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Business losing faith in ARC

Media statement Tuesday, January 10th, 2006

Business losing faith in ARC

Auckland business is taking the Auckland Regional Council to task over the council’s repeated failures to honour its commitments over the introduction of its business rates differential.

The ARC business differential was set 1.5 times higher than rates of residential and other properties in 2004/5, then raised to 1.6 in the current year, without the ARC honouring its legal obligations to consult with business or demonstrate that business property owners receive extra benefits sufficient to warrant the higher level of rating.

ARC rates are paid on capital value meaning business in general is paying far more in rates than most other properties.

“Auckland business has lost trust and confidence in the ARC,” said Alasdair Thompson, chief executive of the Employers & Manufacturers Association (Northern).

The EMA is leading the issue which has the backing also of the Auckland Chamber of Commerce, Heart of the City, The NZ Property Council and the Business Roundtable.

“The ARC has failed to meet its legal obligations to consult on the business differential, or to justify its punitive action against Auckland business,” Mr Thompson said.

“The council has ignored Auckland business’ repeated calls to engage in a timely manner on the issue.

“Its treatment of one of its major constituent groups has been crude and illegal. It’s totally unacceptable.

“The ARC stated several times it would respond to us within specific timeframes on the business differential but it has not met its commitments. This has been going on for two years.

“Auckland business has had enough.

“Business enjoys constructive relationships and healthy dialogue with all other councils in the region except the ARC. We have supported many of their objectives, including those of the ARC.

“But now we are questioning the ARC’s competence and objectivity; its performance appears to have deteriorated rapidly since the last local government elections.

“Auckland business is agreed to take the next steps to force the council to meet its ethical and legal obligations by all the means available to us.”


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