Sunday, July 02, 2006

Rates rise favours property elite

Wellington City Council looks set to do a John Banks. According to the Capital Times, the Council's Long Term Community Plan wants to double the Uniform Targeted Rates and continue moving the rates burden from business to residential properties. Both measures benefit the breadheads at the expense of the penniless.

Uniform charges are a lazy and haphazard way to spread sewerage and water costs. Even leftie Deputy Mayor Alick Shaw favours a user-pays system over this all-you-can-flush plan. Why should small bungalows pay disproportionately more than the palatial mansions of Kelburn and Karori? Do all those apartments going up around the town have a secluded one acre section to irrigate, a driveway to wash down the SUV on Sunday mornings?

Mayor Kerry Prendergast, happily married to the incredibly rich property owner/ developer Rex Nichols, continues her inexorable agenda to push the rates differential onto householders. What started out as a 7:1 ratio of business to residential split in 2000 looks set to become 4.4:1 next year, with a 'goal' of 2.8:1 by 2010. Eastern Ward's Leonie Gill belabours the obvious with the observation that businesses can make up some of their rates bill in ways residents cannot. What she mean, 'some'?

Both the Uniform Charge and the rates differential demonstrate the Council's desire to out-price the riff-raff and poor people, forcing them into the New Jersey of Lower Hutt, the Brooklyn of Porirua, or the Alabama of Tawa. This is no different from the selling of Council housing and UAGC charges that saw Banks' reign wipe out a whole central city subculture. It's daylight snobbery.

(Originally posted 25/4/06)