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Lessons for Govt in Mangawhai rates win says Peters

 

There has at last been some justice for the long suffering Mangawhai ratepayers in Northland, says New Zealand First Leader and MP for Northland Rt Hon Winston Peters.

In an interim judgement, the High Court at Whangarei has upheld the judicial review brought by ratepayers, Bruce and Heather Rogan, against the Northland Regional Council.

The judge has declared that the council’s rates for the Kaipara District Council region have not been lawfully set or assessed for the rating years from 2011/2012 to 2015/2016 inclusive.

“Their partial victory in the High Court is a reward for the trojan effort they have put in to restoring their rights after years of incompetence, which has been brushed under the carpet by the National government,” says Mr Peters.

“Congratulations to the Rogans for pursuing this sordid mess which began in 2003 when the Kaipara council told residents the cost of the sewerage scheme would be no more than $10.8 million, but it blew out and the council borrowed $57.8m.

“In the long running saga, which included a failure to take legal action against the contracted company and rates validation was pushed through Parliament by the National government, residents were left facing a debt of $74m.

“New Zealand First has maintained the government must clear the debt,” he adds. “This judgment must force the government to legislate and hopefully this time not repeat the unethical and disgraceful sidelining of local interests in covering off central government incompetence.

“In short, this is a government-condoned mess and the people of Mangawhai have a right to expect that this time central government will act with a modicum of principle rather than bludgeoning, block-headed arrogance.”

 
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