City council told to cut 'bloated costs' to help ratepayers

Photo: Geoff Sloan
Photo: Geoff Sloan
The taxpayers' union says Christchurch City Council's decision to potentially allow delayed rates payments isn't enough to ease the financial impact of Covid-19 on ratepayers.

Mayor Lianne Dalziel this week called for rates payments to be deferred to help ratepayers during the Covid-19 lockdown.

The city council's emergency committee meeting will meet on Thursday to discuss a number of matters relating to the outbreak and subsequent lockdown, including mitigating the impact on ratepayers.

Ms Dalziel said she would like to be able to defer payments to aid those faced with financial hardship.

But NZ Taxpayers' Union spokesperson Islay Aitchison said while the mayor has recognised the pressure ratepayers are under, the council still needs to do more.

Photo: Geoff Sloan
Photo: Geoff Sloan
"It's a good thing that the council has recognised the financial pressure ratepayers are under," Aitchison said. 

"However, it's unacceptable to ask strained ratepayers to still cover the bloated costs of the council's old priorities."

"In light of the cost-cutting happening within local households and businesses, the council should likewise use its Thursday meeting to establish savings targets.

"When there's scope for cutting spending and leaving money in ratepayers' pockets, providing flexibility instead of genuine relief doesn't cut it.

"The council should also keep in mind the need to sustain transparency throughout the lock-down period.

"In accordance with the COVID-19 Response (Urgent Management Measures) Legislation Act 2020, ratepayers will rightly expect the council to provide a livestream of Thursday's meeting."

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