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Shore council seeks regional rates review

2nd prong attacks transport levy basis

North Shore City Council came up with a series of resolutions at its monthly meeting on Wednesday night seeking a review of regional council rates and challenging the way the transport levy has been applied.

Because of mounting community concerns – you have to ask why any of the region’s councils had to wait for a public revolt before acting on rating proposals which have been in the public realm for months – anyway, because of these concerns, the Shore council wants to “obtain specific analysis & audits” from the Auckland regional Council on levels of rate increases “compared to the additional benefits & services to be provided to each of them.”

The Shore council also wants the Auditor-general to urgently review the regional rating policy, to see if rating on capital value & other aspects of the regime are fair & equitable.

In a series of 6 more resolutions, the council called on the regional council to hold a special meeting by 1 August “to reconsider the whole rating situation” and to defer the 1st payment, due on 6 August, until 15 September.

The council wants the regional council to reconsider rates payment options, including the ability to pay instalments by cheque without attracting a penalty.

Shore mayor George Wood is to call a meeting of all Auckland MPS (constituency & list) to discuss the regional rates, support for a review of the system “and of appropriate government support for Auckland’s transport needs.”

The next resolution goes beyond the particular rating issue to the greater debate on infrastructure funding – central versus regional versus local government funding/responsibility.

In this resolution, the council agreed to ask the transport minister to justify heavy rating in a short period for Auckland’s public transport system “due to lack of funding over many years by central government from the petrol tax revenue taken from the Auckland region.”

As debate on an issue such as this wouldn’t be complete without a puerile “me too, not fair” element, the Shore council also decided it should ask the transport minister to provide information on how Wellington got an extensive electric train system from central government funding, and why Auckland should be treated any differently.

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