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Farmer slates the process for rural rates

A South Wairarapa farmer has taken aim at the current rating system, saying it unfairly burdens the rural sector.

Featherston farmer Jim Hedley told a meeting of South Wairarapa District Council [SWDC] yesterday that farmers and rural ratepayers are paying for things they shouldn’t be.

“When voted in, councillors are meant to represent all. Instead, council have done everything to keep urban rates low at the expense of rural. This is the worst technique I have seen council use to achieve this,” he said.

“Do councillors understand the unforeseen consequences of their decisions?”

Hedley cited dog and animal control, footpaths, and the rural roads reserve as examples of a structurally unfair burden on rural ratepayers.

Until now the SWDC rural road reserve has been funded by rural ratepayers alone, although many rural roads have a wide range of users.

“This should be paid by both urban and rural as the roads are a network used by both,” he said.

“I say to the mayor and council, consider seriously and fix the problems I have highlighted in council’s proposal now and not leave it for another year, and stop doing everything to keep urban rates low at the expense of rural.

“Otherwise, all the words in the mayor’s message are meaningless.

“The mayor and all councillors have a fiduciary duty of care to rural ratepayers.

“Farmers are facing increases of $10,000.00 on top of the tens of thousands they already pay,” he said.

SWDC is expected to conduct a rates review process to address some or all of the issues Hedley raised.

– NZLDR

Public Interest Journalism funded through NZOnAir

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