Responding to Waikato Regional Council's preliminary decision to cancel scheduled rate hikes in light of COVID-19, New Zealand Taxpayers' Union spokesman Louis Houlbrooke says:
"Waikato Regional Council should be applauded for its urgent action on behalf of ratepayers. Councils across the country ought to observe this leadership."
"The Government is rightly focused on easing economic pressures on struggling households during the current crisis. Local councils need to step up and do the same."
Waikato Regional Council is the first council to signal a rates freeze after the Taxpayers' Union wrote to every mayor and regional council chair on Friday to call for such a move.
"Obviously, a rates freeze will mean an immediate loss of revenue for councils, but this is the reality faced by businesses and families across the country. It's only fair that councils tighten their belts to reflect the new economic reality: identify non-essential nice to haves and redirect that spending to higher priorities."
"Providing immediate assurance of a rates freeze is something councils can do right now to provide households with certainty during this time of turmoil."