Federated Farmers want major changes to how local government is funded, pointing out how declining rural populations and rising local obligations collide

Federated Farmers want major changes to how local government is funded, pointing out how declining rural populations and rising local obligations collide

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Federated Farmers says the just released Local Government New Zealand discussion paper has highlighted the need to end reliance on the current property-value based rating system.

Federated Farmers local government spokesperson Katie Milne says continuing to set rates based on the value of a property is a crude and simplistic tool which is unsustainable.

“Farmers find themselves paying for services they don’t or can’t use.  In effect, the current rating system means farmers are subsidising people who live in towns,” Katie Milne says.

“Local government in many cases is suffering a decline in its population from which to draw rates.  This problem then gets passed onto farmers who find rates becoming an increasingly spiralling proportion of their farm costs.”

But Katie Milne says the discussion paper is timely in its pointing to more equitable and efficient rating systems.

“We like the attention given to expanding the existing revenue system, such as in user charges.  This is clearly a fairer and more flexible way of at least part funding local government activities.”

“There should also be a look at institutions which are rates exempt, yet which use council services.”

“Local bodies need to get a more robust way of deciding both their rating and spending.  The Long Term Plan process for councils helps, but is not the full answer.”

Katie Milne says there needs to be a close look at how central government imposes new rate burdens on local government.

“It’s the easiest thing in the world for a government to keep taxes down by shoving the cost down the chain to local councils.  But if they are going to do that then they need to help by paying for it out of income tax and GST income.”

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The rates burden is a national problem not a rural/ town divide. I pay my 8k in rates the guy who does my rubbish collection pays 2.5k on his house in a small rural town, the cost is a much bigger hurdle for him.
 Lets look at the problem and not use it to create division. Council spending is out of control. 

And CHBDC was exactly the council Katie had in mind in this release. Static or declining population and higher burdens placed on it by central government (via HBRC). No choice but to spends heaps on new sewer because they are told to but not nearly enough people to pay for it. 
Last time we talked about your council I flicked through their annual plan and they seemed to be openly hanging out for an amalgamation. Understandable.

Its a mess, we used to have a meat plant in town ( Bernard Mathews) we were told the excess  fat from it was causing most of the problems. Then they closed and we lost a lot of jobs and the town has been struggling to recover. Lots of empty rental houses.
  I went for a fly with a friend when I was last home and was amazed at the number or substantial houses on lifestyle blocks, complete with pools and tennis courts.  They were not there 20 years ago, the wealthy have moved out of town.
 The government keeps centralising, you can no longer sit a drivers license in town, jobs have moved to the bigger cities, even then, Napier and Hastings retail centers have a lot of empty shops.

and its from all levels, wanting access & telling folk how to do it....
like cows need be turned out every 14 days etc...
"Life in the barn is so easy on the cows, you open the door and the cows don't want to go outside. They'll go out for a run and come back in."

Generally councils are full of socialist types who will tell you "that their services are there IF you want to use them, and you are offered to just like everyone else".   

My reply is not only don't I want their service, or I can't use it; I don't want to be offered the service and I don't want to pay for being offered the service (that I can't use).

They then usually say the commnity demanded the services ( through the no hoper board process usually, or via the elected centeral gubbermint) and that the need for the services was more important that just the mere monetary cost, and that the council had full justification of the spending or they wouldn't have done it.

My reply is that perhaps those who actually _demanded_ the services should be the ones to pay for it, or at least a much larger contribution (government or consumer).    
Apparently suggesting people are responsible for their consumption is "user pays" and a complete no-no for councillors and socialist governments (who think "the community" actual owns everything so how dare we ask using people to pa, only rich business people should pay because they were rich).
 My reply is that if the consumers of a service didn't think they needed to pay for most of the services, I could not see how people who did not use the service or did not want the service could be expected to pay - considering that those who wanted it didn't feel like they needed to pay at all.