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Councils Should Pay Back Illegal Millions

Councils Should Pay Back Illegal Millions To Tenants

ACT Local Government Spokesman Gerry Eckhoff said it would be a betrayal of thousands of working New Zealanders if the Government introduced retrospective legislation allowing councils to keep around $100 million of unlawfully collected rates.

“Legally and morally the councils have no rights to this money and they should pay it back to the affected people immediately.

“Rules are rules and they apply to councils as well as individuals. If individual ratepayers foul up with their payments they get clobbered. They can’t give excuses and they have little opportunity for relief. Here we’ve got the councils fouling up, but they want to hide behind and get bailed out by central Government.

“Any sensible Government wouldn’t have a bar of this. But we’ve already seen with this Coalition that it is quite prepared to re-write the history books with retrospective law - and smash New Zealanders in the pocket in the process. Michael Cullen’s desperate attempt to retrospectively grab $200 million in GST that he’s not entitled to demonstrates this Government’s lack of moral scruples.

“The precedent has been set and the Government will be very tempted to apply retrospective legislation to the $100 million of rates money as well – so that it can curry favour with the local councils.

“Sandra Lee talks about the issue being a ‘complex question’ and says the Government has several options.

“She should cut the weasel words. It is not complex. There’s only one ethical option here. Tell the councils they have to hand back their illegally collected millions,” Gerry Eckhoff said.

ENDS

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