A reader has sent this in to me. They note:
Just got a letter today that informs me that the Auckland Council will now inspect my pool fencing every three years to make sure it is still there and charge me for the privilege. Revenue generating at its best.
Original inspection received sign-off. It cost a fortune to put in a steel fence. Current charge for initial inspection is $75 – I am OK with that and foolishly thought that was the end of it.
Now it will be inspected every three years at a higher cost of $125 per inspection. For now.
My points are:
- Why follow up inspections? It is a metal fence set in concrete – we are hardly likely to lift it out of the ground
- Why more expensive since it is just (supposedly) reaffirming it is still there so technically they could look from the top of our drive and view it rather than inspect it
- Why can’t we just send in a photo showing it is still there – saves them a trip and us a lot of money
This is revenue generating pure and simple. It is a loose interpretation of Fencing of Swimming Pools Act 1987 section 10 (Every territorial authority shall take all reasonable steps to ensure that this Act is complied with within its district.)Exploitation of vague legislation seen as a revenue opportunity.
Since Len(it’s all about me) came in our rates have increased and services decreased as well as additional charges sneaking into the mix. This is snowballing and there seems to be no vehicle to challenge other than talk to a child at the call centre who sounded very sweet but “that picnic may be short of a sandwich” if you know what I mean. She struggled to know what to say and failed to find me anyone to talk to. Any suggestions for recourse?
The $75 initial charge does seem okay, but checking every three years the fence set in concrete is still there seems indeed just revenue generating – especially as they will cost more than the original check.
Readers will be aware that Australia is facing huge deficits, despite the promise of the previous Government to get into surplus.
As a response to this, the Centre for Independent Studies has proposed some fiscal rules to bind future Governments. They are:
Fiscal rules are not new for Australia. The Labor Hawke/Keating Government set rules being:
Anyway what I like most of all is their mechanism to encourage Governments to keep to the fiscal limits or rules. They propose:
This would involve cutting federal politicians’ overall remuneration by 1% for every percentage point breach of each fiscal rule for the duration of the breach.
Now that appeals!