Less than a week ago an undisclosed number of ARC ratepayers received notices dated 4th February 2004 demanding payment within 7 days of the date of the notice. This was, of course, a physical impossibility because the notices were received at least 7 days after 4th February.

The high-handed tone of the notice upset many ratepayers including me. At 7.45 pm on 12/2/04,the day I received my notice, I contacted Gwen Bull who had not seen the actual letter sent out. I asked if any Councillors had. She did not know.

Next morning, 13/2/04, I wrote to the Minister of Local Government and to the ARC. Through Lynn Fisher I posed the following 4 questions to all Councillors.

1) Did you read the second reminder notice before it was sent out to ratepayers?
2) Did you vote to selectively target ratepayers owing more than $500 in rates to be sent a legal notice as a third reminder?
3) Are you as a Councillor prepared to read the 3rd notice before it is sent out to ratepayers?
4) On what date is it proposed to send those notices?

To date I have received 2 replies and a generalisation.

The replies were:- Sandra Coney (13/2/04)

1) No 2) No 3) Yes 4) according to Ewen Hutchinson, about 17 Feb or thereafter.

Mike Lee (17/2/04)

1) No 2) No 3) Yes 4) Not sure will find out

The generalisation was:- Michael Barnett (16/2/04)

"Gary the notices sent from the ARC should have been segmented into more definable groups; should have had a more targeted message given the sensitive nature of the issue. Any future communication with them will reflect this view."

I was disappointed that when I rang Councillor Barnett he said he was not prepared to answer my specific questions specifically. I am even more disappointed that 10 Councillors, including Gwen Bull, have chosen, to date, not to respond in writing.

- Gary Osborne

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