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Government must give ratepayers greater protection


MEDIA RELEASE 19 March 2012


[Statement from David Thornton]


Government must give ratepayers greater protection from free-spending councils.

Ratepayers around the country are looking for some solid changes to local councils when the Government makes its promised announcements on local government reform later today.

While controls on rates and debt are the main issues there is also the question of limiting those council activities which lead to high debt and ever-increasing rates.

This could need inserting new clauses in the Local Government Act clearly defining the services and facilities which councils can and cannot be involved in.

Councils have always fought for their independence from central Government dictates, but ratepayers have been calling for greater control to prevent rates increases to levels which is causing much hardship to many,

It is good news that the Prime Minister has announced that there will be no more forced amalgamations of councils.

The Auckland amalgamation has consolidated all the rates from its 550,000 ratepayers into one very large bucket under the control of a small group of 21 people in the so-called Governing Body in which there seems to be a permanent state of war between the opposing factions.

Government announcements today need to give confidence to ratepayers that they are protected from the unrestrained drive of many councils to dig deeper into their residents pockets to pay for projects those residents do not want or cannot afford.

ends


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