Poms come up with a great policy to limit rates increases

The poms were even more pissed off with their councils than we are, so they introduced a cracker of a law about increases to their equivalent of rates.

Dozens of councils are preparing to defy the Government’s council tax freeze, including many in Conservative heartlands.

A survey by The Telegraph found that at least 30 Tory-led local authorities are planning to reject demands to freeze tax rates this year.

They are among 60 across England who say they intend to increase bills from April — including almost half of the country’s 27 county councils.

The Government has said councils should help taxpayers with the cost of living and ministers will be particularly concerned in the run-up to the general election in May.

Eric Pickles, the Local Government Secretary, said residents should “demand an explanation” if councils refused the freeze.

He accused some of being “democracy dodgers” for planning to push up rates by 1.99 per cent, shy of the 2 per cent threshold at which they would have to hold a referendum.  

This would be a fantastic policy to have here, as it would stop the councils doing exceptionally stupid things because there is no way in hell voters would vote for a rates rise of greater than 2%.

Imagine what this would do to Len Brown and Auckland.

There are a few of things needed for local government reform in New Zealand.

The first is the power of recall and recall elections. The USA has them, Canada has them, and the UK is getting them. This would allow citizens to remove ratbag mayors and councillors instead of waiting 3 years.

The second would be to adopt a measure like that above or a Ratepayers Bill of Rights or RABOR…one that puts limits on what councils can spend our rates on without going back to the people for permission.

The last thing would be to remove the “general competence” provisions that saw councils across the nation borrow willy-nilly and lock ratepayers into a massive debt burden.

 

– The Telegraph

 


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  • Murray Smith

    Makes sense to me. Rates are an untamed dragon in New Zealand. By all means, put a chain on them.

  • peterwn

    Maggie Thatcher, as she strums her harp, will be looking down on the current UK Government and smiling.

  • I wouldn’t do a 2% cap, but rather a previous 12-months inflation cap. If you want to exceed that, you’d need a referendum. If you capped the rating powers, I don’t think ‘general competencies’ would become such an issue, as you’d keep the thieves on a lead.

  • kloyd0306

    While such an idea is excellent, the entire issue begins with votes and voting.
    The ONLY people who should be allowed to vote on rates are those who pay them.

    • The Whinging Pom

      The slogan ‘No Representation Without Taxation’ has a certain ring to it, I feel.

  • cows4me

    Lets face it the grasshoppers are having hunger pains. The bloated bureaucracies that are councils don’t like the idea of shrinking the trough, it scares the crap out of them. I doubt any resection will reign councils in both here and in the UK. These organizations are nothing but gangsters hell bent on protecting and promoting their own lifestyles. The only way to pull these people up will be a large dose of cold turkey.

  • sandalwood789

    “…a Ratepayers Bill of Rights or RABOR…one that puts limits on what
    councils can spend our rates on without going back to the people for
    permission.”

    Excellent idea.

    I would add to that – I’d like to see limits on the size and salaries of councils.

    Oh, and *transparency* – the Taxpayers’ Union does a lot of work in that area. I believe that the stuff they do (e.g. publishing council spending) should be mandatory. It would be a real eye-opener to see councils compared on their number of employees and their salaries.

  • Effluent

    As long as Len is able to buy votes from the (mostly no rate paying or low rate paying) outer suburbs, using the rates revenue from the eastern suburbs, that is what he will do. Why wouldn’t he?

    He’s obviously a follower of Slick Willie Sutton, who is supposed to have said, when asked why he robbed banks, “….because that’s where the money is”

    this is the way the system was set up by National and Act, and I can’t figure why the did so, without setting any mechanism to restrain the rapacious greed of the inevitably lefty mayors that resulted from the amalgamation.

  • Paranormal

    Rodney introduced a RABOR to NZ parliament (from memory around 2006), only to have it shot down by Greypower supported Winston First. That’s where the real venom should be directed. If that had been in place loopy Len would never have had the chance to overspend.

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