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Rates Increase and Swing to the Left in the Wind

Rates Increase and Swing to the Left in the Wind

Councillor Scott Milne, leader of the Citizens and Ratepayers Now Team on Council, said today that he is extremely concerned at the directions that have been foreshadowed by draft resolutions that will be considered at Thursday's Annual Plan Direction Setting meeting.

"Aucklander's, particularly in the business community, are in for a shock rates demand, if these initiatives come to fruition", he said.

Many of these are alluded to in the open agenda for the meeting which has been circulated.

Councillor Milne said that the City did not vote for huge rate increases or a radical left social agenda.

Already the papers indicate the following are being considered;

* A projected rate increase of 9.4% - more than 3 times the rate of inflation.

* A possible change to the rating system that would see the uniform charges removed which in turn would see rates in suburbs such as Eastern Bays, Remuera, Parnell and Ponsonby increase by as much as 20-30%.

* A proposal to move the city from being net debt free back into debt, the interest on which will need to be serviced by rates.

* Substantial increase in rates for the business community due to the removal of the uniform charges - a community which is vital for the economic development and therefore the welfare of the city

* The possible re-involvement of the city in housing, which is more properly the role of central government - housing for the needy is required, but it should not depend on the vagaries of which of the 80 New Zealand local authorities people reside in.

* Other possible priorities which demonstrate that the group lead by Dr Hucker has taken its "eye off the ball" include;

* the nebulous "celebration of diversity" without the necessary goal of achieving a more cohesive city;

* making subjective judgements on people's wealth and ability to pay rates through various rates remission and rebate schemes;

* treaty based issues likely to see the City go beyond the requirements of the Local Government Act;

Councillor Milne stated that he hoped that common sense would prevail at the end of the day and the sensible pragmatic stewardship of the city alluded to by the Mayor, Dick Hubbard, in his election campaign, would prevail.

Certainly, my team will be working towards this goal, but much depends on the voting pattern of Christine Caughey and Richard Simpson, the Action Hobson candidates.


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