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Revolt not best way says mayor

Last updated 09:22 17/08/2012

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Patience and forbearance.

Those are the qualities Aucklanders upset with their rates bills are being asked to turn to.

Auckland mayor Len Brown says he can understand why some people in Howick might be struggling to accept rates rises.

But sparking a rates revolt is not in the best interests of the city, Mr Brown says.

Some residents have suggested ways of voicing their displeasure with the latest rates system by making things difficult for the council.

Suggestions include deliberately paying the wrong amount, paying in cash on the last day and paying with multiple cheques.

"I haven't heard too much of that kind of talk but I can understand it," Mr Brown says.

"We tried to be as fair as we can and we just ask for people to accept this as a consequence of uniting the city.

"We are going through a unique change and ask for forbearance.

"I think in the early stages of this some people will have definite types of responses but we need people to work with us because ultimately it's our city uniting.

"Through that we aim to build a much better and greater city," he says.

The rates system has been criticised on two fronts - the shift to calculating rates based on capital value and the setting of a low uniform charge.

The first was forced on the council in super-city legislation.

The council set the uniform charge at the minimum allowed of $350 which aggravated those with more expensive homes who thought it should have been at the maximum of $750.

But Mr Brown says the way it was done was the fairest.

"Increasing the uniform charge would simply mean more people across the region facing 10 per cent plus rates increases.

"Many of those people are already struggling to make ends meet and I'm not willing to lumber them with higher charges."

At $350 127,165 residential ratepayers face increases of 10 per cent.

At $450 that number increases to 129,585 and at $750 to 170,847.

"We have a big city to run and we're asking for patience and forbearance," he says.

"Most people will adjust and move on."

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- Eastern Courier

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