Rates dodger and bludger Penny Bright is being forced to sell her house

About time the Auckland Council moved to deal with rates dodger and bludger Penny Bright.

She has sponged off the rest of Auckland’s ratepayers for 11 years. Now it appears to be coming to an end.

Auckland activist Penny Bright may be forced to sell her house in order to settle a $35,000 dispute with the council.

Bright has been in a bitter stand-off with Auckland Council for 11 years over unpaid rates and penalties.

She stopped paying rates on her Kingsland home in 2007 and has long said she won’t pay up until the council is more transparent about its spending.

On Monday, however, the council asked the High Court to put the sale of her house in motion in order to recoup the $35,000 owed, a move which Bright says is “outrageous”.

No, Penny “Not so” Bright, what is outrageous is your wilful bludging off of other ratepayers to prove a silly point for which you will now rightly lose your house.

“This is the third time [council has] tried to force the sale of my freehold home, when what I’m doing is standing up for my lawful rights as a citizen,” she said on Monday.

The perennial activist and mayoral candidate said council was not providing information required under the Public Records Act about how Aucklanders’ rates were being spent.

“Rates have rocketed in Auckland, but where have they gone? I will not pay Auckland council rates until the books are opened. I believe there will be a number of people who will help support me in my stand for the council to open the books.”

She did not believe council would be successful in its legal battle to recover her unpaid rates.

“My house is not going to be sold and Auckland council is going to comply with the rule of law.”

Want a bet?

The council obtained a judgment against Bright in the Auckland District Court in January 2016.

Following an unsuccessful appeal by Bright and a statutory six-month stand-down period, the council on Monday asked the High Court to commence the sale process.

Council’s acting group CFO, Matthew Walker, said enforcement action to recover unpaid rates was a last resort and happened “very rarely”.

“The council has written to Ms Bright regularly over the last six months offering to resolve this matter. We have also offered to meet with her to discuss rates postponement, which she has declined,” he said.

“While we would prefer not to have reached this point, the council needs to be fair to the thousands of Aucklanders who do pay their rates or have a payment plan in place.”

Bright bought the Kingsland house in 1990 and stopped paying rates in 2007. If she simply paid back her outstanding rates to council, she would not have to sell her property.

The judgment was for $34,182.56 in rates and penalties outstanding as of 30 June 2015. The council was awarded total costs in the District and High Courts of $20,329.20.

Walker said if an arrangement couldn’t be reached with Bright and the sale of the property went ahead, it would be used to recover the full amount of outstanding rates and penalties and any further costs, including real estate agency and legal fees.

The remainder of the proceeds from the sale would be released to Bright through the Public Trust.

Rate dodgers should be penalised. I’m pleased the council has moved to make this happen.

All Penny Bright has to do is pay her rates like every other ratepayer in Auckland. It’s about time Penny Bright faced her own accountability situation.



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As much at home writing editorials as being the subject of them, Cam has won awards, including the Canon Media Award for his work on the Len Brown/Bevan Chuang story. When he’s not creating the news, he tends to be in it, with protagonists using the courts, media and social media to deliver financial as well as death threats.

They say that news is something that someone, somewhere, wants kept quiet. Cam Slater doesn’t do quiet and, as a result, he is a polarising, controversial but highly effective journalist who takes no prisoners.

He is fearless in his pursuit of a story.

Love him or loathe him, you can’t ignore him.

To read Cam’s previous articles click on his name in blue.