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Court rules for KDC in rates case

 

Last week Whangarei District Court Judge Keith de Ridder found for the Kaipara District Council (KDC) in their case against Mangawhai rates defaulters Bruce and Heather Rogan.

The Rogans had been made a test case by the KDC who are now taking a hard line against the small number who still hold a hard line against rates payments.

However, far from being a step towards putting the saga to rest, the Rogan’s have immediately voiced their intention to appeal which will no doubt delay any further progress or settlement until well into next year.

This will be, in essence, a stay of execution for the Rogan’s but for other non-payers, overdue costs will continue to increase their debt.

Having refused to pay their rates since 2011 citing KDC and Northland Regional Council (NRC) documentation did not comply with the Local Government Rating Act, the Rogan’s lawyer, Jeremy Browne, argued that they did not challenge the validity of the rates, but the power of the local authority to set or assess rates.

In reference to the Act, section 47(2) Judge de Ridder emphasised: “The ratepayers liability to pay is not affected by the fact that the correction of the rates invoice is required.”

In other words, while there may be some discrepency in the invoice, the ratepayer is still liable for the rates.

The Rogan’s have been ordered to pay in excess of $20,000 plus interest plus some costs.

The Mangawhai Ratepayers & Residents Association executive says the decision will be appealed adding more time in reaching any conclusion and more costs to the long-running saga which has borne little fruit for dissenting ratepayers despite all grievances being well-aired in several Court appearances to date.

 
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