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Vote For Candidates Who'll Keep Rates Down

Vote For Candidates Who'll Keep Rates Down - Business NZ

Local body election campaigning will step up a notch today with the mailing of ballot papers for next month's elections, but the key issue is still rates, says Simon Carlaw, Chief Executive of Business NZ.

"Local government in New Zealand is big government (1) and every ratepayer should ask candidates why there is such silence on rates so close to the elections. There are very few candidates pledging to reduce rates or even hold them at present levels.

"Perhaps this is because the current Local Government Review seems likely to encourage the further growth of local government - and therefore even higher rates for everyone.

"The record is clear. Rates have increased at twice the rate of inflation over the past decade. (2) In addition, Councils all over the country have introduced user charges. As business pays over half the total rates bill because of differential rates, rates are effectively taxes on job growth and higher wages and salaries throughout the economy.

"Each candidate for office should be asked before 12 October what he or she would prefer - rates outstripping inflation or more and better paying jobs?"

(1) The total assets of local government in New Zealand are greater than those of all companies on the NZ stock exchange.

(2) From June 1989, when local authorities were last reformed and reorganised, to June 2001 rates and local authority user charges increased by 61%, while the CPI increased by 30%. Source: Statistics NZ

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