Rates re­volt

Central Leader - - OPINION -

Ratepay­ers protest­ing about the amount and con­cept of rates fail to un­der­stand the sys­tem. ‘‘Rates’’ are a eu­phemism for land tax.

The num­ber of peo­ple in a house is ir­rel­e­vant. The in­come of ratepay­ers is al­most ir­rel­e­vant.

Even if there is no house and ser­vices rates still ap­ply.

As ru­ral house­hold­ers will con­firm, rates have noth­ing to do with ser­vices pro­vided other than an un­sealed road as ac­cess to their prop­erty.

The rea­son this in­equity sur­vives is be­cause of the sim­plic­ity of rais­ing funds. Prop­erty is read­ily iden­ti­fi­able and val­u­a­tions ev­ery three years gives a new base to cal­cu­late higher rates.

Why would politi­cians, na­tional and lo­cal, want to change this? The al­ter­na­tive would in­volve a sys­tem whereby all con­trib­ute through tax­a­tion and funds then dis­trib­uted to coun­cils ac­cord­ing to pop­u­la­tion, as hap­pens in Australia with GST and the states. Too hard? I think so. Ju­di­cial Re­view of the Bledis­loe wharf ex­ten­sion con­sents.

Af­ter slam­ming ratepay­ers with a 9.5 per cent in­crease, you now have the au­dac­ity to ap­pro­pri­ate pos­si­bly more than $1 mil­lion of ratepay­ers’ money to fund your de­fence of an un­nec­es­sary wharf ex­ten­sion that Auck­lan­ders op­pose.

This shame­ful waste of ratepay­ers’ hard-earned money once again demon­strates your bla­tant dis­re­gard for the will of those you were elected to serve and rep­re­sent.

You have the power to stop this wharf ex­ten­sion and this waste­ful Ju­di­cial Re­view im­me­di­ately and we im­plore you to do so be­fore it goes be­fore the High Court.

Fail­ing that, at the next elec­tion, I will vote for a mayor and coun­cil mem­ber who have the guts to place the will of the peo­ple of Auck­land ahead of the un­nec­es­sary sys­tem­atic de­struc­tion of our beau­ti­ful har­bour.

There are other sus­tain­able op­tions and the ir­rev­o­ca­ble vi­o­la­tion of Auck­land’s key as­set is both need­less and shame­ful.

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