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High Manukau Business Rates Differential Slammed

Media statement
Friday, May 27th, 2005

High Manukau business rates differential slammed

Business has sharply criticised Manukau City Council for maintaining its high anti-business rates differential.

In its submission to Council this afternoon on the city's annual plan, the Employers & Manufacturers Association (Northern) said it is extremely disappointed the business rates differential is still being held at the second highest level in the region, at 6.28.

"Businesses are the lifeblood of Manukau," said EMA's chief executive, Alasdair Thompson.

"So it makes no sense for council to persist in charging them $6.28 more in rates for every $1 it charges for an equivalent value of residential property.

"Many residential property owners own properties of far higher value than businesses, but it's the business property owners who are called on to subsidise the well heeled residential properties."

"EMA acknowledges the general rates increase proposed this year at 3.5 per cent is lower than originally set out in its Long Term plan (LTCCP) last year, and to which we objected.

"But Council's expenditure has been growing rapidly, and if it were not for the special dividend payout from Auckland International Airport, Manukau's rates would be going up this year by an unacceptable six per cent or more.

"It's alarming to see rates next year and beyond are also expected to rise by at least six per cent. No business can afford to hike its prices like this, and business can't afford for its city council to do it.

"Business does not accept that Manukau City is exempt from finding ways to become more cost effective. Council appears to be making no efforts to boost its efficiency and productivity, though government is asking this of every private sector business.

"EMA supports Manukau's set of rating principles, and the introduction of reasonable development contributions."

"Our submission was made on behalf of EMA's 1060 member companies and other organisations in Manukau City which together employ 32,898 staff, and have an annual payroll over $1.3 billion.

ENDS

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