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C&R Council Massively Raise Fixed Charges

Media Release
City Vision-Labour Councillors - Auckland City Council
For Immediate Release
Thursday 5 March 2009

C&R Council Massively Raise Fixed Charges

Citizens and Ratepayers (C&R) councillors voted yesterday to increase the Uniform Annual General Charge (UAGC) by 55% to $250 for every household in the city which will result in up to 16% rates increases for low and middle-value properties.

City Vision-Labour Leader, Councillor Richard Northey said, “The hard right ideologues now running Auckland City Council are revealed as imposing big rates rises for the majority of families in Auckland City. This is mainly as the result of their proposed $250 per year UAGC on all Auckland City properties. Far from containing the rates rises at a modest 2%, C&R’s ‘Robin Hood in reverse’ rating policies will mean that almost 64% of households will face rate rises over 2% and more than one in ten will pay over a 10% increase. Many $200,000 properties in Glen Innes, Otahuhu and Avondale are facing rates rises for their families of over 13% as a result of this unfair rates policy. On the other hand, the city’s millionaires will benefit hugely, with nearly every property valued over a million dollars actually receiving a reduction in their rates, only except for any Slumdog Millionaires! It is disgraceful that in this economic crisis time, C&R councillors are proposing an unfair additional impost on all lower and most middle-income families throughout Auckland City.”

Councillor Cathy Casey said, “The C&R team including Deputy Mayor David Hay, Finance Committee Chair Douglas Armstrong and Mayor John Banks have constantly claimed rates rises are being held to 2%. However, Council's own figures give lie to that by showing that the less well off 12% of residential ratepayers face rate rises of over 10% and that some will even be paying over 20% more in rates this coming year while most of Auckland's millionaire properties will have substantial rates reductions!”

Councillor Glenda Fryer said, “Flat taxes were justifiably given a bad name for their ‘impost on the poor’ under Thatcher’s Britain last century and they have no place in Auckland in 2009. The Eden-Albert Community Board by-election from March 18 to April 9 will give Aucklanders a chance to express their views on the doublespeak on rates by this C&R Council. Auckland voters were lulled into believing the ‘affordable progress’ promised to Aucklanders in October 2007 was going to be equitable. There will be disillusionment when they realise that in reality C&R's ‘affordable’ slogan meant ‘unaffordable’ for the lowest 42% of ratepayers and ‘progress’ meant ‘spend up large on Eden Park’! This will be a huge wake up call for those now able to express their views via the ballot box.”

Councillor Leila Boyle concluded, “What this regressive high fixed charge means is that the rates burden is being transferred from high-value properties to low and medium-value properties. People live where they can afford and their income is strongly related to the value of their home. In a progressive civilised society, those that can afford to pay more should pay more for the benefit of all of us living together in this wonderful city of Auckland. It is residents in the low and middle-value properties that are really struggling to pay bills in these tough economic times and we should be helping them rather than forcing working families out of Auckland city.”

ENDS

All City Vision-Labour media releases are available on our website www.cityvision.org.nz


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