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Rate Relief on the Way

Rate Relief on the Way

ACT New Zealand Rodney Hide's Local Government (Rating Cap) Amendment Bill was drawn from the Private Members' ballot today.

"It's a great day for long-suffering ratepayers. Some relief is in prospect. It's clear that local government is spinning out of control in its demands upon ratepayers. It is no wonder ratepayers are up in arms - they are being milked," Mr Hide said.

"My Bill seeks to limit local government excesses, most notably witnessed in the rates increases for 2003/04 struck by the Auckland Regional Council. These excesses have seen increases of up to 400 percent on individual property owners, with overall increases in rates take of 30 percent by the Auckland Regional Council.

"The Government was warned that the recent `power of general competence' bestowed on local authorities would lead to rates rises. No one could guess as to the speed with which local authorities would be clamouring to crank up their rates take.

"To put it in context, while average householders face rates increases of 4.5 percent this year, inflation is running at 1.5 percent for the year to June 2003.

"Like taxes, rates represent money taken from working families. The families paying for all this can't expect wage rises of three times the rate of inflation, and those on retirement incomes have their increases pegged to the rate of inflation."

"My Bill imposes a cap on the level of rates increase that local authorities may impose on residents in any one year, or in any proposed three-year period. It uses the cpi X formula recently adopted for the electricity industry.

"My Bill provides that the maximum rates increase in any year is the rate of consumer price inflation for the preceding year, plus two percent. The maximum in any three-year period is set to the rate of consumer price inflation for the preceding three years plus four percent. It provides for the Minister of Local Government to grant dispensations, in special circumstances, with any such dispensations to be notified in the gazette along with accompanying reasons.

"ACT New Zealand has been listening to what ratepayers have had to say. I hope that other political parties take on the concerns of ratepayers, and support my Bill," Mr Hide said.

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