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Manukau: Lower Rates Petition Successful

Lower Rates Petition Successful

Howick Councillor Jami-Lee Ross is welcoming the move by the Manukau City Council which will see it adopt the lowest local body rates increase of 2.5 percent for the 2005/06 year. As the Council adopted its draft Annual Plan last month, it voted to use $4.8million of an expected dividend from the Auckland International Airport.

“This move by the Council will see that more money will be left in the pockets of Manukau City ratepayers and I’m pleased to see that happen” said Cr Ross. “Ideally the best way to keep rates increases down is to reduce wasteful expenditure, but unfortunately the majority of Councillors are unwilling to do that. The next best option for the benefit of ratepayers is to pass on the dividend received from our city’s airport shareholding.”

Cr Ross last month launched The Lower Rates Petition in protest to the previously proposed increase of between 5 and 6 percent. During the month of March over 2000 residents and ratepayers signed the petition and helped Cr Ross to collect signatures in their community.

“The Lower Rates Petition was launched to put pressure on the Council to do the right thing and minimise the burden to ratepayers with any future rates increase. After only 1 month of collecting signatures the petition has been successful by forcing the Council to slice its proposed increase by more than half.

“Before the 2004 Local Body Election most candidates promised to keep rates increases no higher than the rate of inflation. By flirting with increases greater than inflation many Councillors were at risk of betraying the people that voted for them in good faith. I had petition forms flooding in everyday in protest to the Council’s prior actions and I’m now happy that they have come to their senses.”

The 2.5 percent rates increase is only a proposal in the Manukau City Council draft Annual Plan that will soon be ready for public consultation. Cr Ross acknowledges that nothing is set in stone until the final plan is adopted in late July, but doesn’t believe the Council would be so foolish as to recant on this new development.

“Now that the petition has proven successful and ratepayers are in a better position for the next rating year, myself and other volunteers won’t need to actively collect signatures from now on. We have achieved our goal and every person who has been involved in this process should be very proud of their efforts.”


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