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Cullen's Auckland rates suggestion outrageous

Hon Maurice Williamson MP
National Party Transport Spokesman

16 May 2006

Cullen's Auckland rates suggestion outrageous

Finance Minister Michael Cullen's suggestion to Auckland Mayors that they hike rates by more than 5% to fund roading is outrageous, says National Party Transport spokesman Maurice Williamson.

Mr Williamson was reacting to reports that Dr Cullen expressed irritation at a meeting with the Auckland Mayoral Forum yesterday at a planned 5% rates cap, and said that 'putting rates up 5% is not enough'.

"That's an outrageous suggestion from a Minister who is clearly out of touch with the mood of Auckland ratepayers," says Mr Williamson.

"Ratepayers are angry with constant rates increases which always outstrip inflation, and Dr Cullen's suggestion will only anger them more.

"It's a bit rich of Dr Cullen to be making such a suggestion when, as Finance Minister, he is forecasting to collect $604 million in petrol taxes this financial year that will not go on roading projects.

"That money has gone into the general Crown account, at a time when Dr Cullen crows loudly about his huge surpluses.

"Dr Cullen should fix that before calling on Auckland's local bodies to slug ratepayers even more."

ENDS

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