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Serious Conflict Of Interest

26 May 2004

Auckland Chamber Of Commerce Head Must Not Be Allowed To Make Decisions On Arc Business Rates - Serious Conflict Of Interest

RatesRebellion spokesman David Thornton sent the following email to ARC Gwen Bull today.

Dear Gwen

I understand that the ARC will tomorrow commence making decisions on the public submissions to the council's 10-year Long Term Council Community Plan. Many of the submissions to you have called for a business differential rate to be introduced in order to reduce the burden of rates on residential ratepayers which increased astronomically last year, mainly as a result of the removal of business differentials previously applied by local councils.

However I note that one organisation, in a submission to your council, has expressed vehement opposition to the introduction of business differentials at any time over the next ten years covered by the Plan. That organisation is the Auckland Region Chamber of Commerce, whose chief executive, Michael Barnett, is also a member of your council, and who is therefore apparently entitled to be part of the decision making process on this rating issue - including the ability to vote against differential rates.. I consider this to be a most serious conflict of interest.

I also understand that Councillor Barnett has not been present to hear most - if not all - of those submission from organisations and individuals calling for a business differntial. I urge you and your council to take whatever steps are available to you to prevent Councillor Barnett from being part of the decision making process on rating issues. It would be a denial of natural justice, and a clear breach of the integrity of the consultation process, to allow Councillor Barnett to take part in these deliberations.

Yours sincerely

David Thornton


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