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Rodney's rates hike excessive

Monday, May 15th, 2006

Rodney's rates hike excessive; lack of commercial land raises alarm

- EMA takes business case to District Council hearings

Rodney's proposed rates increase this year is unacceptably high, the Employers & Manufacturers Association told the Rodney District Council hearings today on its Long Term Council Community Plan (LTCCP).

"Rodney is increasing rates by 8 per cent this year though inflation is 2.8 per cent, and it's simply not acceptable," said Peter Atkinson, the EMA executive charged with presenting as the association's submission

"Rodney's business ratepayers expect the council to show leadership by finding ways to boost their productivity and lowering costs, as all businesses have to do.

"There is no planning evident in the LTCCP on what the council intends doing to drive down ratepayer's costs.

"Business is offended by Rodney's ongoing and unfair discrimination against business ratepayers. The council shows it's disinterest in business by charging commercial ratepayers 4.3 times more in rates than it charges residences of equivalent value.

"The council makes no attempt to justify this business differential though required to do so by law," Mr Atkinson said.

"Council is running behind its promised review of rates which is the right time to drop rates based on Land Value and adopting instead either Capital Value or Annual Value without a business differential.

"EMA applauds Rodney's use of targeted rates and maintaining uniform annual charges at the maximum permitted.

"EMA also supports Rodney's ambitious investment programme in infrastructure, but is becoming alarmed at the shortage of suitable land for industry and commerce in the Auckland region.

"We are gratified at the positive response when we raised this issue since Rodney has an important role in seeking to balance the zoning of land for business, commercial, residential and rural purposes."

Mr Atkinson noted EMA has 98 business members in Rodney District which employ 1470 staff and have an annual payroll of $56.4 million.

ENDS


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