INDEPENDENT NEWS

Public forum On Auckland Rates

Published: Fri 28 Nov 2003 03:08 PM
Auckland City Residents and Ratepayers
MEDIA RELEASE 28 Nov. 03
“The Prime Minister is taking New Zealanders for a tax ride” says Elaine West chair of Auckland City Residents and Ratepayers, “and we have to put a stop to it. It is my intention to arm the public with important information.”
A public forum is to be held on Sunday 30 November at Grey Lynn Community Centre, at 2.30pm.
Elaine West believes that Auckland is the country’s golden goose in the eyes of politicians and indirect taxes like Council rates along with compounding road charges add billions of dollars to Government funds.”
“From my interpretation of the Government’s accounts obtained under the Official Information Act, Helen Clark is sitting on billions and billions of dollars and is keeping quiet about it. To add salt to the wound, Ms Clark telling us to pay more in road user charges, but has paid billions from petrol taxes into the generic Crown account. Overall, Transfund gets pittance to spend on New Zealand’s roads and public transport” says Ms West.
Ms West believes that Govt has the funds for making roads safe, constructing a world class State Highway 1, and getting Auckland’s public transportation system underway immediately.
‘Further’ Ms West says, “We believe that 100,000 ratepayers have yet to pay Auckland Regional Council rates and that Ms Clark turned her back on people’s complaints about unbridled Council powers that allowed Auckland’s rate hikes.”
Auckland City Residents and Ratepayers recently received a letter from the Prime Minister stating that the PM would not support a change in law that would cap Council rates. Such support was sought by the Auckland Regional Ratepayer Delegates Assoc. in August. ARC said that Auckland residents had to help solve public transport problems hence the start of rate hikes (Yeh right!).
Elaine West says “Auckland’s transport problems can be seen as a Government jack-up – a loading onto the unsuspecting public for decades by successive governments, and migration numbers really add to the boom. Central Government needs cars on the roads – lots and lots of cars because cars add billions and billions of dollars in indirect taxes into Government coffers, and drives a thriving domestic market. Vehicle retailers swooned under profit making margins for some time - they earned $2b in 3months this year. Public transport kills off the indirect-tax golden goose”
“And on December 12, Ms Clark is to give New Zealanders and Aucklanders a really rotten potato for Christmas. We can expect tolled national and local roads, and future rampant congestion fees. We can expect products and services to cost more and people on low incomes to suffer more. We can expect that next year Govt will increase benefits as a token gesture as election year gets closer. Local councils will be able to get on the indirect-tax bandwagon and target the thousands of motorists who can’t escape road taxes by hopping on readily available buses or trains – remember Govt sold publicly owned buses and trains in the 80s” said Ms West.
Ms West believes that the public are seen by Government as indirect tax cash-cows. She says a resolution will be put to the public demanding that Government make immediate changes to the law that limits local authorities to the inflation index, unless a public mandate is secured.
A further resolution will target prohibiting tolls and congestion fees without a public mandate (the public and govt collaborated in building a Harbour Bridge in 1959).
“If the Government won’t act to stop unbridled Councils going mad on property taxes, and tolls and congestion fees are back-door tax tactics for local and central Government coffers, then every New Zealanders living in every type of home needs to get up and do something about it. Not just for ourselves, but for the sake of our children” says Ms West.
People across the country will be able to support the resolution following Sunday, 30th November’s public forum by contacting:
http://www.aucklandcityresidentsandratepayers.co.nz
Elaine West on aucklandcity_elainewest@yahoo.co.nz
The People in Action Forum details: Grey Lynn C. Centre, 510 Richmond Rd, Grey Lynn. 2.30pm Confirmed speakers: John Law (Mayor of Rodney District, Chair: Akld Mayoral Forum); Elaine West (Auckland City Residents and Ratepayers); Don Chapman (Nat. Vice-Pres. Grey Power); Grant Morgan (Residents Action Movement) Paul Stewart (Akld Univ. of Technology); Stephen Selwood, Gen. Manager, Akld Transport Advocacy (Automobile Assoc –AA) Chair: Barry Wilson (Pres. Akld Council for Civil Liberties) Apologies: Helen Clark (PM), Gwen Bull (ARC), Richard Maher (Inf. Akld); Min. Transport (Akld); Chris Carter (Min. of Local Govt)
www.aucklandcityresidentsandratepayers (processing) 8 Richmond Rd, Ponsonby, Auckland

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