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Council told More Constraint is Necessary

Wellington City Council told More Constraint is Necessary

Wellington City Council needs to constrain its spending and limit its rate increases according to the Wellington Regional Chamber of Commerce.

Chamber CEO Charles Finny made the comments in presenting the Chamber’s submission on the Council’s Long Term Community Plan to city councillors earlier today. Click here for a copy of the submission.

“We are pleased that Wellington City Council has kept its rate increases below most of the other councils we monitor. We are also pleased that it is continuing the phase-down of its business rate differential,” said Mr Finny.

“This must continue, however, if Wellington is to attract businesses and remain competitive against other cities. Auckland City Council, for example, is one council which is planning a lower rate increase. It also has a lower business differential than Wellington.

“Rates should reflect the benefits received and should not be applied to businesses as a revenue raising mechanism. The Chamber believes councils should substantiate the benefits to businesses before applying differential and targeted rates and be transparent in doing so.

“Wellington City Council has acted responsibly in reviewing its expenditure in response to the economic downturn but more needs to be done. As a monopoly provider of services there are bound to be further efficiencies that can be found.

“We think that activities and projects that can be demonstrated as high returning should continue. For example, we support bringing forward work on the Ngauranga to Airport transport corridor including the opening of buses through Manners Mall.

“Contrary to statements by the Mayor at question and answer time we support the continued funding of key cultural institutions such as Circa Theatre, the New Zealand Ballet and the New Zealand Festival of Arts although we don’t think council funding for the latter should come solely from business rates as is proposed.

“We encourage councillors to continue the line-by-line review of expenditure and hope that further reductions can be found by the time the LTCCP is finalised,” Mr Finny concluded.


ENDS

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