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ARC Trying To Put Off Legal Action

24 August 2004

ARC Trying To Put Off Legal Action Before Election.

Protesting Ratepayers Still Waiting For Legal Action Decision.

A report to the Auckland Regional Council on Monday showed that over 19,000 ARC ratepayers had still not paid all their rates as at the end of the last financial year on June 30th.

We believe many of these 'non-payers' were deliberately withholding some part of their rates in
support of the ratepayers rebellion of last year.

Some ratepayers have called us to say they will not pay - particularly penalties - and are waiting for the ARC to take legal action.

At yesterday's meeting it was reported that no decisions had been made on how or when to prosecute non-payers - this decision is due to be made by the ARC Finance Committee at its September meeting - just days before postal voting commences for a new ARC. This timing would give the ARC the opportunity to delay notifying ratepayers until after the election.

The ARC has decided that it will be approaching the banks where non-payers have mortgages with a view to demanding payment of outstanding rates. The banks will be required to make those payments after 1st November and add the costs to the mortgage, as permitted under the Local Government (Rating) Act.

RatesRebellion sought to address the Finance Committee on these issues but were denied speaking rights by committee chairman Councillor Philip Sherry - who is not seeking re-election.

RatesRebellion spokesman David Thornton says "The council has obviously delayed taking legal action in view of the forthcoming election - but time has run out and they must explain what they are going to do before the postal voting in the election commences.

"By leaving the decision to the very last minute ARC politicians are obviously hoping that legal action against individual non-payers will not arrive in homes before postal voting begins on September 17th. This is a cowardly way to behave. We believe ARC staff are all ready to take action but are awaiting the political decision. The new council will have to move quickly if it is to prevent mortgagee action on 1st November".

ENDS

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