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Rates Shocker In Inflation Data -- Ken Shirley

Rates Shocker In Inflation Data

Friday 16 Jul 2004
Ken Shirley
Press Releases -- Taxation

ACT New Zealand Local Government Spokesman Ken Shirley today called on Labour to take responsibility for Kiwi households being hit with a 10.4 percent rise in council rates over the past 12 months, as revealed in consumer price inflation data released yesterday.

"This shocking rates rise can largely be laid at the feet of an increased amount of delegated functions and responsibilities, together with wider local government powers," Mr Shirley said.

"Part of the reform package was aimed at encouraging a wider range of funding sources, but this doesn't appear to be borne out in practice. The data suggests that councils are becoming more reliant on residential rates than ever before. They appear to be taking the easy option of adding up all their costs and simply putting it on to peoples' rates.

"The CPI shows the total increase in household rates since Labour came to power is 25.4 percent. My examination of some of the increases in council rates this year show an average of around five percent, meaning the total increase under this Government will be 30 percent by October.

"These figures have been inflated slightly by some councils who have increased peoples' rates significantly, such as the Auckland Regional Council. On the other hand, there are a number of councils who are acting quite responsibly, and doing their best to keep costs down.

"With local council elections approaching, people should take a keen interest in what their candidates are promising in relation to rates and spending. Ratepayers should be wary of big plans and big spending, because that means big bills - and it's ratepayers who will be carrying the can.

"ACT is committed to encouraging local authorities to reduce their reliance on rates funding in the future. After all, rates are a tax, and we are the low tax party," Mr Shirley said.


For more information visit ACT online at http://www.act.org.nz or contact the ACT Parliamentary Office at act@parliament.govt.nz.

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