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Rates Inquiry Must Be Wide Ranging

Rates Inquiry Must Be Wide Ranging

23 August 2006

Farmers welcome the announcement that the government plans an independent inquiry into local government funding, said Don Nicolson, Vice President of Federated Farmers of New Zealand.

“Rates are of huge importance to farmers, so we are pleased the government is taking a fresh look at this issue.

“The inquiry’s terms of reference must be broad and go well beyond tinkering with the existing fatally flawed rating system. The review must also consider all the funding pressures being faced by councils (including roles and responsibilities) and all potential funding tools.

“Membership of the inquiry is also critical but it is unclear what the government has in mind. Ratepayers must be represented and it will not be good enough for this to be a cosy central-local government exercise with ratepayers looking in from the outside.”

Federated Farmers is eager to be involved both in the development of the terms of reference and the membership of the inquiry, Mr Nicolson said.

“Farmers have long called for an overhaul of local government funding, which at present saddles property owners rather than users of council services with the lion’s share of rates,” he said.


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