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Labour dumps $1 billion bill onto councils

Labour dumps $1 billion bill onto councils

New Zealand’s ratepayers face a bill of $1 billion, or $1000 each, because Labour has shifted responsibility for remediation of contaminated sites onto local councils, says National’s Local Government spokesman, Nick Smith.

“It is deeply ironic that Labour is dangling a $50 million rates rebate carrot in response to concern about high rates at the same time that it is dumping a $1 billion cost onto ratepayers through amendments to the Resource Management Act.”

Last August, the Ministry for the Environment estimated the cost of remediation of contaminated sites at $1 billion. Section 9 of the Resource Management Amendment Bill, introduced to Parliament in December, puts responsibility for ‘Location, monitoring, investigation and remediation of contaminated land’ onto regional councils.

“When the Labour Government giveth, the Labour Government taketh far more away,” Dr Smith says.

“For five years Labour has been dumping more and more costs onto local government through the new local government, building, resource management, gambling, prostitution and dog laws.

“Rates have increased by $590 million, or 33%, under Labour, and now, a few months before the election, they think ratepayers will be fooled by having a

$50 million bone thrown at them.

“This is a case of passing the hot potato to councils when they do not have the expertise or funding to address this serious problem. This is bad policy for the ratepayers and the environment, and National will reverse it.” Dr Smith says.


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