May have to sell up
Just for the record, I am not a bludger. I am currently a rates striker.
I have paid my rates to KDC without fail, since I became a property owner here in 1985. I have even paid the storm water rates (included in my rates demands) all that time, even though my property is regularly flooded, because of inadequate maintenance of the stormwater drain that flows through my property, servicing a large catchment which has slowly been covered with houses, driveways, curbs and sealed roads, since I first built on my property.
I continue to advise the KDC of their inadequate maintenance of this system, and watch the main road being slowly undermined by the water building up behind and around a culvert that is not maintained regularly.
I have also paid off almost four mortgages in that time, and as I head towards retirement age, I would hope to be able to continue to live in my only home that I built in 1985, and called my home ever since.
I have also worked and paid taxes all my adult life.
The reason I am now withholding my rates is because no one has been listening to the serious concerns raised by various ratepayers about why we suddenly have to pay a huge loan, three times higher than the original cost of a sewage system that I agreed to be part of. My rates have increased almost 200% since before EcoCare. That is an incomprehensible increase.
I have paid my Initial Contribution to the Mangawhai EcoCare system over the last four years. That was a significant increase in my rates, and took a large part of my income to pay. I understood that once I had completed that payment, my rates would drop back down, not to the original amount, but to that amount plus an ongoing $800 per year fee for maintaining the EcoCare system. I agreed to that.
I am withholding my rates because neither the MP in charge of local body councils, nor the Ombudsman, nor the Auditor General, it seems, have taken any notice of our concerns. In fact the government, including one of our own Northland MP’s (not someone I voted for), seem to think a quick bill pushed through Parliament will cover up all those inconsistencies and concerns that we have, and make us pay.
However, a High Court judge has ruled that we do have a point, and we will get our week in court to be heard. I wonder if this government is working legally, if it refuses to listen to our own justice system.
I expect to pay my rates again when this matter has been resolved.
If the rates remain as high as they are now, I will have no choice but to sell up and move away from my own home of 30 years. Is that fair?
(Name & address supplied)
Who will run council?
I read ‘Time for new broom’ [Letters to the Editor, Sept 23] in the last issue with interest and a smile. Suddenly I was well back last century, sitting in a class at intermediate school listening to a visiting student teacher. I have no idea what the lesson was about but do remember the story she told. Maybe that was the lesson as I’ve remembered it so well:
A young lad had his heart set on being a cabin boy. He’d approached captain after captain but no-one would take him on. Finally, when yet another captain turned him down because of his lack of experience, he burst out, ”Sir! Had you ever been to sea before you’d been to sea?”
Hmmm, when all of the ‘old boys network’ and/or all of the experienced councillors are either retired or not elected, who then shall run the councils?
Special General Meeting concerns
The executive committee of the MRRA would like to inform our members and supporters that we have grave concerns about the Special General Meeting planned for October 20.
We, the undersigned, consisting of all other seven committee members, have tried very hard to agree a collaborative working relationship with Bruce Rogan and will keep doing so for the sake of the rates fight, but to date it seems that he is not willing to co-operate.
Our focus is solely on winning the rates fight. We regret the distraction caused. We have all expressed to Bruce many times that we value his skills and passion dearly. But it seems he now does not wish to work alongside us – despite the fact we were elected to do that by our members. The rates fight is bigger than one person. We all have skills to offer. We can win by fighting together – not against each other.
Whatever happens, we ask you to continue your moral and financial support for the fight. For more information ring Martina 431 5161 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Bill Bygrave, Tineke Hosking, Joel Cayford, John Hale, Gary Colhoun, Graham McKenzie, Martina Tschirky