INDEPENDENT NEWS

Ratepayers Ask PM Not To Increase Rates Burden

Published: Wed 3 Dec 2003 04:28 PM
GLENFIELD RATEPAYERS & RESIDENTS ASSOCIATION (INC)
Chairman; David Thornton david@kandu.co.nz
MEDIA RELEASE
Wednesday, 3 December 2003
RATEPAYERS ASK PRIME MINISTER NOT TO GIVE A.R.C. FULL POWERS OVER PUBLIC TRANSPORT - AND NOT TO LOAD ANY MORE COSTS ON TO RATEPAYERS
Statement from David Thornton, Chairman, Glenfield ratepayers.
I have today written to the Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister asking them not to put Auckland's Public Transport organisation under the complete control of the Auckland Regional Council.
I have reminded the Ministers that the ratepayers of the Auckland Region have no confidence in the ARC whose rating policies led to the Regional Ratepayers Rebellion campaign which still sees over 100,000 ratepayers who are withholding all or part of their rates.
I have also asked the Prime Minister not to put any additional costs onto Auckland's ratepayers who are already overburdened by the total rate bill each year - local and regional rates.
FULL TEXT of the letter is as follows:-
Dear Prime Minister and Dr Cullen,
The future for Auckland's transport problems.
While I look forward with anticipation to the 12th December announcement of funding, I am deeply concerned at increasing speculation that your Government is proposing to vest more powers in the Auckland Regional Council - in particular the overlording of an improved Public Transport system.
You are, I know, well aware of the Regional Ratepayers Rebellion campaign against the ARC rating policies this year.
You may not be aware that, even now, halfway through the financial year, more than 100,000 ratepayers continue to withhold all or part of their rates. Of that figure 45,000 have paid nothing at all - an unprecedented level of civil disobedience.
Even the late and unlamented ARA never attracted such determined and focused opposition
Against that background I urge you most strongly to resist the proposal by Mayor Sir Barry Curtis of Manukau City to create some 'superbody' such as a Greater Auckland Authority.
I do support the call for a stand-alone Public Transport Authority - and that Authority should be concerned only with Public Transport, without any responsibility for roading.
The PTA would be responsible for designing and managing an integrated public transport system, based on the existing road and rail network - adding new routes as and when new roads are built.
If the ARC is to continue as a separate entity of local government it should concern itself with new roading of regional importance, and the relationship with new and changing population and business demands.
The ratepayers of the Auckland region are even now gearing themselves up for whatever the ARC may try to inflict on them in next year's rating round.
The Auckland ratepayers have no confidence at all in the ARC - and can do little about changing that until next October's local elections.
Please do not give them complete control of Auckland's Public Transport.
And please do not present any proposals which will lead to more huge rate increases next year.
It must be remembered that the total rate burden - from both local and regional councils - is becoming unbearable for an increasing number of residents, especially the aged and all those on low fixed incomes.
Please do not add to this burden in your pronouncements due on 12th December.
ENDS

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