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NZ First Wants Inquiry Into Local Body Charges

25 July 2006

New Zealand First Calls For Commission Of Inquiry Into Local Body Charges

New Zealand First is calling for an independent commission of inquiry into local body charges.

“Punishing increases in rates throughout New Zealand highlights the fundamental flaws in our current rating processes,” said Local Government spokesman, Brian Donnelly.

“The time is right for an in depth review of the relationship between central and local government and the powers that local councils are delegated to raise funds.

“Over a considerable period of time, central government has continued to foist additional responsibilities on local government with the obvious impact of creeping incremental costs which have flowed on to rate payers.

“During this time there have been inquiries into general taxation, but nothing to look at what is essentially taxation at the local government level. Such an inquiry must not only be independent, but be seen to be independent, of both central and local government influence.

“The Local Government (Rating Cap) Amendment Bill will not suffice. Putting it through to select committee will not deliver the depth of analysis that is needed on this issue. This needs a well funded, independent commission of inquiry that can carry out its work in a transparent and open fashion,” said Mr Donnelly.

New Zealand First acknowledges both the increasing burden of rates and the expanding demands on local government, but proposes a more comprehensive and realistic solution.

ENDS

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