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Cross-party Consensus That Councils Must Turn Minds To Cutting Rates Welcomed

The Taxpayers’ Union is welcoming the comments from Finance Minister Grant Robertson, and National Party MP Gerry Brownlee, calling on councils across New Zealand to look at their books and see what is possible to reduce the rates burden on New Zealanders.

During the Epidemic Response Committee meeting this morning, Gerry Brownlee called on Mr Robertson to call on Mr Robertson to call for a rates freeze across central government. Mr Robertson replied that it was his expectation and belief that “every council will be having that discussion right now”.

Taxpayers’ Union spokesman Jordan Williams says, “Short of an emergency law requiring councils to freeze rates, the expectation could not be clearer. Councils across New Zealand need to freeze rates, look at their spending, and cut the nice-to-haves to ensure every cent is going to where it is most needed.”

The Taxpayers’ Union this morning launched a rates freeze dashboard, tracking every council on these matters. We are calling for each council to (1) freeze rates increases; and (2) set a percentage target of their total budget for council officials to find efficiencies and savings.

“For the past 20 years, councils have been hiking rates at twice the level of inflation. This year councils need to live within ratepayers' means and find five percent efficiencies across the board - roughly the amount they’ve hiked rates and other charges every year over the last few decades.”

The campaign for a nationwide rates freeze is at www.ratesfreeze.nz. The dashboard tracking the council’s decisions is at https://www.taxpayers.org.nz/rates_dashboard

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