The Taxpayers’ Union is condemning Waikato Regional Council’s proposal to hike rates by 7.3% after running an operating surplus of nearly $3 million dollars due to the 2020 COVID-19 lockdown.
Union spokesperson Louis Houlbrooke said: “Given the windfall COVID-19 surplus, the Council should be proposing a rates freeze, not a 7.3% rates hike.”
“But instead of cutting back, the Council is profiteering from the pandemic and finding new ways to spend ratepayer money. It is a disgusting attitude and totally out of whack with the economic environment.”
“The surplus is being blamed on imposed restrictions on work during the 2020 COVID-19 lockdown. But Chief Financial Officer Janine Becker also says that it is being used as a reserve that could be directed to the economic recovery of the region as a result of the pandemic.”
“Rather than hire more bureaucrats, the best thing the Council could do to help the regional economy would be to scrap its proposed tax hikes. It should be using the surplus to offset the proposed rates hike.”