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RAM's 'equal shares' rates plan vetoed by ARC.

RAM's 'equal shares' rates plan vetoed by ARC.

Protest resignation of finance deputy chair.

'Equal justice denied homeowners' says RAM councillor

At today's crucial Auckland Regional Council meeting on rates policy, the "equal shares" plan put forward by RAM councillor Robyn Hughes was voted down by other councillors.

Robyn Hughes proposed that businesses and homeowners, the ARC's two ratepayer groups, each pay an equal share of the council's total rates take.

"Our equal shares plan would have ended the ARC's policy of forcing home ratepayers to subsidise business," said Robyn Hughes. "Last year, the ARC's own figures show that struggling homeowners subsidised corporate Auckland to the tune of $27 million. That's outrageous."

"This year, despite a microscopic rise in the business differential from 1.5 to 1.6, the homeowners' subsidy to business will be several millions more than last year. It just keeps getting worse for low and modest income people."

RAM's equal shares proposal would have required a significant rise in the business differential to around 4. That means business ratepayers would have paid four times more in the dollar than home ratepayers.

"That's way below North Shore City's 9.35 differential, yet nobody calls their mayor George Wood a radical," said Robyn Hughes. "The ARC's refusal to significantly increase the business differential shows that the ARC's centre-left councillors elected on 'fair rates' are actually to the right of a National Party supporter like George Wood on this issue."

"By voting down RAM's equal shares plan, the rest of the ARC have denied equal justice to homeowners," said Robyn Hughes.

The ARC's veto of RAM's equal shares plan was followed by the protest resignation of Robyn Hughes as deputy chair of the ARC Finance Committee.

"I resigned as finance deputy chair because I cannot play a leading role in a committee that oversees the ARC's rates when it's following a policy that denies equal justice to home ratepayers," explained Robyn Hughes.

She continues in her role as an ARC councillor from Manukau.

"RAM will be taking our equal shares rates plan to the region's citizens, and we will be taking it to other councils as well as the ARC. We believe that a Second Rates Revolt could well begin around RAM's equal shares plan, since grassroots Auckland is sick of continuing rates injustice."

Reprinted below is the paper distributed by Robyn Hughes to other ARC councillors at today's meeting.

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