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Chamber looks to Government for rating leadership

Media Release

19 January 2000

Chamber looks to Government for leadership on rating issue

Wellington Regional Chamber of Commerce Chief executive, Claire Johnstone, has supported calls to review the local government rating systems.

Her comments follow Wellington Mayor, Mark Blumsky’s call for scrapping rates and moving to a North American a good and service tax in order to collect revenue.

Mrs. Johnstone said she supported an investigation into the rating system and suggested that another model which should be considered is the British model which allows central government to raise taxes for local authorities, and allocate funds to priority regions. Local government administers the revenue and delivers the services purchased.

“How rates are set and spent has been sitting well-down on the New Zealand government’s agenda, and the time has come for the issue to be properly attended to. We have basically had the same system for the past 50 years and society has changed dramatically and so has local government. A review is needed,” she said.

“Local authorities are responsible for $30 billion dollars worth of assets, they have a major influence on this country’s economy, and the health of our business sector, attention to issues such as rating should be paid.” Claire Johnstone said.

Mrs Johnstone said past governments had considered reforms to local government, but little change had been implemented other than in 1989. Last year, the Chamber successfully lobbied the former government to have the tax on rates reviewed by Internal Affairs, and is now looking forward to the Department’s report.

She welcomed a debate on local government rating powers, saying the Chamber was keen to promote removing the differential system of rating between residents and commerce. “If there is a much fairer or more effective model of collecting rates, then we should consider it,” Claire Johnstone said.


For further comment contact Claire Johnstone 472 7763

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