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Councils and ratepayers fall off government radar

Thursday, August 7th, 2008

Local councils and ratepayers fall off government radar

The Government's response to the Shand report shows it doesn't care about local councils or ratepayers, the Employers & Manufacturers Association (Northern) says.

EMA's chief executive Alasdair Thompson said the government promised to announce what it would do in response to the Shand recommendations last month, but its report just released has nothing helpful to say.

"The government's response to the Shand recommendations shows it can't be bothered assisting local councils do their job better," Mr Thompson said.

"The Shand report was commissioned by the government as a result of the rates revolts two years ago. Its recommendations raised the expectations of many of us that the government might genuinely want to improve the performance and funding of local councils.

"But there's no urgency. There was no response at all til this week, and the important issues have been kicked beyond the election.

"For instance, there's nothing on rating differentials, uniform annual general charges, charging for water and waste water, private sector water contracts, or removing Crown rates exemptions.

"These and other matters are waiting on further reports from government departments or being considered by ministers.

"It seems local councils and ratepayers will have to wait til next year for any helpful developments from Wellington."

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