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Local Councils Told To Pay Up To Schools – NZSTA

New Zealand School Trustees Association is hitting out at local councils that are diddling schools out of money that is rightfully theirs.

Some councils are refusing to refund wrongfully collected general rates levied on schoolhouses, despite Local Government New Zealand providing legal advice that these houses were exempt from this charge.

The exemption, which is applicable to schoolhouses that are tenanted by a school staff member, has also been backed up by the Auditor General’s Office.

NZSTA President Chris France says while a good number of councils have agreed not to collect the rates in the future, some are refusing to repay the money that they didn’t have a right to charge in the first place.

Some schools are owed several thousands of dollars.

“Local Government NZ has got legal opinion that says schools do not have to pay general rates for a schoolhouse occupied by a staff member, which is something NZSTA has been fighting for. It is great that some councils have agreed to pay the money back, but it is extremely disappointing that others are flying in the face of this clear legal advice and are stubbornly refusing to return the money.”

Chris France says the exemption is acknowledgement that schools are not funded for this type of expenditure.

“The behaviour of these councils is completely intolerable and NZSTA will be actively working with boards to fight to get what is rightfully theirs. This money is for students and their education, not to boost council coffers.”

[ends]

For more information contact Chris France.
Phone: (025) 441-397.

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