Book Reviews | Gordon Campbell | News Flashes | Scoop Features | Scoop Video | Strange & Bizarre | Search

 


ARC's Rates Risk Public Transit


ARC's Rates Risk Public Transit

By Rohan G.H. Quinby - www.geocities.com/rohanq.rm

I am taking back all the good things that I have been saying about the Auckland Regional Council. At least, this Auckland Regional Council. They may just manage to set back the development of a comprehensive public transit network for another hundred years.

The simple truth is that the ARC is blaming the increase in rates on the growing costs of public transport, when in fact the new rates represent a victory of the region’s business elite at the expense of residential ratepayers. The new ARC rates aren’t just regressive taxation; they are a massive subsidy to the corporate sector paid for by you and me. And ARC is using long awaited increases in transport costs as a cover for a profound redistribution of wealth in favour of the wealthy.

In the rest of the world, rates are calculated differently for business and residential properties. Why? Because most jurisdictions realize that people who derive profit from property should pay more than people who simply live in a house. It is similar to the principle of progressive taxation; the wealthy should pay more tax than the poor.

ARC, under pressure from the Auckland Regional Chamber of Commerce managed to overturn this principle. In a submission to ARC’s draft annual plan for 2003/4, the Chamber asked ARC to “imagine a region where business is welcomed”. ARC has done more than just imagine. They have done away with differentials for business and eliminated special rates for rural properties.

Michael Barnett, Chief Executive of the Chamber and an ARC Councillor authored the submission. Without a blush, he attacked the idea of using rates to fund infrastructure by asking ARC to consider “whether it is fair that ratepayers should be expected to pay for services most won’t use, at least in the short-term.” He argued instead for a user-pay system. If you aren’t a member of the Chamber, you pay.

The supposition is that business neither uses public transit, nor derives any benefit from it. And yet, in another Chamber submission to Infrastructure Auckland, Barnett complained that the costs to Auckland’s economy as a result of congestion were in excess of $1 billion a year. In fact, he asked, why not speed up the programme of public transport spending?

It should concern everyone in the Auckland region that ARC has managed to introduce a regressive rating scheme that subsidises businesses and corporations. But the fact that they have used transport costs as a cover for these increases in a city with already fragile political support for a comprehensive public transport system is an outrage. The public reaction against the rates increase could result in a backlash against any further development of Auckland's inadequate transport system.

We may find that Auckland could have to wait another hundred years for a modern, integrated transit system.

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Top Scoops Headlines

 

Werewolf: Living With Rio’s Olympic Ruins

Mariana Cavalcanti Critics of the Olympic project can point a discernible pattern in the delivery of Olympics-related urban interventions: the belated but rushed inaugurations of faulty and/or unfinished infrastructures... More>>

Live Blog On Now: Open Source//Open Society Conference

The second annual Open Source Open Society Conference is a 2 day event taking place on 22-23 August 2016 at Michael Fowler Centre in Wellington… Scoop is hosting a live blog summarising the key points of this exciting conference. More>>

ALSO:

Buildup:

Gordon Campbell: On The Politicising Of The War On Drugs In Sport

It hasn’t been much fun at all to see how “war on drugs in sport” has become a proxy version of the Cold War, fixated on Russia. This weekend’s banning of the Russian long jumper Darya Klishina took that fixation to fresh extremes. More>>

ALSO:

Binoy Kampmark: Kevin Rudd’s Failed UN Secretary General Bid

Few sights are sadder in international diplomacy than seeing an aging figure desperate for honours. In a desperate effort to net them, he scurries around, cultivating, prodding, wishing to be noted. Finally, such an honour is netted, in all likelihood just to shut that overly keen individual up. More>>

Open Source / Open Society: The Scoop Foundation - An Open Model For NZ Media

Access to accurate, relevant and timely information is a crucial aspect of an open and transparent society. However, in our digital society information is in a state of flux with every aspect of its creation, delivery and consumption undergoing profound redefinition... More>>

Keeping Out The Vote: Gordon Campbell On The US Elections

I’ll focus here on just two ways that dis-enfranchisement is currently occurring in the US: (a) by the rigging of the boundary lines for voter districts and (b) by demanding elaborate photo IDs before people are allowed to cast their vote. More>>

Ramzy Baroud: Being Black Palestinian - Solidarity As A Welcome Pathology

It should come as no surprise that the loudest international solidarity that accompanied the continued spate of the killing of Black Americans comes from Palestine; that books have already been written and published by Palestinians about the plight of their Black brethren. In fact, that solidarity is mutual. More>>

ALSO:


Get More From Scoop

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Top Scoops
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news