Councils pay $30k checking tax revenue

COLLETTE DEVLIN
Last updated 05:00 07/03/2014

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Southland's three councils are spending $30,000 to find out how much money the region contributes to the country's tax revenue.

During a Venture Southland joint committee meeting this week, representatives from the region's three councils agreed to approve up to $30,000 for the research.

The committee was told Southland District Mayor Gary Tong, who was absent from the meeting, had requested the information so he could better understand the magnitude of Southland's contribution to the tax takes going into central Government income streams.

The research, to be carried out by independent researchers, would look at how much the region contributes to GST, fuel tax and road user charges and what value was returned to the region.

Venture Southland enterprise and strategic projects group manager Steve Canny said it was of concern some economic indicators about the region were not always sourced correctly.

For example, some exports from Southland were recorded as coming from Otago because they had been exported from Port Chalmers in Dunedin, Mr Canny said.

"Southland is lumped into Otago, and this impinges on funding sources."

The research would clarify those issues and provide vital information for financial plans and funding applications.

Information gained from the research would provide potentially important information needed for general transport planning, financial assistance rate applications and efforts to retain and grow Government support services and other funding, he said.

At the meeting, Gore District Mayor Tracy Hicks said it was a big project and would take time.

Southland District Council chief executive Dave Adamson asked whether the research could be done before the next financial assistance rate review deadline on March 28.

Mr Canny said best efforts would be made to do it as quickly as possible but it was a complex project and it would be challenging, but not impossible, to get the information at a regional level.

Venture had discussed this with taxation, Treasury and transport experts, he said.

Competitive bids will be sought to undertake the work.

collette.devlin@stl.co.nz

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