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Good on ya Timaru DC!

John Carter MP National Party Local Government Spokesman

30 August 2006

Good on ya Timaru DC!

National Party Local Government spokesman John Carter is calling on other local authorities to follow Timaru's lead, and send a strong message that they won't stand for more costly bureaucratic buck-passing.

"National has identified at least 67 Labour policy changes which have loaded costs on to rates. On behalf of ratepayers I'm delighted that the Timaru District Council has sent the Government a bill for the latest costs imposed on them."

Mr Carter is commenting on the Timaru District Council's decision to send a $25,000 bill to Labour for the cost of administering the expanded rates rebate scheme.

The council is employing six extra staff for six weeks to process the applications.

"Wanganui District Council estimates it costs ratepayers $50,000 every time central Government changes direction, while Wellington's Kerry Pendergast says the extra costs passed on to ratepayer through law changes has added millions to rate demands."

Meanwhile, Mr Carter says National is still waiting to find out whether it will be consulted on the terms of reference for the commission of inquiry into rates.

"I've heard unofficially that Labour has no plan to speak to the major Opposition party about this serious issue. That further fuels suspicion that Labour is preparing a whitewash inquiry with narrow terms of reference to spare its embarrassment."

Mr Carter is waiting to see the fine print of Labour's co-called independent inquiry before deciding whether he will drop his efforts to gain a select committee probe.

"Labour should consider itself on notice. Ratepayers deserve much more than a sham inquiry, with limited powers and narrow terms of reference."

Mr Carter says he also wants to know whether individual members of the public will be invited to feed into the independent inquiry, as they would have had that chance through the open select committee process.

"It would be an absolute travesty if the homeowners and businesses that are facing crippling rates increases aren't asked to contribute.

"National was told last week that some businesses are facing rate increases of more than 100%. It won't be long before those costs are passed on to customers, investment is delayed and jobs are lost," says Mr Carter.

ENDS

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