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Whangarei catch up rates rise too rapid

Thursday, May 25th, 2006

Whangarei catch up rates rise too rapid

Business objects to the Whangarei City Council's plan to raise rates by seven per cent a year for the next 10 years, the Employers & Manufacturers Association (Northern) told the council hearings today.

"The speed of the rates rise catch up is simply too rapid," said Peter Atkinson, EMA's executive charged with presenting the association's submission.

"Though we fully support the city's policy on development levies, Council is not doing enough to attract more businesses to the city," Mr Atkinson said.

"Success at getting more businesses to set up in Whangarei would result in more ratepayers to boost rates income.

"But the city discriminates against business with a differential rate five times higher than residential property owners pay.

"It's one of the highest in the region. The average tradesperson is being called on to subsidise the rates of well-to-do home owners.

"This, and the skimpy amount being budgeted for promoting business is making Whangarei seem business unfriendly.

"Congratulations to the city are due for Whangarei's state of the art library, and we are pleased that council is keen to consult further with EMA."

Mr Atkinson noted EMA membership in Whangarei totals 198 businesses and other organisations together employing 4830 staff and with an annual payroll of $228 million.

ENDS

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