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Labour's Imaginary Rates Inquiry

Labour's Imaginary Rates Inquiry

Rodney Hide
Tuesday, 26 September 2006
Press Releases - Local Government

Epsom MP Rodney Hide says ratepayers should be concerned that, more than a month after the Government voted against his Bill to limit increases in council rates, an independent inquiry still has no terms of reference, no timeframe for reporting back and no one to do the inquiring.

"The Government is hoping that an imaginary inquiry will sweep the frustration of ratepayers under the carpet", Mr Hide said.

"Labour never wanted an inquiry - it was the price they had to pay for New Zealand First to stop my Bill.

"Winston Peters and Mark Burton, the Minister for Local Government, should front up to ratepayers and admit that, a month later, there is no inquiry.

"If the Minister was seriously interested in the concerns of ratepayers, he would start the inquiry urgently, so Parliament can implement the findings before next year's rates are set.

"Two weeks ago I wrote to Mr Burton, who has not even made time to acknowledge my letter.

"I told the Minister that because rates affect ordinary Kiwis, the inquiry must be able to hear public submissions.

"The inquiry should investigate limiting increases in council expenditure, the sustainability of basing rates on land value, what costs have been passed on to councils by central government and what core roles local government should perform.

"This inquiry is important - many ratepayers cannot manage another year of uncontrolled rates rises.

"It's not good enough for Mark Burton to lay low and hope that ratepayers will forget", Mr Hide said.


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