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Households struggling: WCC must review its rates policies

Published: Tue 16 Jul 2013 04:29 PM
Households struggling: WCC must review its rates policies
“Many Wellingtonians are finding the cost of living so high that any relief Wellington City Council can provide will be welcomed. I will push hard for change if I’m elected in October,” says WCC Labour Party Onslow-Western candidate, Malcolm Aitken.
“We can review rates to reduce the increases planned for during the next few years. To fund any reductions we can implement value for money cost savings that don’t cut jobs, there are lots of efficiencies to make. Electricity usage and shared services around accounting, HR, the IT cloud and others, for example.
“I’m also advocating a review of rates payment policies. The penalties applied could be changed, they’re quite severe now. The hardship criteria for rates postponement could be widened too. There are also information gaps. We need to ensure when people may be eligible for a rates rebate they’re told that this is the case. They should be provided with the information they need to get their money back from the Government [the Rates Rebate scheme is administered by the Department of Internal Affairs].
“A bit of tuning up could really help. I don’t support the approach of some candidates, who repeatedly call for ‘no more rates rises’ and that’s it, that’s their rates policy. We need enough rates revenue to maintain existing services but realistic, fair policies must take affordability into account too.”
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