Letter: Tell council of rates hardship

Last updated 12:00 25/10/2012

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OPINION: Hopefully G D G Wade's letter (October 22) proves to be the first of many to tell the Invercargill City Council that people are suffering under its harsh rating regime.

Now is the time to start advising our councillors that we just can't afford these increasing and compounding property taxes.

After all, if they are not made aware of the hardship being created they can be excused for thinking there isn't any.

Local Government Minister David Carter made some very pointed comments during Radio New Zealand's Sunday Morning programme regarding the levels of, and justification for, local body charges.

It is to be hoped our councillors also heard, and took to heart, his expectations.

The city council's 2012-22 long-term plan predicts a 6.72 per cent rate increase for the 2013-14 year.

Budgets to meet this figure will be worked on very shortly which is the reason why ratepayers should be endeavouring to influence councillors' thinking now, not in submissions to the draft annual plan.

Rather than focusing on the 6.72 per cent figure, I suggest the council works instead towards 0 per cent as an achievable challenge and and giving those who take it on something to build their campaign speeches around.

I would hope that by now the council employee who responded to G D G Wade's inquiry with the words to the effect that he was lucky, others had increases of more than $200, has been spoken to regarding such an attitude to members of the public.

Degrees of fairness are related to the individual's ability to pay, not someone else's.
ALAN SWALLOW
Invercargill

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