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Poll Tax must be considered

MEDIA RELEASE

6th March 2014

[Statement from David Thornton]

Mayor’s ‘new’ local income tax ideas are a revisit of the 2007 Independent Rates Inquiry.

A form of Poll Tax must be considered as an alternative.

I congratulate the Mayor on raising the issue of finding alternatives to council rates as the main source of council funds.

Local income tax has been suggested many times as a possible method of funding councils and examples of the tax are in place in Scandinavia and other European nations.

The Independent Rates Inquiry, after a cursory look, rejected the tax as being too complex with too many problems. The Inquiry did not support the Tax

The Inquiry also did not support any form of Poll Tax, pointing to the problems in Britain in the early 90s when a ‘community services charge’ was introduced.

The Independent Rates Inquiry was set up as a sop to ratepayers around the nation who were screaming for a ‘cap’ on rates increases.

By rushing to complete its report the Inquiry failed to undertake any detailed research into the possibilities of many of the alternatives suggested by the many submitters to the Inquiry’s hearings.

I firmly believe that a Citizens Tax [Poll Tax] can be developed which would see every citizen above a certain age contribute to the cost of running the city in which they live. Such a Tax would make rebates available for the young, the elderly, the sick – and for other groups who could make a case for exemption.

Last year I suggested that the Mayor should set up a research project on alternatives to rates, based on Auckland’s 1.6 million inhabitants, with the aim of producing a detailed plan for a funding system for the SuperCity.

I believe an Auckland-only project would be completed in much shorter time than a nation-wide project which the Mayor is calling for.

A new funding system for one third of the nation’s people would be a suitable model for the rest of the country to adopt or adapt.

ends

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