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New Campaign To Abolish Council Rating System

New Campaign To Abolish Council Rating System

A new campaign is being launched with the objective of replacing council rates with a fairer system of paying for services provided by local councils – together with voter control over future expenditure proposals.

The campaign, to be known as NoMoreRates.com, is being organised by David Thornton, a former North Shore City councillor, who was the spokesman for the Ratepayers Rebellion campaign in 2003 against Auckland Regional Council rates hikes proposed that year.

That campaign included a 40,000 strong petition to the ARC and a ratepayers revolt in which 140,000 ratepayers withheld all or part of their ARC rates for several months. It was this campaign which ultimately saw the downfall of several leading councillors at the 2004 local elections.

Recognising that high rate increases are not limited to the Auckland region, this new ‘NoMoreRates.com’ campaign will be nationwide and ratepayers and community organisations around the country are being invited to join the campaign.

The campaign will be internet based and will involve supporters in developing ideas and proposals for a new system of council funding

First initiative of the campaign will be the lobbying of MPs to support the first reading of ACT leader Rodney Hide’s Rates Local Government (Rates Capping) Amendment Bill which is scheduled for a first reading on 26th July.

NoMoreRates.com does not support any political party but does want Parliament to support a first reading of this Bill to allow it to progress to Select Committee when both Parliament and the public will have the opportunity to have their say and for the whole future of council funding and expenditure and the current rating system to be debated.

The Bill in its present form is almost certainly not the best answer but by giving it a first reading the whole issue can be addressed in Parliament which is the only forum in which the legislation can be changed.

Restraints on local government expenditure are now in force, or are being debated, in 27 of the 50 states in the US.

Expenditure or tax restraints are also in force in some form in the UK and some parts of New South Wales.

NoMoreRates.com is itself developing a possible new system for local government funding and expenditure control which will be discussed with interested parties.

The campaign, while largely supported by residential ratepayers, will seek to work with Federated Farmers and Business lobby groups with the aim of presenting a united front to Parliament, Government and councils on the question of funding reform.


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