Rates payment claims dismissed

KERRY GALLAGHER
Last updated 05:00 05/02/2013
Bruce Rogan
RATES REFUSAL: Mangawhai Residents and Ratepayers Association chairman Bruce Rogan is among those still refusing to pay Kaipara District Council rates.

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Claims of success in winning over rates strikers have been met with skepticism.

A Kaipara District Council press release claims that an increasing number of property owners are paying up.

But the official line is being dismissed as "pure spin" by Mangawhai Residents and Ratepayers Association chairman Bruce Rogan.

Council figures cite 88 per cent of ratepayers having paid their 2012/2013 invoices in full or part.

But the details only indicate a small increase - 74.6 per cent having paid in full, up from 73 per cent in October.

In Mangawhai, 62.4 per cent of ratepayers had paid their rates in full and a further 16.4 per cent had made part payments.

There are 21.2 per cent (821) of Mangawhai properties for which no 2012/2013 rates have yet been paid.

There are still plenty of signs on properties in Mangawhai and Mangawhai Heads declaring the owners' non-intention to pay and Mr Rogan has dismissed the council's take on the official figures.

He is among those still refusing to pay, saying the rates were set illegally.

"Our information is that the strike is hardening and widening, but they control the data, so we can't actually tell," he says.

"We are off to the High Court very soon to see if we can get this circus stopped," Mr Rogan says.

The council's annual report says it is highly likely that $17.3 million of rates would be invalidated if ratepayers took their case to the High Court.

The next rates instalment will arrive in mailboxes this month.

Meanwhile, Mr Rogan has also asked for clarification of the $240,000 severance paid to former council chief executive officer Jack McKerchar, which included $200,000 for lost salary because his contract ended a year before its expiry date, $20,000 for compensation and $20,000 to cover the costs of his career transition.

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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