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Government Burdens Ratepayers With Social Welfare

Government Burdens Ratepayers With Social Welfare Responsibility

The Government's latest move to identify pensioner housing as strategic for local government should have all ratepayers worried, says Federated Farmers Auckland Provincial President Colin Bull.

The Government has said it will amend its Local Government Bill so council-owned pensioner housing is classified as a strategic asset alongside ports and airports, requiring extra public consultation before it can be sold.

"It is ironic that the Local Government Bill which is currently before select committee proposes to empower local authorities to make their own decisions without the prescriptive constraints of the current Local Government Act, said Mr Bull.

"What other social welfare activity is central government going to expect citizens to fund from their property rates? Local government's role is not social welfare.

"A large number of pensioners and other beneficiaries own houses and struggle to pay their mortgages and pay their rates. They should not be required to have their rates diverted into social welfare support.

"Income tax is the only fair way of providing a social safety net for New Zealand citizens.

"The Minister for Local Government has consistently shown that she doesn't understand that it is not possible to consider the role of local government without examining the way it is funded. Now we see that struggling beneficiaries who also own their own homes are expected to pay higher rates so as to look after other beneficiaries.

"Parliament must throw out this badly thought through amendment and undertake a first principle study of local government's role and funding."


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