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Hot Councils finalists announced

Hot Councils finalists announced

The Local Government Forum today announced finalists in the 'Hot Councils 2004' award.

The awards aim to give recognition to those councils which are sensible spenders and that look after their constituents by keeping a lid on rates. They give each of New Zealand's 85 councils a score based on criteria including rating and spending discipline, administration of the Resource Management Act, and local democracy.

The Forum, made up of business and farming groups, wants to ensure that urban and rural ratepayers get value for money from the rates they pay.

Forum chairman Simon Carlaw said ranking councils' performance will give useful information to ratepayers about how they should vote in this year's local body elections.

Forum member Charlie Pedersen, also Vice President of Federated Farmers, said rural ratepayers will be particularly interested to see which rural, provincial, and regional councils top the list, given the high level of rates that farmers pay and the poor spending decisions by some councils.

The winners will be announced on Tuesday 27 April. The top-ranked councils making the finals are:

Metropolitan Councils Hamilton Lower Hutt Tauranga Upper Hutt Waitakere

Provincial Councils Ashburton Franklin Horowhenua Western Bay of Plenty South Waikato

Rural Councils Clutha Opotiki South Wairarapa Waimate Westland

Regional Councils Bay of Plenty Hawkes Bay Northland Otago Taranaki

*The Local Government Forum comprises farming, forestry and business organisations affected by local government decisions: Federated Farmers of NZ, NZ Forest Owners Association, NZ Retailers Association, Business NZ, NZ Business Roundtable

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