Letter: Cut line charges

Our city councillors are stating the obvious in their opinions that the cause of inner-city problems result from a decline in spending by shoppers. Unfortunately solutions apart from a suggestion to spend an extra $5 are not forthcoming.

A good step toward reviving the local economy could be achieved by the council not over-rating homeowners and by Electricity Invercargill (EIL) reducing its line charges. Rates, rent and the power bill are the top priorities in most family budgets; most other items being negotiable.

The fact that the city council has been able to accumulate more than $6 million in our Discretionary Reserves, (as against Rainy Day reserves), gives some indication of the loss in spending power.

Overpricing by EIL on its line charges produces a tax-paid profit of around another $6m on the claim that it helps keep down the rates. An extra $6m on our power bills in exchange for $2m to $3m off our rates, depending upon the generosity of Holdco directors, is hardly cost beneficial.

Let's not forget the 15 cents GST the Government claims on every dollar the council takes off us, nor the tax payable on EIL's profits. Another choke in the oxygen supply city businesses need to prosper.

Leaving money in people's pockets, rather than hoarded in council's vaults, would be a good first firm step toward revitalising the local economy.

Marks out of 10 for the candidates who take this up.


The Southland Times