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C&R Councillors' Reverse Robin Hood On Rates

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media
C&R Councillors' Reverse Robin Hood On Rates

19 February 2009 - City Vision-Labour Auckland City Councillors today accused the Council of robbing the poor to pay the rich. They have released a Council officers' report showing the devastating effects of huge policy changes by the majority Citizens and Ratepayers (C&R) grouping which will cut Council rates for the well-off and massively increase them for low and middle-income ratepayers.

C&R will raise fixed charges by almost $200 from $372 to $570 in the 2009-2010 rating year which will result in the Council's rates income from higher valued properties shifting to low and middle valued properties.

City Vision-Labour Leader, Councillor Richard Northey said, "This is Robin Hood in reverse! C&R's rating policies will mean that almost two thirds of households will face rate rises larger than 5%, 42% will face over 10% increases, more than 10% will pay in excess of 20% more next year, and one household in 250 will face paying more than 50% extra compared to this year's rates bill! At the same time, the city's millionaires will benefit hugely, with nearly every property valued over a million dollars actually receiving a reduction in their rates. It is disgraceful that in this economic crisis time, all lower and most middle-income families will be hurt most."

Councillor Cathy Casey said, "The C&R team including Deputy Mayor David Hay, Finance Committee Chair Douglas Armstrong and Mayor John Banks have constantly claimed rates rises are being held to 5%. However, Council's own figures give lie to that by showing that the less well off 42% of residential ratepayers face rate rises of over 10% and that some will even be paying over 50% more in rates this coming year while most of Auckland's millionaire properties will have substantial rates reductions!"

Councillor Glenda Fryer said, "Flat taxes were justifiably given a bad name for their 'impost on the poor' under Thatcher's Britain last century and they have no place in Auckland in 2009. The Eden-Albert Community Board by-election from March 18 to April 9 will give Aucklanders a chance to express their views on the doublespeak on rates by this C&R Council. Auckland voters were lulled into believing the 'affordable progress' promised to Aucklanders in October 2007 was going to be equitable. There will be disillusionment when they realise that in reality C&R's 'affordable' slogan meant 'unaffordable' for the lowest 42% of ratepayers and 'progress' meant 'spend up large on Eden Park'! This will be a huge wake up call for those now able to express their views via the ballot box."

Councillor Leila Boyle said, "What this high fixed charge means is that a Glen Innes Panmure or Otahuhu property valued at $200,000 will have a rates increase of 22.4%. How can a family on the average wage sustain rates increases of this amount especially when C&R is now boasting that they are keeping the rates increase across the city to 2%? I am extremely upset that after my community in Tamaki has had many projects cut by C&R's slashing and burning, there will now be many people in my ward facing rates increases of over 50%."

Avondale Community Board Member Catherine Farmer said, "The census identified significant areas of economic deprivation in Avondale and Mt Roskill. A decision to shift an increased rating burden to the poor will unfairly disadvantage many residents in our area."

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