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Email sent to all MPs re council rates

Email sent to all MPs re council rates


14TH JULY 2006


No MP could possibly be unaware of the anger in the community at the significant council rates rises recently announced, not just for the new financial year, but also for the next ten years.

For years all political parties have said the present rating system is unfair – change is needed they have said?

Following the Ratepayers Rebellion in Auckland in 2003 the government did move to set up investigations into alternatives to rates. Regrettably that task was given to a bunch of bureaucrats from central and local government who have shown no sign of coming up with viable alternatives

Changes can only be brought about through legislation - and ratepayers all know that legislation is made in Parliament.

In particular ratepayers are almost universally demanding some form of control be placed on councils’power to increase rates at such high levels.

The Rating Cap Bill, due for First reading on 26th July, may not be the answer – in fact it is probably not the answer in its present form.

But the intent of the Bill, to place restraints on rate increases, is dear to almost every ratepayer’s heart.

It is totally irrelevant that the Bill stands in the name of, Rodney Hide, leader of the ACT party which barely registers in the latest public opinion polls.

But if this rates issue alone was put to a referendum I suggest that there would be an overwhelming vote in favour of change and control.

As you all well know, by giving this Bill approval on First Reading, the issue will be referred to a Select Committee and ratepayers throughout the country will be able to make their views known though the submission process. And that includes all sectors of ratepayers, residential, rural and business.

The NoMoreRates.com campaign is embarked on a mission to develop new methods of funding local government – a task which has proved elusive to local and central government officials, both elected and unelected, for the last three years. However it might be said that many such officials have a vested interest in retaining the present system.

It is our intention to put a variety of options to the general public and seek their response and their input.

But we need to know that our efforts are placed squarely before Parliament as soon as possible.

The immediate opportunity to do this is arises with the Rating Cap Bill.

That first reading debate will be watched closely by ratepayers throughout the country – and the votes of MPs will be noted.

We believe every single Member of Parliament should put aside Party labels and vote for the Bill to allow it to go forward.

To vote against it will be a huge blow to the whole population – everyone is affected by rates one way or another.

And a vote against will not be the end of the matter.

This issue will not go away.

In fact rejecting this opportunity to move the issue into Parliament will only harden the resolve of ratepayers to keep this issue to the forefront for as long as it takes to bring about change

Finally I would ask every MP to read this letter – and not respond to me that they have “passed it to the Local Government spokesperson”.

And please don’t respond by telling me that a report is due in September which will address the issue. I have seen the earlier reports and hold no hope that the report in September will address the real issue – the need to replace the current unfair system which does not recognise ability to pay, and place no bounds on the spending splurges of local councils.

And please don’t refer me to the new rates rebates changes – that is nothing more than a finger in the dyke approach.

This issue is for every MP individually – including List MPs.

Support your ratepayers by supporting the Rating Cap Bill at First Reading.

David Thornton. Organiser NoMoreRates.com

PS Happy Bastille Day!!!


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