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Labour partly responsible for big rates hikes

John Carter MP National Party Local Government Spokesman

30 June 2006

Labour policies partly responsible for big rates hikes

National Party Local Government spokesman John Carter says ratepayers are "carrying the can for Labour's buck-passing."

Mr Carter is responding to reports of big rates hikes this week including the 13.5% increase in Auckland, and today's 8.2% increase in Christchurch.

"Many local authorities have become pseudo tax collectors for Labour. They've been loaded with new responsibilities and offered the temptation to experiment with ratepayers' money using the powers of general competence given to them by Labour.

"Just in the past month ratepayers have been loaded with another layer of bureaucracy in the dog control area. Make no mistake, it'll be ratepayers picking up the tab for the extra administration costs for the confusing microchipping legislation.

"And the administration costs of the recently passed rates rebates scheme have increased the rates bill of Auckland City alone by up to $160,000."

Mr Carter says even as Auckland councils were considering their annual plans the Finance Minister was sending a message that the Labour Government expected big rates increases.

"In May, Michael Cullen instructed the Auckland Regional Council to increase its rates by more than 5% because a proposed cap on rates was unrealistically low.

"It's now crystal clear Labour doesn't care how much hurt they're inflicting on frustrated ratepayers. It's high time local councils spoke up for their communities and told the Minister to stop passing the buck to them," says Mr Carter.


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