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Fairer Rates, Better Services - ACT

ACT New Zealand Local Government Spokesman Owen Jennings today launched the Party's Local Government Policy saying ACT wanted fairer rates and better services for ratepayers.

The cost of rates and the impact of Local Government regulation is now having a hugely detrimental impact on New Zealanders lives and businesses.

Local Government rating is out of date and grossly distorted, demanding payments from families who are unable to access the services that they are paying for. Councils have moved away from their core business at huge cost to families and businesses.

Instances of councils getting involved in nightclubs, subdivisions, property development and stadiums, businesses that are in direct competition with their own ratepayers, have resulted in massive losses of ratepayers money.

ACT believes that unitary authorities in Nelson, Marlborough and Gisborne have proven the case that one tier of Local Government can be removed without any impact on the service to ratepayers.

New Zealand as a small nation is heavily over regulated and over governed. ACT wants councils to return to the core activities that are essential public services. Councils should be discouraged from an active involvement in commercial businesses. The waste of ratepayer funds on council business projects like the BNZ centre here in Hamilton must stop.

Ratepayers also know that when councils contract professionals to provide services the job is done well and for less. Roading services contracted out in one part of the Tasman District Council's region saw two thirds of the cost being saved and better roads for ratepayers.

Councils have been using the differential rating system to penalise one group of ratepayers to favour another. ACT says rating should be fair to all ratepayers. It's time for a level playing field. It's time for council spending to match benefit to ratepayers.

ACT's Local Government Policy we are releasing today is just one of our initiatives to cut the red tape and bureaucracy that is unfair to ratepayers, strangling small business and costing jobs.

ACT says it's time for positive change to Local Government," said Owen Jennings.


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