INDEPENDENT NEWS

Peoples Choice disappointed by terms of reference

Published: Wed 8 Nov 2006 08:02 AM
Peoples Choice disappointed by terms of reference
The Manukau City election ticket Peoples Choice says it is greatly disappointed with the terms of reference of the government’s rates inquiry.
Peoples Choice Chairman Hamish Stevens says the government has totally missed the point of this year’s public concerns over rates increases. “It’s not just the rating system but the total level of council expenditure that’s the problem”
The underlying problem is that councils have a natural tendency to expand into all sorts of non-core businesses. The people of Manukau know this all too well, with rate increases this year almost twice the rate of inflation.
The terms of reference focus on new funding methods rather than addressing the real issue: rates are only a result of what councils spend.
The inquiry should instead be charged with limiting the non-core activities of councils rather than coming up with inventive ways of taking more money off ratepayers.
Mr Stevens said Peoples Choice fears that the inquiry will recommend a severing of the link between council funding and council expenditures.
“There’s nothing many of our councillors would like better, than to spend as much as they like and not have to be accountable to the electors for funding it. Peoples Choice is weary of any system of funding council expenditures from general taxation.”
Mr Stevens noted that over the past three years Manukau City council costs increased 30%, debt per ratepayer went up 104% and employee numbers increased by 24%. “It’s no wonder they can’t control rate increases”
Mr Stevens said Peoples Choice is committed to zero rate increases in its first financial year and rate increases no more than the rate of inflation in subsequent years. “We are totally confident this can be achieved” All it takes is political will and effective Council leadership.
Ends

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