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Rates Review good news for Auckland says Mayor



28 August 2007

Rates Review good news for Auckland says Mayor

Mayor of Auckland City Dick Hubbard says the Local Government Rates Inquiry is good news for Auckland.

“It backs up the policies we’ve introduced over the past three years including reducing the Uniform Annual General Charge (UAGC) and using prudent debt as a means of funding major long term infrastructure projects.”

He says the report shows clearly that Auckland is not out of line with other local authorities in New Zealand in terms of rates increases.

“Our rates increases over the past 10 years are broadly in line with the national average and our forecast rates over the next decade are in line with the national average,” he says, “Given that we have one of the highest population growth rates of any city in the country, this is no mean achievement.”

He welcomes the recommendation that central government pay rates on properties they own, eg schools, hospitals, universities and ports.

“I’ve been pushing for government to pay up since I have been mayor. It has always seemed grossly unfair that government properties are rate free but make extensive use of council services.”

He says in Auckland’s case it could mean an extra $20 million per year for the council, equivalent to a 5 per cent savings for ratepayers.

Mayor Hubbard also noted the report identified the problems associated with rating of Maori land and welcomes separate treatment of Maori land.

“It is quite unfair to rate Maori land on Pakeha monetary values.”

“I hope government will have the courage to implement the recommendations of this review,” he says, “It will be to Auckland’s distinct advantage.”


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