The NZ Taxpayers Union has announced:
The Taxpayers’ Union is committing to creating a Tauranga Ratepayers’ Alliance following the alarming news from the unelected Council commissioners that they plan on a 22% then 12% cumulative rate hikes over the next two years.
This is appalling – a potential 46% increase in rates over three years – and by unelected commissioners.
It is important to understand that the appointment of Commissioners in Tauranga was on a very different basis to Kaipara and ECan.
In Kaipara the Council mismanaged a sewerage scheme so that the costs blew out from $17 million to $62 million. That’s on a population of 24,000 so was at a cost of around $3,000 per resident. And they broke the law in setting rates, needing an Act of Parliament to validate them. So Kaipara was in crisis.
With ECan, the Council was failing at basic duties. It was only processing 29% of consents within the statutory timeframe. It had no water plan. It had no regional planning framework. Some consent applications had been waiting five years for a decision. So they were also a Council in crisis.
Tauranga City Council is different. The reason the Council was sacked was not because the Council was unable to meet its legal duties. It was sacked because the relationships between the Mayor and some Councillors was so toxic that it was dysfunctional at the governance level. Now that can certainly justify appointing Commissioners, but the Commissioners should regard their role as status quo good governance, not radical change with no mandate.