Friday, May 6, 2011

Wayne Brown: Value for Rates and Taxes

I really dislike paying rates and taxes and these two are my biggest bills by far. I want some value back for them, and that is what drove me into the Mayoralty to at least get the most out of what we pay in rates. Some progress has been made- less staff, more business like approach, faster service, more concentration on things like roads, parks, sewers rather than meetings and reports, but there is still a long way to go.

Sadly, I never got the job in time to stop my predecessor throwing $20m away on projects that were to be funded from Development Contributions, but that money will never come in now that things have all but stopped on the development front.

Of course the recession hasn’t helped but we are at least paying back debt and being prudent, which is more than you can say about the government. The Nats seem to have all but abandoned their quite attractive basic beliefs of private enterprise and personal responsibility.

The list of lemons that we are propping up via our taxes is staggering. Why we are shovelling $1.6bn into South Canterbury Finance beats me, especially when everyone told them not to, and then to compound that foolishness by throwing another $600m at AMI Insurance is pure folly. AMI sold insurance at about 30% below the market and so all they need to do is pay out at 30% below the amounts insured. Those folk who paid no premiums at all will now be disappointed that the government doesn’t make us taxpayers cough up for them also.

The AMI CEO is now boasting that his clients are government guaranteed. He should be locked up!

Then there is $45m to prop up Mediaworks, a private company with lots of radio stations and TV cameras, but now in trouble. Why we are all paying taxes to fund that is a very good question. No doubt Mediaworks journalists won’t be asking very hard questions of the government in the run up to the election.

At a time when the rest of us are scrimping and saving, the government is borrowing in order to throw money at fancy yachts ($40m), Tupperwakas ($2m), Hollywood Movie Moguls ($100m for Bilbo Baggins of all appalling things). On top of that the Rugby World Cup is starting to look like Think Big in terms of over-promise and under-deliver.

I had a look at the party central building on Princes Wharf in Auckland. The new building looks interesting but why anyone in their right mind would bother preserving the ugly old packing shed beside it? They are pulling down much nicer buildings in Christchurch.

Still, as long as the All Blacks win we probably won’t mind being bankrupt!

Wayne Brown is a businessman and Mayor of the Far North District Council.


Anonymous said...

Am interested to know if the Far North Council are increasing rates this year, and if so by what percent.

Anonymous said...

3.8% this year.

Interesting is the comment, "Council welcomes submissions to its Draft Annual Plan but warns that submitters who want certain works einstated will need to comment on what other works or projects they think could be deferred to fund the project they favour.

Anonymous said...

you guys are lucky, try paying the huge Tauranga rates for art galleries, and other councillor bias projects but get no basics like reasonable roads and decent drinking water (we live centrally and cant drink our tap water as it tastes and smells like a swimming pool). Our waste and recycling are also paid for seperately over and above the rates we pay...even though our bill includes them????

Anonymous said...

We are paying a ridiculous rate bill on a bare section with no water supply - where exactly does the FNDC get off? If that is being frugal then where is the money being spent?

Anonymous said...

I Agree that taxes and rates in nz are too high
this is because we have very few people working
once you take out all the children,elderly and people on the dole.

Dean said...

To encourage the rebuild of the central city of christchurch it has been suggested that
the central city becomes a tax free zone for 10 yrs ,this will encourange investment and a faster better rebuild.there also will be a large amount of money come into nz and the city as a result.

Anonymous said...

Wayne has one of the most difficult councils in the country to manage and while he may not be the most popular of local politicians he is certainly one of the most effective. By comparison his southern neighbour Kaipara is in an appalling state. Debt per ratepayer and debt per $income is double that of Whangarei and the Far North and per $income even double that of Auckland. And still they go on borrowing. The cost of the proposed district plan so far is several million with lots more to come - for a plan that is just about as restrictive as it is possible to get ensuring there will be no great surge of growth in Kaipara. Planning and engineering consultants are absolutely screwing Kaipara and, with a total lack of leadership it is incapable of doing anthing about it. The proposed rate increase for Kaipara is 7.4% compared to about 3.8 for the Far North and 4 for Whangarei. At the present rate of decline will this once proud and efficient council serving only 8 thousand people be able to survive?

Anonymous said...

Narcissism is a social mental health issue that affects some bright people.
Thinking that they are special in some way and always seeing people with opposing views as targets, is just two of them. (look it up on Google)
It is hard to win against people with this illness, this usually stems from events on the persons early life affecting how they view the world.
They can be talented, but expect to be praised at every turn and wont suffer critism of any sort and are sore loosers and go into deep depression when caught out.

Putting aside all the flim flam, what really has Wayne Brown achieved for the bay of islands in past 5 years of management?
A couple of rugby matches at the kerikeri sports field and thats about it, for all the talk, not a lot else.
Apart from sacking some good talented people in the Far North Council, that wont tow his party line, on the grounds of saving money.