Prime Minister Out of Touch on Rates Issue
THE CAMPAIGN TO REPLACE THE PRESENT SYSTEM OF COUNCIL RATES WITH A FAIRER SYSTEM INCLUDING RESTRAINTS ON COUNCILS ABILITY TO INCREASE EXPENDITURE WITHOUT THE SPECIFIC APPROVAL OF THE COMMUNITY
Statement from David Thornton 7 August 2006
Prime Minister Out of Touch on Rates Issue.
I was disappointed to hear the Prime Minister say, on radio this morning, that the ultimate course of action for people who did not like rate rises was to ‘vote the council out at next year’s local elections’.
The only way to deal with the rates problem is to change the legislation – and the only place to do that is in Parliament.
Which is why the Labour Party MPs should be supporting the first reading of the Rating Cap Bill when debate resumes in Parliament on 30th August.
This Bill is not the answer as it stands, but by voting to send it to a Select Committee the whole rates issue can be debated in Parliament – and ratepayers throughout the country can put their views to their local MPs and to the Select Committee itself.
I was also disappointed to hear the Prime Minister say that high rates were due to under-investment in infrastructure in recent years.
She failed to mention all the extra costs loaded on to council – that means ratepayers – by central government legislation such as changes to the Building Act, Local Government Act, Resource Management Act, plus a whole raft of new responsibilities like dog-chipping, brothels etc.
The Prime Minister can well afford her rates – there are thousands of ratepayers who cannot.
The Prime Minister is not in touch with the real world on the rates issue.