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Thursday
Nov282013

UAGC to be Revisited

One of the most contentious LG issues over the years surrounds the regulated maximum 30% (of total rates on each separate rating unit) comprising on the UAGC (Uniform Annual General Charge).

The simple explanation of this limit is to avoid councils loading up the flat rate charge, and thereby subsidising other individual charges. It has had the social benefit of enabling councils to keep rates down on lower value properties - whether a land, or capital value rating system is used. 

It has always caused resentment amongst councils and councillors who take the view that everyone receiving the same services should pay the same amount, and that any differentiation tied to property value, whether land or capital is an imposition on those who have more valuable properties.

It does not take a doctorate to work out that this has become a major political football over the years with those of a more left wing bent favouring the lowest possible proportion of rates been assessed in this manner, and those of the opposite persuasion taking the view that favours more valuable property owners. It is as simple as that. I may be corrected, but I believe that the limit was imposed by a Labour Government, and National have avoided altering it in the belief that it may result in a political back-lash.

With Mr Tremain now the Local Government Minister, we may expect a strong move from National dominated councils to apply pressure to have the limit removed, or raised considerably. This would have the effect over time of flattening out rate assessments, and give great comfort to those who have a limited understanding of the difficulties faced by lower income rate-payers.

I would have to say that our Council definitely falls into the category of councils that would like to see the minister remove the limit. If you are in any doubt about this, I quote from the Diary entry in the Chief Executive's November Report:

"Met with neighboring councils in Waihi. Briefed him (Tremain) on projects and other issues such as the need to remove to 30% cap on UAGCs".

David Hammond is simply reflecting the mood around the table of our Council. Remarks made after this Report was discussed yesterday indicated a clear preference for removal, and as soon as possible. It is my impression that our Council is made up almost entirely of National Party supporters - either card carrying or otherwise.

They reflect the views of their constituent supporters who are in the main rather well off, and who have long resented any differentiation in rate levels based on property value.  They do not necessarily represent the views of the majority of ratepayers - particularly when only 50% voted in the election. 

 

 

 

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