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Rate Increases for No Change in Services Unfair

1 August 2006

MEDIA RELEASE


Large Rate Increases for No Change in Services – “Unfair and Reinforces Case for Reform”

The many Auckland ratepayers facing large rate increases without any change in the level of services received “deserve more than sympathy,” says Auckland Chamber of Commerce chief Michael Barnett.

“There are numerous alternatives to rates for funding the city’s new activities and which the council should be seriously considering,” said Mr Barnett.

He pointed out that within 24 hours of floating the idea that councils could make greater use of debt funding or improve efficiency by bundling regional services, the Auckland Chamber had been provided a number of other suggestions for reducing the traditional reliance on rate payers for funding council activities.

“No one should be forced into hardship because of a large increase in rates for no change in services, especially when it is clear there are other options,” said Mr Barnett.

He strongly encouraged the council to show that it is looking at other options to rates for funding activities, and will start by actioning the core principle that any increase of rates above inflation is unacceptable.

“I can’t agree with the rate supporters lobby recommending that ratepayers pay only the same rates as last year, plus 4% for inflation. Breaking the law is not the answer. The answer lies with council taking action that places the interests of rate payers at the top of its agenda,” concluded Mr Barnett.

ENDS

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