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Council Spending Surge Will Push Rates Higher

Council Spending Surge Will Push Rates Higher

Friday 17 Sep 2004 Ken Shirley Press Releases -- Local Government

A spending spree by local councils will inevitably push people's rates higher, ACT New Zealand Local Government Spokesman Ken Shirley warned today.

He was commenting on statistics, released today, showing local authority spending of $4.4 billion for the year to June 2004 - a nine percent increase on the previous year, and a whopping 26 percent higher than the June 1999 year.

"The June quarter spending of $1.183 billion by councils is the highest ever recorded. Rates income for the year to June 2004 was $2.3 billion - up six percent on the previous year, and up 23 percent on the June 1999 year," Mr Shirley said.

"The fact that spending has increased at twice the rate of inflation over recent years is of extreme concern. While part of it the problem is that local councils have broader powers, a big factor is that the Government has imposed a raft of new responsibilities at local level.

"These big spending increases will invariably be reflected in big rates increases, as all spending must eventually be funded. Rates rises of double the rate of inflation put real pressure on those in the community least able to afford it.

"Voters in next week's local elections should look at what candidates say about rates - more importantly, they should look at what the candidates do.

"Some councils are doing well at containing costs, while dealing with increased legislative requirements. On the other hand, some others seem to think money grows on trees, and are spending up large, with scant regard for ratepayers ability to pay," Mr Shirley said.

ENDS


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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