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Rates Rebellion Leaders Meet New ARC Chairman


11th November 2004

Rates Rebellion Leaders Meet New ARC Chairman.

Six-Point Plan To Move Forward On ARC Rating Issues

Rates Rebellion Still Simmering Beneath The Surface..

Leaders of the Rates Rebellion campaign met today with ARC chairman Mike Lee to discuss outstanding issues in relation to last years region-wide rates protest.

Following this discussion Rates Rebellion leaders will address the full council at its meeting next Monday to formally present a six-point proposal for the future of rating.

David Thornton said today, "While some politicians feel the rates rebellion ended with the election of a new ARC the fact is that many thousands of regional ratepayers are still angry and are still withholding all or part of their rates - especially penalties which have been added.

"Until these issues are addressed the Rates Rebellion will continue to simmer in the minds of many residential ratepayers.

"We are now making proposals to the ARC which we believe will bring the Rates Rebellion to an orderly conclusion and, at the same time, will set in motion a process to bring about radical changes to the way local councils are funded.

"This has been talked about for years but last years rates rebellion highlighted the need for urgent action.

"The new ARC should take leadership in establishing a regionwide project to formulate new funding methods which reflect ability to pay and services provided."

"Our six-point proposal will, if adopted by the ARC, give confidence to ratepayers that a course of action is in place which will bring sanity and equity to council funding in place of the present system of property tax which has long since passed its use-by date"

The six- points are

1. Resolve outstanding issues relating to ratepayers who still owe all or part of 2003/4 rates by (a) ARC waiving all unpaid penalties and (b) allowing up to 12 months for payment of any outstanding rates.

2. To consider increasing business differential next year to 1.75 or 2. This would reduce rates for residential ratepayers and partly compensate for the huge increases to that group of ratepayers in the 2003/4 year.

3. To review transport rates and introduce more 'bands' to reflect actual services provided

The introduction of a new transport rate this year did not reflect differing level of services actually provided. This could be remedied by introducing more 'bands' based on actual services.

4. Review Rates Collection process with a view to reverting to rates collection via local councils. 5. ARC to take regional lead in establishing a project to find alternatives to rates as the main source of council funding. The project to be completed within the three year term of the council 6. Pending the outcome of the alternative funding project, ARC to seek support of all local councils to push central Government for zero-rating of GST on council rates. Rates Rebellion leaders attending today's meeting were David Thornton [North Shore] Ron Mottram [Rodney] Grant Morgan [Manukau City].


ENDS


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