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Council Rates And Spending Out Of Control

Council Rates And Spending Out Of Control

Thursday 18 Mar 2004
Ken Shirley
Press Releases

Local authority statistics released today confirm that local councils are out of control in spending and rate increases, ACT New Zealand Deputy Leader and Local Government Spokesman Ken Shirley said today.

"Responsibility for this sits firmly with the Government, which handed councils wider powers, and burdened them with extra responsibilities - such as controlling brothels and gambling," Mr Shirley said.

"Compounding this, the new Local Government Act ties councils up with endless and costly procedural processes. The level of enforced community consultation has now reached the point where it debases - rather than enhances - democracy.

"It is not surprising that both council spending, and the rates people must pay, are going through the roof. In fact, local government expenditure for the December 2003 quarter has increased 9.3 percent from the December 2002 quarter - over six times the rate of inflation.

"And in the year to December 2004, council expenditures rose 17 percent from the year to December 1999 levels. Over that same period, income from rates, tax, licences and fines jumped 22 percent - half a billion dollars.

"I am looking forward to the debate on the fellow ACT MP Rodney Hide's Local Government (Rating Cap) Amendment Bill. If passed, it would require councils to ensure that rates rises are kept to within two percent of the rate of consumer price inflation in any given year, and within four percent of inflation over any three year period," Mr Shirley said.

ENDS


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