Otago regional councillor Michael Laws today said that local government throughout the Otago region “need to urgently revise their draft annual plans because projected rate rises for the 2022/23 are simply not an option in the current ‘cost-of-living’ crisis.”
“ That particularly includes our regional council where we are projecting an 18.5% rates increase for next year.
I think such a rise in rates and local government charges would be a dreadful assault upon many struggling households and businesses. It cannot be business as usual.”
Cr Laws said that the average 49.5% regional rates increase last year “was the result of past council failure and the imposition of costly central government policies.”
“But I don’t think we can use that excuse this year. Galloping inflation, the price of essential food items, the inability to escape petrol and diesel price escalations… we should not adding to the household burden.”
“In most parts of Otago, there is no public transport.
It is impossible to escape the diesel/petrol costs and the grocery items that are going up every week.”
Cr Laws said many councils were ready to launch their draft annual plans and go through the “tick box consultation phase.
Most people know local government consultation is a bit of a sham.
“So it rests upon us – the elected reps of our communities – to step up now and say ‘taihoa’.
The world has changed and we have to with it. Overnight, if necessary.”