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Petition to get rates issue to Select Committee

25th August 2006

Campaign launches nationwide parliamentary petition to get rates issue back to Select Committee

25% of all residential ratepayers become eligible for rates rebate – system is a ‘nonsense’

Options and parameters for new funding system outlined.

Speaking to an audience of more than 400 at a Grey Power North Shore meeting this afternoon, campaign leader David Thornton launched a nationwide petition asking Parliament to pass legislation placing limits on local council rates increases.

In a wide ranging speech David Thornton said that by setting up an Independent Inquiry the Government including NZ First had effectively removed the rates issue from Parliament.

This petition would be presented to Parliament and would be referred to a Select Committee, putting the issue back in front of MPs.

With the defeat of the Rating Cap Bill ordinary ratepayers had been thwarted in their objective of controlling rates increases.

David Thornton told his audience “There is nothing in place to protect ratepayers from significant rate increases next year and the years after – while the Independent Inquiry drags on and on. “We need to keep the whole issue in Parliament – the only place where changes can be made. “Our petition will put the issue right back into Parliament”.

Mr Thornton also criticised the need for the expanded Rates Rebate scheme – calling the system ‘nonsense’ because it created a new class of beneficiary in which 300,000 ratepayers, 25% of all residential ratepayers, were eligible for rebates.

David Thornton also gave the meeting a number of options as alternatives to rates, together with a draft set of parameters and guiding principles upon which a new system of funding local government should be based.

Finally he outlined some interim measures which could be speedily implemented to give ratepayers some relief within the present system

Text of Parliamentary Petition; We respectfully request Parliament to pass legislation to amend the Local Government (Rating) Act by including provisions to limit council rates increases, and to suspend rating revaluations, both measures to expire when new local funding legislation receives the Royal Assent.

ENDS

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