News release

28 August 2007
NEWS: Unsustainable rates rises need serious attention

National Party Leader John Key says the findings of an inquiry into rates support what National has been saying about the heavy burden now being carried by homeowners.

"Kiwis will be alarmed, that along with increasingly unaffordable houses and rising mortgage payments, there are now warnings that rates will become unsustainable in a decade."

In a recent speech, Mr Key laid out a platform for how National would broadly approach infrastructural issues facing local authorities. [1]

"National will be looking to develop a common investment framework spanning both central and local government investment in infrastructure, and which incorporates environmental, as well as economic, considerations.

"We share responsibility for infrastructure, so we want to see a shared basis on which to make sound infrastructure investment decisions.

"My intention would be to offer local government a broader range of tools which can be used to address the needs of local communities. These options could involve increased use of partnerships, charging arrangements, and longer-term financing.

"As today's report confirms it is not sustainable to simply keep on putting rates up year after year."

Mr Key says central government has to put its hand up, too, and take some of the responsibility for rising rates.

"National has identified 60-odd separate pieces of legislation passed in the past seven years which have impacted on local councils.

"Councils now have new obligations, which in many cases have not been adequately funded by the Government.

"A National Government would look to establish a much better process for the delegation of any new responsibilities to local government." 

To read National Party Leader John Key's speech to Local Government New Zealand, click here.