Local Govt | National News Video | Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Search

 


Wood supports independent rates inquiry

Statement by North Shore City Mayor George Wood

Wood supports independent rates inquiry August 23, 2006

North Shore City Mayor George Wood is delighted by the Government’s announcement of an independent inquiry into local government funding.

Mr Wood says the full inquiry is a far better option than a parliamentary select committee review as long as the terms of reference are wide-reaching enough to address the community’s concerns regarding rating, user charges and development contributions.

“This is good news,” says the third-term mayor of New Zealand’s fourth largest city which is budgeting to invest $1.7 billion over the next 10 years on (capital) infrastructural programmes.

“The inquiry must take more than just a cursory look at the wide range of issues, including addressing affordability and people’s ability to pay.

“I certainly would approach this in a positive manner and know that my fellow councillors who share my concerns about the impact that rates have on our citizens, especially those on low and fixed incomes, would co-operate fully with an inquiry,” he says.

“The inquiry team must come to Auckland to hear from the seven local councils and regional council that represent nearly a third of New Zealand’s population.

“The Auckland region must come together and prepare a detailed assessment of the projected funding needed for the short and long term.

“Aucklanders need certainty that the Government will commit to providing long term funding to Auckland so that there will be a clear way forward, showing who is to contribute which parts of the various budgets.

“We also need to sharpen our pencils and work together as a region to finding greater efficiencies and savings by looking at the ways we do our business.”

Mayor Wood and the North Shore City Council have, like most other local authorities, been asked to explain why rates are rising above the level of inflation.

While some ratepayers accept that greater investment is needed to catch up after years of neglect and lack of foresight, others will not accept that the blunt funding tool that is property rates is fair. Similarly, many large scale property developers are fighting against contributing towards the costs of growth-related infrastructure.

George Wood says his council is seeking to balance the pressures to hold rate increases with ever-increasing community expectations and legal obligations.

“The main reason for our level of rates increases is the capital programme required over the ten years to provide the service that ratepayers have requested through various consultation processes.

“Each $10 million of loan-funded capital expenditure adds slightly less than 1 per cent to the average rates bill.

“In this year (2006/07), there is $87 million of loan-funded capital work requiring an 8.1 per cent increase to cover the extra interest, loan repayments, and depreciation and operating costs of the new assets after allowing for the increased rates collected from new properties. “Inflation has been approximately 4 per cent over the last 12 months and this adds an extra $5.8m to our operating costs and an extra $3.7m to our revenue. The net effect is a 1.6 per cent rates increase.

“This adds up to a 9.7 per cent rates increase, however we’ve increased rates by an average of 9.5 per cent by savings in operating costs through efficiencies and procurement negotiation.“

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

 

Also, Loan Interest: Productivity Commission On Tertiary Education

Key recommendations include better quality control; making it easier for students to transfer between courses; abolishing University Entrance; enabling tertiary institutions to own and control their assets; making it easier for new providers to enter the system; and facilitating more and faster innovation by tertiary education providers... More>>

ALSO:

Higher Payments: Wellington Regional Council Becomes A Living Wage Employer

Councillor Sue Kedgley said she was delighted that the Wellington Regional Council unanimously adopted her motion to become a Living Wage employer, making it the first regional council in New Zealand to do so. More>>

ALSO:

Scoop Images:
Dame Patsy Reddy Sworn In As Governor-General

This morning Dame Patsy Reddy was sworn in as the New Zealand Realm’s 21st Governor-General. The ceremony began with a pōwhiri to welcome Dame Patsy and her husband Sir David Gascoigne to Parliament. More>>

ALSO:

Ruataniwha: DOC, Hawke's Bay Council Developer Take Supreme Court Appeal

The Department of Conservation and Hawke's Bay Regional Investment Company (HBRIC) are appealing to the Supreme Court over a conservation land swap which the Court of Appeal halted. More>>

ALSO:

With NZ's Marama Davidson: Women’s Flotilla Leaves Sicily – Heading For Gaza

Women representing 13 countries spanning five continents began their journey yesterday on Zaytouna-Oliva to the shores of Gaza, which has been under blockade since 2007. On board are a Nobel Peace Laureate, three parliamentarians, a decorated US diplomat, journalists, an Olympic athlete, and a physician. A list of the women with their background can be found here. More>>

Gordon Campbell: On The Key Style Of Crisis Management

At Monday’s post Cabinet press conference Key was in his finest wide- eyed “Problem? What problem?” mode. No, there wasn’t really a problem that top MPI officials had been at odds with each other over the meaning of the fisheries policy and how that policy should be pursued... More>>

ALSO:

Mt Roskill: Greens Will Not Stand In Likely Post-Goff By-Election

“The Green Party’s priority is changing the Government in 2017, and as part of that we’ve decided that we won’t stand a candidate in the probable Mt Roskill by-election... This decision shows the Memorandum of Understanding between Labour and the Green Party is working." More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Regional
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news