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CAP predicts more cost burden for average earners

Meredydd Barrar

Press Statement

The Local Government Rates Inquiry coming to Auckland: CAP predicts more cost burden being transferred to working class families, fixed income pensioners, tenants and the average income majority.

The inquiry has started its public consultation with the release of background documents and public meetings planned at a number of cities around the country. (documents at www.ratesinquiry.govt.nz)

Auckland, Tuesday 27th of February – Mt. Smart Stadium. 9am to 4:30 pm.

“CAP intends to voice our concerns to Councillors at 9am and at the public meeting at 2pm. We also plan to maintain a picket throughout the day” .says Meredydd Barrar (CAP Spokesperson).We are urging Commuinty Groups and Residents to attend and distribute this information.

“This is the only meeting planned for the whole Auckland Region, held when most people are at work. This can not be described as meaningful dialogue, it is almost farcical”.

“This inquiry could herald more user pays charging, flat taxes, even a poll tax. As well as this congestion charges and road tolls are still being pushed despite mass public opposition. Council’s already have the ability to impose flat and user pays charges. Waitakere has a flat charge of $600 within its rates and a flat waste water charge at $350, Metro Water in Auckland and the privatised United Water in Papakura extract extraordinary high user pays charges for water. Manukau’s new water Company has imposed a $320 flat waste water charge. Waitakere charge $1.40 for a rubbish bag. This inquiry could lead to legislation that increases council’s ability to levy these regressive taxes. Flat charges are often hidden in the rates and when the user-pays costs are factored in, the financial burden on ordinary people increases dramatically while wealthy high valued property owners gain substantial rate reductions.”

“CAP believes that these charges should be abolished and rates levied purely on a capital value basis. This would produce a truly progressive tax and fairly distribute the cost of council services among the community on the basis of ability to pay. Yes, the rich would pay more. The small minority estimated at 2% of residents, often pensioners on fixed incomes whose property values have risen over many years can already be helped. Councils have the ability to waive their rates and recoup when properties are sold or bequeathed at the time of their passing. Government subsidies can also be increased. Behind these legitimate cases are affluent property owners who can well afford their rates. It’s a case of men of means are usually very mean men to whom councillors and politicians are very willing to pander to at the expense of everyone else. As the public are becoming aware of the nature of these unfair taxes, frustration and anger are growing. Politicians at a local and national level need to take heed of this.”

“Struggling families who can’t even afford to purchase a property because of exorbitant house prices could be hit with further charges like waste water, allowing landlords and multiple property owners to pass on costs to their struggling tenants. Pensioners on fixed incomes will also be severely penalized. Will rents go down in this scenario, We doubt it.”

“The Auckland region is also facing a major restructure of local government. Most councils are supporting the concept without any consultation. This could see unelected representatives of big business running the city for their own interests. More corporate power means less democracy and more costs to Residents as ever greater profits are extracted at our expense . Rate reform will be the engine that allows wholesale redistribution of wealth in favor of the corporates and the wealthy. Business differentials could be scraped and more privitisation is on the cards through public/private partnerships. Not since Roger Douglas has legislation been proposed with such rapidity”.

“CAP reminds the government that the introduction of a poll tax brought down the Thatcher government in the UK. When the public become aware of their implications we expect the same mass outrage to occur if these concepts become proposals”.


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