Bloomberg picks up Auckland City news

Banksie will be right chuffed with the positive coverage he is getting for his council’s wise budget.

Bloomberg has picked it up now;

Feb. 12 (Bloomberg) — Auckland, New Zealand’s most populous city, will increase land taxes by as little as 2 percent this year, less than half its earlier estimate, after cutting costs and freezing salaries.

The increase has dropped from an estimated 5 percent as New Zealand’s economy slumps into a recession, reducing operating costs, Deputy Mayor David Hay said in an e-mailed statement.

Smaller-than-expected increases in land taxes, paid by all citizens who own property in the city, may bolster incomes amid rising unemployment and a housing slump. New Zealand’s economy began contracting in the first quarter of last year and may not grow again until the second half of 2009.

“By making rates more affordable for people, we are taking a lead in these difficult times to help the economy adjust and maximize the city’s and the country’s ability to navigate the economic downturn,” Hay said.

Prime Minister John Key has proposed freezing the salaries of politicians and urged managers of government departments and private companies to show restraint.

The council has agreed with the city chief executive “that there be no additional budget set aside for staff salary increases,” Hay said. “We are working hard to find savings in the budget.”

The decision adds to signs that inflation will ease. Reserve Bank Governor Alan Bollard last year said there was a risk that price inflation in parts of the economy that are subject to less competitive pressure, such as local governments and power companies, may persist.

Land taxes rose 5.7 percent last year while overall consumer prices increased 3.4 percent, according to government figures.

I love it how rates are described as they really are, “Land Tax”. Could we please have some more of this refreshing honesty.

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