‘Com­pli­cated’ rates re­viewed

Auckland City Harbour News - - NEWS -

The way Auck­land Coun­cil raises its money is un­fair and un­sus­tain­able, mayor Len Brown says.

He and lo­cal body politi­cians from around the coun­try are to spend the next six months re­view­ing how lo­cal govern­ment is funded.

Brown met mem­bers of Lo­cal Govern­ment New Zealand on March 20 and the de­ci­sion was made to form a work­ing group.

Auck­land’s rat­ing model is too ‘‘com­pli­cated’’, he says.

‘‘No-one can ex­plain it sim­ply in any pub­lic meet­ing.

‘‘You’ve got uni­form an­nual gen­eral charges and fees for Africa.’’

Its lack of fair­ness im­pacts on the el­derly in par­tic­u­lar be­cause they pay rates based on land val­ues rather than on their abil­ity to pay, he says.

He knows crit­ics will ar­gue a home owner could sell their property and down­grade to a cheaper one with more af­ford­able rates.

‘‘But I don’t think the rat­ing sys­tem or the tax- ation sys­tem should force the per­son into that de­ci­sion.

‘‘Whether you are poor, mid­dle class or richer, the same prob­lem ap­plies.

‘‘If some­one in Otara or some­one in Taka­puna both have in­creas­ing property val­ues but flatlin­ing in­come it’s just rel­a­tive.’’

Lo­cal Govern­ment NZ spokes­woman He­len Mexted says plan­ning for the work­ing group set up is still in its for­ma­tive stages.

‘‘We are putting the frames of ref­er­ence to­gether,’’ she says.

‘‘The group is likely to have people from Auck­land Coun­cil and other coun­cils from the rest of the coun­try as well as mem­bers of our or­gan­i­sa­tion.’’

The work is nec­es­sary to deal with chang­ing de­mo­graph­ics and de­mands such as Auck­land’s need for more in­fra­struc­ture, Mexted says.

The un­der-19 girls from Auck­land Girls Gram­mar com­peted in the 500m W6 event, in­clud­ing Emma-May Loretz, Jes­sica Moon, Leilani Fue­m­ana, Pa­tri­cia Te Whatu, Shane­ice Rawiri and Sofia Koura­toras.

Three Kings School stu­dent Faith Tupuhi, 9, and Up­per Har­bour Pri­mary young­ster Ma­rina Lough met North­ern Mystics cap­tain Maria Tu­taia and Ade­laide Thun­der­birds cap­tain Re­nae Hal­li­nan be­fore their game on March 24 through the ANZ Fu­ture Cap­tains com­pe­ti­tion. Quick pad­dling: Auck­land Girls’ Gram­mar and Kel­ston Boys joined forces to com­pete in the mixed un­der-16 event at waka ama na­tion­als. Dig deep: Auck­land Girls Gram­mar un­der-16 girls team in­clud­ing Ash­ley Pile, Lau­ryn Me­hau, Rautea Mitchell, Say­lor Roi, Storme Pare and Ur­sula Here­maia com­pet­ing at 2014 waka ama na­tion­als.

Fly­ing solo: Auck­land Gram­mar School’s Daniel Barke go­ing for it in the un­der-19 250m heat at waka ama na­tion­als.

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