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Baldock: rates burden becoming oppressive

Friday, 11 February 2005

Baldock: rates burden becoming oppressive

On the back of Auckland City Council's announcement of a possible massive rates hike, United Future local government spokesman Larry Baldock today expressed concern at the reported increase for residential ratepayers nationwide of 7.4% from June 2003-04.

"This figure was revealed to a Parliamentary select committee this week and it’s huge – almost three times the rate of inflation,” he said.

“It is of particular concern for those on fixed incomes such as the elderly. However, the economic effects of taking so much more money out of ratepayers’ pockets must also present a problem.

“Clearly, rates are no longer a viable mechanism for meeting the full costs of running local government.

“United Future has several proposals aimed at reducing the burden on ratepayers including the removal of GST from rates, a regional distribution of a small proportion of GST collected in that region, and increased central Government funding for local roads.”

Mr Baldock said the need for a radical reform of the funding system for local government is becoming increasingly urgent, if New Zealanders are to feel secure in owning their own homes.

“Helen Clark’s vision of New Zealand becoming an ownership society needs to address this very real problem - and urgently,” he said.

ENDS

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