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Pressure Grows For Rates Inquiry

Pressure Grows For Rates Inquiry

22 August 2006

A Commission of Inquiry into local government funding is the best option for finding a long-term solution to the rates debacle, said Don Nicolson, Vice President of Federated Farmers of New Zealand.

"It was encouraging to hear New Zealand First say for the first time today that it wants a proper and well researched independent investigation by a Commission of Inquiry," Mr Nicolson said.

Federated Farmers has been calling for a Commission of Inquiry into local government funding for the past two years.

"Commissions inquire into any matter of major public importance or concern to the government of the day. It can be based on considerable public anxiety, which is clearly the case around rates.

"The media has been full of stories about the financial burden on people hammered by huge rate increases. The increases stem from burgeoning council spending funded on the basis of the value of property, and have little relationship to the use of council services.

"Farmers have been calling for a radical overhaul of local government funding because it saddles property owners rather than users of council services with the lion's share of rates.

"Councils have to raise revenue. So let's turn the issue over to a Commission of Inquiry which would study all alternatives for local government funding, and give interested parties in New Zealand the chance to put up their own options.

"Federated Farmers would prefer a Commission of Inquiry but, as a second option, would support other lesser inquiries (such as a select committee inquiry) as a positive step towards an overhaul of local government funding," Mr Nicolson said.

ENDS

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