Thou­sands join Ratepay­ers’ Al­liance

Central Leader - - NEWS - By TOM CARNEGIE

A re­cently formed group chal­leng­ing Auck­land Coun­cil’s rate hikes and trans­port levy has reached more than 5000 mem­bers.

The Auck­land Ratepay­ers’ Al­liance was launched on April 13. The group’s web­site says its aim is to rep­re­sent in­di­vid­ual Auck­lan­ders and ratepayer groups ded­i­cated to cham­pi­oning pru­dent fis­cal man­age­ment.

Fi­nan­cial and tech­ni­cal sup­port is given to the al­liance by the New Zealand Tax­pay­ers’ Union.

Ex­ec­u­tive direc­tor of the Tax­pay­ers’ Union, Jor­dan Wil­liams, says as of May 20 more than 6500 peo­ple had joined the group.

Wil­liams es­ti­mates more than 1700 peo­ple living in Auck­land’s in­ner city sub­urbs have reg­is­tered. Carmel Clar­idge, the al­liance’s vol­un­teers co-or­di­na­tor, says the high reg­is­tra­tion num­bers have ex­ceeded ex­pec­ta­tions.

‘‘I en­vis­aged the al­liance reach­ing 10,000 mem­bers in six months, so the re­sponse has been quite over­whelm­ing. The num­bers show there is a groundswell of peo­ple who are dis­en­fran­chised with coun­cil rep­re­sen­ta­tion,’’ Clar­idge says.

‘‘They show there is a dis­con­nect be­tween the av­er­age house­hold rate payer and the elected coun­cil.’’

Clar­idge says 113 peo­ple have put their names down to be ac­tive mem­bers.

‘‘We are hav­ing our first fo­rum on June 14 to de­cide how we can pull all our re­sources to­gether,’’ she says.

The al­liance set up the pe­ti­tion ‘‘Tell Len Brown to stick to his rates prom­ise’’, which calls for the mayor to limit rate hikes to 2.5 per cent.

It has so far re­ceived 5702 signatures.

Carmel Clar­idge

Jor­dan Wil­liams

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