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Alliance call for rates hike pause

Tauranga City Council Commission Chair Anne Tolley. Photo: File.

A Bay of Plenty-based steering group has urged Tauranga City Council to press pause on unleashing higher commercial and residential rates on the region until the ramifications of lockdown become clearer.

 

Tauranga Ratepayers’ Alliance – formed in response to the appointment of commissioners in place of elected councillors earlier this year – have made the appeal since nationwide level four lockdown measures were extended.

 

The group stress that while most Tauranga businesses are unable to trade during the current restrictions, they are still expected to meet commercial rates payments which increased by 35 per cent following the adoption of the 2021-31 Long Term Plan.

 

Residential rates are also rising to the tune of 17 per cent – figures that are hitting Tauranga householders and business owners hard, according to Ratepayers’ Alliance spokesperson Dawn Kiddie.

 

“Now is not the time for council to be sucker punching them with rate hikes,” says Kiddie. “The rises are uncoupled to the new challenges faced by ratepayers. Council needs to cut its cloth to fit the new economic reality.

 

“Commission Chair Anne Tolley says she is sympathetic toward businesses, but that is meaningless without being turned into action.”

 

The group are asking commissioners to extend the deadline for payment of rates until at least September 30, claiming companies remain uncertain about whether they can continue to trade and residents are unsure if they still have jobs.

 

However, Commission Chair Tolley says while current lockdown measures and subsequent repercussions for businesses are “concerning”, it is too soon to make any accurate forecasts.

 

“It’s too early to make any judgment about the duration or economic impact of the current alert level four lockdown,” says Tolley, “but it’s obviously of concern to the commission and to council.

 

“Our efforts at this time are being devoted to keeping essential services going and making good decisions on behalf of the community and the organisation.

 

“Rates, payment dates and fees and charges for 2021/22 have all been adopted as part of the recent Long Term Plan process and cannot be reversed or modified at this late stage.

 

“Having said that, our rates team is always available to help people work through any issues relating to rates payments.”

 

Elsewhere on their list of demands, the Ratepayers’ Alliance would like to see council’s planned $12 million hiring drive and salary increases frozen, with that budget redirected to rates relief for businesses and homeowners.

 

“The public sector should not profit while the productive sector is experiencing significant pain,” adds Kiddie.

 

“Council jobs are among the most secure in New Zealand, and council bosses need to demonstrate by example that the public service is about serving the public, not themselves.

 

“More than expressions of sympathy, our community needs to see some demonstrable leadership.”

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Madhatter ain't so mad...

Posted on 26-08-2021 14:50 | By morepork

The influx of people from Auckland buying property here HAS had an effect and the danger that some folks are going to be priced out of their family homes is a real one. This exacerbates the growing divide between rich and poor, which has never been part of our culture, but is becoming so. Changes to RATES have a more profound effect than simply raising capital for TCC. I’d like to see Rates subject to a means test so that people on fixed incomes, like Madhatter, who are not Auckland millionaires, like a recent Mayor we had, get to keep their homes. There is a Rates rebate that can be applied for and it is a help, but it is set by Government and we need something that reflects local needs more.

Tom Ranger

Posted on 26-08-2021 14:13 | By

Yup. Very concerning. I’m sure Anne has trouble sleeping at night.

Un-elected do they care?

Posted on 26-08-2021 10:26 | By

I guess that is the real question when your earning $1800 a day without being elected a 17% rate increase means nothing especially if you dont have to pay it yourself ? @The Professor, you have always been welcome to pay more but doesnt mean the rest of us have to.

DoctorG

Posted on 25-08-2021 21:01 | By

I just love seeing Cr Kiddie trying to be serious now that she an erased Councillor, in an environment where, when she was a Councillor, she was a resident joke. Oh how self professed mighty mice fall!

How nice

Posted on 25-08-2021 20:38 | By

How nice of Dawn, who was part of the disfuctional council to suggest all these changes. Weren’t they the ones that wanted council to give them $150k.

council

Posted on 25-08-2021 18:12 | By dumbkof2

yes i will tell you what you will get, not what you want or need

Smiling all the way to the bank

Posted on 25-08-2021 17:40 | By The Sage

So Anne Tolley states it is concerning with another lockdown, in regards to the effect on businesses. Many of these won’t survive this and only Bureaucrats, who have always earned from the public purse, would have no idea of the workings of a business. How about closing Devonport Road in the school holiday? I rest my case.

Rates, and ever increasing rates

Posted on 25-08-2021 17:15 | By Madhatter

Anne Tolley can pretend to be as sympathetic (looks more like smug in that pic) as she likes... she doesn’t have to survive totally on National Super & meet a $5k home rates demand. Working through issues still means people have to pay and end up paying more. They absolutely DON’T let you off. The only way out is to sell and move somewhere obscure or off grid. So our forever home for the last 30 years might no longer be and connection to family NIL. What has happened to our beautiful (once was) lifestyle? Overtaken by Jaffas who were priced out of Auckland and want to share their misery? Where do we go next?

obviously of concern?

Posted on 25-08-2021 17:13 | By morepork

No it isn’t. There has been no palpable expression of any concern over Rate rises at all. I’m not a member of the Alliance and I try to remain neutral in Politics, but some of their ideas make very sound sense. Instead of $12 million to increase Council staff, why don’t they increase efficiency and not take on more staff? In what Reality would they change the planned Rates hike? There isn’t one. It has been agreed and CANNOT be changed. This Commission is almost as much of a heartbreak as the Council they were supposed to replace.

Put them up!

Posted on 25-08-2021 17:08 | By

We have to pay high rates in Western Bay as do a few other areas in NZ, even during lockdown.

pretend democracy

Posted on 25-08-2021 16:44 | By Bill S

TCC and the commissoners will pretent to listen , then consult behind the scenes with their stake holders" then do exactly what they intended.

It's all very well .....

Posted on 25-08-2021 16:36 | By Equality

.... for Mrs commissioner to sit there with a satisfied smirk on her face. She needs to consider the poor pensioners and others not in a cushy financial position such as hers. If she really wants to help she can persuade her government to help with the load she so artessly has landed upon us! We just can’t pay what they are asking!!!

Smug

Posted on 25-08-2021 16:08 | By

I love that photo. It says it all.

rates

Posted on 25-08-2021 16:08 | By dumbkof2

the smile on anns face says it all