Local Government lobby group has head in sand

Published: Thu 11 Dec 2008 09:19 AM
David Thornton
Comentator on Local Government
Member, Glenfield Community Board
Hearing Commissioner [RMA Accredited]
Chairman, Glenfield Community Centre
Chairman, Glenfield Ratepayers.
10th December 2008
Media comment from David Thornton
Local Government lobby group has head in sand on rates issues.
Today, Dr Alan Bollard urged local councils to play their part in responding to Reserve Bank measures to deal with the current economic crisis.
In particular, Dr Bollard asked local councils not to pass on extra costs in the non-competitive arena in which local government largely operates.
He again pointed to the fact that local body rates increases do contribute to inflation.
Local Government New Zealand [LGNZ] continues to deny this obvious fact,  and have tried –unsuccessfully – to convince Dr Bollard that councils do not put rates up unnecessarily.
In a statement last week LGNZ President Lawrence Yule, Mayor of Hastings, said that most councils are very aware of political implications of rate increases and only increase rates “after thorough consideration of what is needed by their communities”.
This sort of statement is typical of local councils who claim they do everything because the communiity demands it.
Mayor Yule would do well to read again the report ot the Rates Inquiry which found very significant problems with local government funding – including the finding that for some sections of the community rates will be unsustainable within 8 years.
By ignoring the warnings in the 2007 Rates Inquiry Report, and seemingly contradicting Dr Bollards view on the inflationary effect of rates increases, Local Govcernment New Zealand has its head firmly in the sand.

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