Media Statement on Council Transparency

I released the following statement to the local media this evening.

 Council Needs to be More Transparent says Ayers

 “Many Waimakariri ratepayers are opening their rates accounts and getting a rude a shock,” says Mayoral Candidate David Ayers.

 “The reason for the shock is that the Council’s political leadership has not been transparent with its ratepayers.

 “Obsessed with being able to say that they have kept rates down to an ‘average’ of 3.7% they have not warned many that that their rates increases will be considerably higher than that.

 “Why wait until the rates demands are posted and let those ratepayers find out for themselves?

 “The Waimakariri Council needs to be much more open and transparent.” Said David Ayers.

 Far above the ‘average’ 3.7% are Oxford Urban rates averaging a rise of 10.7%, Rangiora Urban  7%, Ashley-Sefton 11.4%, Cust 6.1%, Fernside 7%, Mandeville 6%, Ohoka 7.7% and Summerhill 11.4%.

 “Most of these increases can be easily explained and in all case there are good reasons, “said Cr Ayers.  “The Council political leadership needs to take the ratepayers into their confidence.”

 For all ratepayers there is an increase of $58 per year in the pools charge as a result of the new Dudley Park Aquatic Centre and an increase of $27 per year for parks and reserves.  “Because they are charged uniformly for each property, the percentage impact on lower-rated properties is greater than for those who pay higher rates,” said David Ayers.  “This explains the dramatic percentage rise in the average Ashley Sefton property and in some other areas.”

 In the cases of Oxford, Rangiora and Summerhill the greatest impact comes from the cost of new water schemes – in the case of Oxford already in place, under construction in Rangiora and due for Summerhill in this financial year.  “All three of these schemes are needed, and in fact I and three other councillors fought hard to get them back into the programme, but again the Council’s political leadership could have forewarned the ratepayers more than two months ago when the Annual Plan was completed.”

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