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Law changes will see rates burden increase

Su’a William Sio
Local Government Spokesperson

26 February 2014

Law changes will see rates burden increase

Concerns that ratepayers will be lumped with extra costs under proposed changes to local body laws are real and genuine, says Labour’s Local Government spokesperson Su’a William Sio.

“The Local Government Act 2002 Amendment Bill (No 3) will see restrictions put on what councils can fund with development contributions.

“That means less funding for community infrastructure, such as libraries and swimming pools, and a subsequent increased rates burden for communities.

“This will impact adversely on regions with growing youth and elderly populations and could mean these communities go without many of the vital community services that we all currently enjoy.

“If these changes are signed off local governments will be forced to impose rates increases, special targeted rates, or increase their debt levels in order to meet the demand for community infrastructure.

“All current community amenities should be included in the Bill’s definition of community infrastructure to ensure local government can continue to use these contributions to develop and expand community assets.

“If not then councils must be allowed to decide for themselves, in consultation with their communities, how to best fund their community infrastructure. After all councils are best placed to assess development opportunities and costs that best serve the growth in each of their regions.

“Without clarity on these issues, the Government’s bill risks contradicting its drive for efficiencies and ratepayers will have to bear the increase burden of community growth,” said Su’a William Sio.

ENDS

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