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Group gives voice to ratepayers

LIZ WILLIS
Last updated 08:00 27/11/2012

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Intensive housing fears and rising rates are key concerns of a new lobby group formed from ratepayer associations across Auckland.

About 20 ratepayer groups were represented at the meeting and created the Auckland Region Ratepayers Group as a new voice for residents.

North Shore ratepayer groups from Castor Bay, Milford and Northcote attended, along with Glenfield's David Thornton from campaign group No More Rates.

Auckland residents felt they didn't get a voice under the new supercity and the group planned to lobby the council on their behalf, Laurie Slee from Cockle Bay Residents and Ratepayers says.

Mr Slee, who co-chaired the regional ratepayers meeting, says people felt frustrated the council was "ticking the boxes" during consultation but not listening.

He hopes a powerful regional ratepayer group will have "more clout".

Big rates rises and Auckland Council's intensification proposals under its Unitary Plan were the top concerns of those at the meeting.

Fears about the impact of in-fill on already strained infrastructure, and over-intensification of town centres and suburbs were raised.

Colin Andrews, who revealed secret Devonport-Takapuna intensification plans in the North Shore Times, was at the meeting.

Mr Andrews plans to revive the North Shore Residents and Ratepayers group that fought the Shore's controversial district plan in the 1990s.

He is pleased to see a regional group forming and says it will help raise awareness of the Unitary Plan and importance of making submissions in March.

"The primary concern is the public don't know what is going on."

Mr Andrews says he's also concerned at increasing rates and Watercare bills that are forcing some older residents from their homes.

David Thornton of No More Rates says many ratepayers are concerned that amalgamation of councils led to new structures more concerned with sheer size than democratic governance.

"They point to the dissatisfaction with the Auckland Council becoming more evident every day."

The Auckland Region Ratepayers Group hopes to meet again in the new year and appoint a chairperson. It expects more groups will join.

See Letters P6

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