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

 


Council congratulated for finances though stuck in the past

Hamilton Council congratulated for finances though stuck in the past


Though the Employers and Manufacturers Association has congratulated the Hamilton Council for outperforming its financial targets and getting its finances back into shape, it also said the Council seems to think it is still operating under the former Local Government Act.

At today’s Council hearings on its Annual Plan EMA’s Peter Atkinson advised the council it has a rare opportunity to change over its rating system to one based on capital value.

“Hamilton Council’s goal to balance its books by 2017 looks achievable, and we warmly congratulate the council on this,” Peter Atkinson told the Council hearings today.

“Saving $15 million this year and keeping debt down is a creditable achievement,” he said.

“But the 3.8 per cent increase in rates proposed is too high.

“While we strongly support the Council’s plan to review its rating system there appears no willingness to remove the business differential.

“Such a change would result in a fairer and more efficient rating system by aligning rates more closely with the benefits that ratepayers receive, and also with how other councils finance their activities.

“In not giving this due consideration the Council seems to be operating under the old Local Government Act.

“The role of local government used to be to achieve the ‘social, economic, environmental and cultural wellbeing of the community’ but these words were replaced in the 2012 Act by the words: ‘to meet the current and future needs of communities for good-quality local infrastructure, local public services, and performance of regulatory functions in a way that is most cost-effective for households and businesses.’

“Using rates differentials previously was said to be to help achieve a fair and equitable distribution in the general rate between categories of land having regard to matters of ‘social, economic, environmental and cultural wellbeing of the community,’ but this is no longer the basis for setting rates.

“Since this is the case, the existing Hamilton business rates differential policy must also be called into question. A re-think is required.


“EMA also supports Council introducing a Uniform Annual General Charge in the interests of its residents and ratepayers.

“Council’s response in the Plan to its ‘unsustainable’ debt levels which we support, includes the following:
· Return to surplus by 2017

· Limit debt levels to about the same level for the next 10 years
· Cut operating budgets by $11.7 million and reduce staff numbers
· Increase some user charges to bring in an extra $3.5 million per year
· Sell some assets and review others for possible sale.

“In our prescription these steps should be followed by moves phased over several years including:
· A capital value system of rating
· Reduced business differentials
· Introducing a Uniform Annual General Charge
· Water by metering
· Sewerage by volumetric measurement.”

ends

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

 

Law Commission: Review Of Search And Surveillance Act Begins

“For example, the Act was drafted before cloud-based storage of data was commonplace. In the light of these and other developments, the Commission will be examining whether the investigative powers in the Act are sufficient for law enforcement purposes. We will also consider whether the safeguards that surround those processes are adequate.” More>>

ALSO:

Houses, Campers And Cops: LGNZ Media Briefing

At their quarterly media briefing today Local Government New Zealand addressed areas where local authorities are feeling pressure and outlined their approach for the upcoming local body elections in September-October. More>>

ALSO:

17 Year Sentences In Baby Moko Case: Attorney General On Plea Bargain

“The Crown’s decisions in this case, including the decision to accept the manslaughter pleas, were motivated by the need to secure convictions for this horrendous killing and to avoid the significant risk that either of the defendants could escape such a conviction because of evidential issues.” More>>

ALSO:

As Govt Cuts Lobby Anti-Smoking Group Funds: On The Nation - Plain Packaging Debate

Imperial Tobacco leaves open possibility of law suit against New Zealand government if plain packaging is introduced, as planned. Says it’s a “last resort” but “of course we will defend the right to use our brands”. More>>

ALSO:

No Rail For New Harbour Crossing: National Giving Up On Rail In Auckland

The National Government’s decision to scrap two planned rail lines in Auckland shows it is giving up on a city-wide rail network in Auckland, and on thousands of commuters who sit in traffic jams every single day, the Green Party said today. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On The Ombudsman’s Verdict On Paula Rebstock And Ian Rennie

Unfortunately, the brave and damning report by Ombudsman Ron Paterson on the “flawed” and “unfair” inquiry conducted by Dame Paula Rebstock into events at MFAT pulls back the veil on a far wider issue. More>>

ALSO:

Charities' Report: Stressed Families - Overstretched Services

“Like so many of the whānau and families they serve social service organisations are under huge financial stress. The support demanded from desperate people in communities is far outreaching the resources available.” More>>

ALSO:

Detention: Wellingtonians Protest Treatment Of Refugees

Peace Action Wellington (PAW) and around 50 Wellingtonians blockaded the Australian High Commission, creating a symbolic detention centre to protest the Australian Government's policy of mandatory offshore detention for refugees and asylum seekers. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Regional
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news