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More Assurance Needed On Rates Increases

Press Release

More Assurance Needed On Rates Increases

Heather Roy MP

Wednesday, October 22 2008

ACT Deputy Leader Heather Roy today welcomed news from Local Government New Zealand that Councils throughout the country are now trying to keep rate rises to a minimum and are reining in spending to the level of inflation.

"At last local Councils have seen the light and finally realised how vital it is to rein in spending," Mrs Roy said.

"ACT has always understood the importance of local Councils limiting spending and capping rates - which was the purpose of ACT Leader Rodney Hide's Rates Capping Bill. This Bill - now a Private Member's Bill under my name - will limit Council rate increases to the level of inflation plus two percent in any year, and inflation plus four percent over any three years.

"Councils could apply for exemptions to the cap for particular projects, such as large infrastructure developments, but only if the project has public support. Councils would have to budget and prioritise their spending and ratepayers would be back in control.

"Rates rose when the Local Government 2002 Act gave Councils the power of general competence. This saw them become increasingly involved in business-type activities - rather than sticking to their core responsibilities such as roading, rubbish and sewerage.

"While it is good news that Councils are trying to limit rate increases, ACT's Bill is needed now more than ever, to ensure that Councils live within their means and stop passing unreasonable costs on to ratepayers.

"In the face of a looming economic crisis, families - already squeezed by government over-taxation and rising living costs - need assurance that they won't be hit even harder by rate increases," Mrs Roy said.

ENDS

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