PM Must Listen To Ratepayers
PM Must Listen To Ratepayers
ACT Finance Spokesman Rodney Hide said today that Prime Minister Helen Clark can't sit on the rate revolt sideline. "She is the Prime Minister. She has to listen to the hardship and heartache that spiralling rates are causing working families and pensioners. Her silence to date has been deafening.
"It's time that Prime Minister Helen Clark had a care. It's time that she dropped her "Let them eat cake" attitude.
"Rate rises have been double the rate of inflation over the last four years. Rates are proving a crushing burden on working families and pensioners.
"And it's not just Aucklanders who are suffering. I have had the Parliamentary Library prepare a report on rate rises for the year ahead. The list is not yet complete. It is based on annual plans, draft annual plans and news reports. The figures are not all final. But what Councils are planning is truly shocking.
"The Banks Peninsula District Council is planning an increase of 16.6 percent, the Franklin District Council 16.1 percent, the Marlborough District Council 11.6 percent, the Ashburton District Council 10.3 percent - and, of course, - the Auckland Regional Council leading the way with a whopping 34 percent increase.
"Ratepayers need protection from big spending city councils. Local governments are pillaging ratepayers. These big spending councils make the Sheriff of Nottingham look frugal and just.
"It's time Prime Minister Helen Clark and her MPs listened to what ratepayers have to say. She should support my Local Government (Rating Cap) Amendment Bill at least to Select Committee and give the public a chance to have their say.
"My Bill seeks to limit local government excesses and provide ratepayers some relief from the crippling demands of their local council. The Bill caps rate increases in any year to 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.
"The National Party have said they will support my Bill to Select Committee. It's time the Prime Minister had a heart and pledged the Labour Party's support of my Bill at least to Select Committee so that the public can have their say," Mr Hide said.
DISTRICT AND REGIONAL COUNCIL RATES INCREASES 2002/03 TO 2003/04
Total income from rates 2003/04 ($000)
Northland Regional Council
Far North DC
Auckland Regional Council
North Shore CC
Environment BOP (Bay of Plenty)
Western Bay of Plenty DC
South Waikato DC
Taranaki Regional Council
New Plymouth DC
South Taranaki DC
Hawke's Bay Regional Council
Central Hawke's Bay DC
Palmerston North CC
Wellington Regional Council
Kapiti Coast DC
Hutt City Council
Upper Hutt CC
South Wairarapa DC
Banks Peninsula DC
West Coast Regional Council
Otago Regional Council
Central Otago DC
Queenstown Lakes DC
* Unitary Authority Comments Auckland
Regional Council: 83 percent of increase is for transport
Rodney DC: Includes 2.6% inflation, excludes increase for
new development Waitakere DC:
Includes levies Manukau DC:
Excludes development levies
Thames Coromandel DC: Includes bag charges
Hauraki DC: Increase is for capital value rate only
Wairoa DC: Adopted. Ranges from small decrease to 20%
increase Rangitikei DC: Adopted
Wellington CC: Excludes user charges
Hutt CC: Adopted South Wairarapa
DC: Adopted Hurunui DC: Excludes
targetted rates Selwyn DC:
User-charges will increase
Christchurch CC: Includes targetted rates
Banks Peninsula DC: Includes targetted rates
Waimate DC: Includes targetted rates
Otago CC: Adopted Nelson CC:
13.28 including user charges and levies