INDEPENDENT NEWS

Terms At Last For The Invisible Rates Inquiry

Published: Wed 1 Nov 2006 01:23 PM
Terms At Last For The Invisible Rates Inquiry
Rodney Hide Wednesday,
1 November 2006 Press Releases - Local Government
The long wait for the inquiry into local government funding's terms of reference, which have finally been announced today, show Labour's reluctance to help ratepayers, according to Rodney Hide, the promoter of a Bill to cap increases in council rates.
"Ratepayers have had to wait ten weeks for the Minister for Local Government, Mark Burton, to produce terms of reference for this invisible rates inquiry", Mr Hide said.
"There is nothing in this inquiry that will deliver lower rates to ratepayers, put rates under control, or deliver the infrastructure or services that ratepayers so desperately need.
"The terms of reference should be a no-brainer - we need to find a sustainable alternative to the cycle of annual rates increases.
"I suggested to the Minister that the inquiry should also investigate limiting increases in council expenditure, the sustainability of basing rates on land value, what costs have been passed on to councils by central government and what core roles local government should perform.
"The government must take recommendations from the inquiry seriously, even though these will be made too late to be implemented before next year's rates are set. Many ratepayers cannot manage another year of uncontrolled rates rises, and they deserve better than to have their concerns put on the backburner by a reluctant government.
"Labour never wanted this inquiry, but it was the price they had to pay for New Zealand First voting against my Bill to cap increases in local government rates. Mark Burton has delayed progress for as long as he could, hoping to sweep it under the carpet.
"Local government, ratepayers and businesses would have had a chance to let their voices be heard ten long weeks ago, if New Zealand First had sent my Bill to Select Committee.
"Ratepayers simply cannot afford for Mark Burton to lie low and hope people will forget about the inquiry he promised", Mr Hide said.
ENDS

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