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Rates relief for disaster hit areas of BOP

Rates relief for disaster hit areas of Bay of Plenty

The government has allocated $3m to help councils in the Bay of Plenty remit rates for businesses trying to recover from the floods and earthquakes that devastated parts of the area in July.

"This funding was confirmed by Cabinet yesterday and will be used to enable the Bay of Plenty Regional Council, the Opotiki District Council and the Whakatane District Council to remit rates on businesses and income-generating properties affected by the floods," Local Government Minister Chris Carter said.

"It will mean that businesses and farmers stuggling to rebuild will have one less bill to pay, and at the same time councils won't suffer a loss in revenue just when they need resources to restore their districts.

"The initiative is part of a comprehensive package of government assistance for the Bay of Plenty, which totals more than $30m," Mr Carter said.

"So far this package has included assistance with agricultural recovery, school and roading repairs, and direct assistance to low income earners and people evacuated from their homes."

Mr Carter said the amounts allocated to each council for rates remissions were:

Bay of Plenty Regional Council - $1,358,163 Opotiki District Council - $132,653 Whakatane District Council - $1,509,184

The figures were based on each council's estimates of rates for properties affected. About 75 per cent of the funding would be paid to the councils as soon as practicable, and the remaining 25 per cent paid in March 2005. This would allow some revision of the amounts allocated to each council as more information became available.

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