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Residents Win From Low Business Rates

Media Release 3 March 2000

“All Wellingtonians will lose if their shops, restaurants, hairdressers and banks are forced to pay higher rates,” Wellington Mayor Mark Blumsky said today.

Mr Blumsky was commenting during today’s crucial council meeting to discuss the 2000/2001 Draft Annual Plan that will help determine whether rates increases are needed.

“I am committed to achieving a rates increase below five percent and ideally I would like it to be zero percent,” he said.

“Obviously we want householders to pay as little as possible but that also applies to businesses.”

Mr Blumsky explained that most Wellington businesses were not gigantic multinationals but small and medium sized enterprises that Wellingtonians used everyday. These businesses provided Wellingtonians with jobs and assured the vibrancy of the city.

“If we increase their rates, these businesses will be forced to pass that on to consumers, cut back their expansion plans or leave the city altogether. That’s good for no one.”

Mr Blumsky welcomed comments by Councillors Pepperell, Varnham, Ritchie and Morrison that Wellingtonians would suffer if residents were forced to pay higher rates. But he urged them to broaden their view and see that that also applied to business rates.

“This is not a zero sum game, with residents winning if businesses lose. The key is to ensure that Wellingtonians win by helping build a more dynamic business sector. One of the best ways council can help achieve that is by keeping business rates low.”

Mr Blumsky said he hoped the comments by Councillors Pepperell, Varnham, Ritchie and Morrison were not motivated by populist, anti-business attitudes.

“I hope they have a more positive vision than that.”

Wellington City Council’s complex rating system currently places a greater rates burden on businesses than residents.

END

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