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Wairoa District Council robbing its ratepayers


13 November 2012

Wairoa District Council robbing its ratepayers says Motel Association of NZ

Appallingly unethical behaviour by the Wairoa District Council shows some local authorities are out of control and government needs to make sure its crackdown on councils has real teeth, says the Motel Association of New Zealand (MANZ).

“For years we’ve put up with councils monopolistic behaviour through excessive rates and unnecessary fees and charges. But we’ve seen Wairoa District Council take this one step further, by allowing one of their executives to poach guests from a local motel,” says MANZ Chief Executive Michael Baines.
The Vista Motor Lodge in Wairoa has twice in last six months had the chief executive of a council subsidiary company offer discounted short-term accommodation to motel guests at a private residence he owns.

When the motel-owner complained of this behaviour to the council, no action was taken.

“This is shockingly unethical and unprofessional behaviour, and raises serious questions about the culture within this council”, Mr Baines says.

“To add insult to injury, this comes soon after the Wairoa District council imposed a rates increase of 14 per cent on the motel,” Mr Baines says.

The Vista Motor Lodge now has an annual rates bill of $36,450, on a per unit basis this is about twice the national average. There’s no way it can try and compete with someone offering a residential house with a fraction of the rates cost, Mr Baines says.

“The fact that the person doing this is a chief executive of a subsidiary company indicates Wairoa District Council does not give a damn about businesses in its area beyond how much in the form of rates it can bleed out of them.”

“The sooner central government can crack down on councils like this who abuse their power, the better,” Mr Baines concluded.


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