What The Local Government Forum Really Does

Yesterday some of your would have read claims by Christ Trotter in the Sunday Star Times that the Local Government Forum was a far right conspiracy intent of introducing the privatisation agenda through stealth.  Actually the Local Government Forum is a very open organisation with a clear agenda.  Here is an example of this openness – from today’s Dominion Post:

Abolishing the higher rates councils charge businesses will be a priority for the Local Government Forum, says Wellington Chamber of Commerce chief executive and newly-elected forum chair Charles Finny.

 

The forum is a grouping of business organisations with an interest in promoting efficiency in local government.

Mr Finny said the previous Government had ignored the findings of an independent inquiry it commissioned that recommended differential rates for home owners and businesses be abolished.

The inquiry was led by Tertiary Education Commission chairman and former World Bank and International Monetary Fund official David Shand.

“A number of councils around New Zealand charge the business community a lot more than the standard house owner, and it really acts as a disincentive for people to set up and invest in these communities.

“It’s basically illegal unless councils can prove businesses are getting the same proportion of extra benefit in line with the extra taxes they are paying.

“It was a very good report for the [previous] Government and it’s been shelved. We want that dusted off pretty fast.”

In September last year, rates for business owners in Wellington were more than four times those for residents. Wellington City Council is aiming to reduce the differential to 2.8 times by 2012.

The forum is due to meet with new Local Government Minister Rodney Hide this week.

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