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ARC Gearing Up To Take Legal Action

2 September 2004

ARC Gearing Up To Take Legal Action Against Protesting Ratepayers On 1st November - After Local Elections.

The Auckland Regional Council is gearing up to take legal action against ratepayers who took part in the ratepayers' rebellion - but not until after the local body election in October.

A report to the ARC Finance Committee, scheduled for 23rd September, suggests November 1st as the day on which legal action will be commenced against anyone owing more than $25.

This action must be approved by the ARC politicians and is likely to go to the last Council meeting on September 27th half-way through the postal voting period..

The ARC says it has received legal advice that the new council, to be elected on 9th October, will probably not have the power to waive penalties charged on top of the rates for the 2003/4 year.

In a report dated 26th July, ARC Director of Operations states that "there are potential problems with any policy to remit unpaid rates or penalties from the previous year"

The 'RatesRebellion-FRESH START' team is promising to remit those penalties because the ARC had applied them unfairly.

Spokesman David Thornton said today, "We have clear evidence that the administration of the collection of rates last year was a total shambles and that thousands of ratepayers were not even billed for rates until almost the end of the financial year. That is in equitable and must be grounds for a new council to set a penalty remission policy backdated to last year.

"We also believe that the thousands of ratepayers who decided to pay by sending in cheques every month, or paid 10% a month through the Post Office, should not be penalised due to the ambiguity of the wording on the rates demands"

ENDS

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