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C'mon Dick, stop the excesses

John Carter MP National Party Local Government Spokesman

14 August 2006

C'mon Dick, stop the excesses

National Party Local Government spokesman John Carter says there's absolutely no way Auckland City ratepayers should be funding séances and international phone calls to the Congo.

"If anything will cause a crisis of confidence in local Government, it's precisely these sorts of bizarre extravagances at the ratepayer expense.

"Labour, which gave councils sweeping new powers of general competence, needs to explain to the struggling Auckland ratepayer why they are now paying for things like tarot card readings and séances.

"Yes, they are small examples, worth less than $5,000, but they are indicative of the wider issue about what councils should and shouldn't be dabbling in."

Auckland ratepayers have been clobbered with a 44% rate increase since October 2004, with plans for a mammoth 135% rise over the next decade.

"Tell the pensioner living at home why they're paying for members of the Congolese community to call the Congo to speak with candidates in elections there.

"Tell the family struggling to keep warm in the face of rising power bills that their rates are paying for such nonsense. Is this really what rates are for?

"Before we start tackling the problems in the rating system itself, ratepayers need to make it clear to their central Government leaders what it is they expect councils to be involved in.

"Weeding out the waste is the first logical step, followed closely by a commitment from Labour that it will stop passing the buck and loading extra costs onto ratepayers."

National has identified at least 67 Labour policy changes which have added costs to rate bills.

ENDS

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