Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Reduce rates-yeah right

The Wellingtonian
The Editor

I read with interest your front-page story on Wellington rates (Nov 24). I guess the part of the equation that was left out was the very low turnout at the last election. I think you might find my web http://www.blogger.com/www.pepptalk.net of interest as there is considerable recent history on the rates issue. Around the time of WW1 ( I can't remember the exact date) there was a threatened rates rebellion in Wellington by residents. I was reading some early Evening Post publications in the Library when I came across it.

When I was first elected to the Wellington City Council I naively thought I could sort out the rates problem and I would have the support of other sensible councillors to do so. I was obviously in a delirious fevered state. While I never tire of telling Councillors that they are spending other peoples' money, rates continue to be a runaway train. Even worse while rates continue to rise so do user charges.

We have sold almost all our income earning assets and so now the cost of running the city falls almost entirely on the ratepayer. Thank you for mentioning the differential shift which will place an even higher burden on the residents who are unable to pass on the costs of rates, unlike the business sector. Now the residents are paying for those who use the City's services when they visit (tourists and outsiders) and work in it. As I think about it, that is quite wrong. Effectively it is a subsidy for the Central business sector.

When I was last in the USA a couple of months ago, I remember paying room tax in the hotels I stayed at, amongst other local taxes. With our currency being so weak against the other currencies we should do it here also. I also noted that the New York Times Newspaper ran a page 3 story on "New Zealand the most business friendly country in the world". I lamented that it didn't say "New Zealand The Most People Friendly Country."

I'm sure you will find my web history and blog of interest.


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