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Rates Inquiry Doesn't Go Far Enough

1 November 2006

Rates Inquiry Doesn't Go Far Enough

United Future leader, Peter Dunne, says the independent inquiry into local government rates does not go far enough, and looks likely to be a waste of time.

"Its focus on funding mechanisms for local government is too limited, and smacks of simply rearranging the deck chairs, rather than doing anything substantive.

"I doubt it is going to satisfy any of the real concerns people have about local government and the charges they impose," he said.

Mr Dunne is particularly critical of the Assumption stated in the terms of reference for the inquiry that it is not an inquiry into local government, per se.

"This simply ensures nothing will much will change as a result of this inquiry.

"Rates are only a symptom of the problem which is the size, role, scope and activities carried out by local authorities.

"Unless all of them are put under the microscope and properly looked into, there is likely to be little of significance to emerge from this review.

"Ratepayers facing rising bills will not be consoled to learn that this inquiry is only looking at whether the rating system is adequate, or whether other forms of fundraising are required – either way they will still keep paying," he says.

Mr Dunne is also disappointed there was no consultation with United Future on the terms of reference for the inquiry

"We expressed an interest in being involved, and the Minister kept saying we would be consulted, but the first time we hear from his office is the release of the terms of reference today.

"It's not the best way to treat a support partner," Mr Dunne says.

ENDS

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