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101 ways for councils to cut rates

The Taxpayers’ Union has today published a new report by Jono Brown that suggest ways local councils can save money and reduce the rates burden on New Zealanders. Rate Saver Report: 101 Ways to Save Money in Local Government is a guide for local authorities on how they can cut waste, save money, reduce bureaucracy and ultimately lower rates. The report adopts many suggestions made by the country’s mayors, and is based on similar reports published in the United Kingdom.

Click here to read the full 101 ways

Too often we hear unimaginative councillors insisting that they have no choice but to increase the rates burden. Before they even consider increasing rates they should consider all of the suggestions in this report.  In future, any council claiming that raising rates is the only option had better be able to prove that they have implemented or at least considered implementing every single idea we are putting before them today. If not, they won’t be able to look their residents in the eye and insist that they have exhausted the possibilities for saving money.

Ray Wallace, Mayor of Lower Hutt, says in a foreword to the report:

"I urge local government people to take these suggestions as a challenge. If you do not like them, come up with some better ones."

Tim Shadbolt, Mayor of Invercargill City, says in a foreword to the report:

"Having been a mayor for 28 years and finally achieving a rate increase of less than 1%, I’ve learnt to face many challenges and this publication is certainly challenging. Some of the ideas are obviously worthy of discussion and others are clearly designed to provoke discussion."

Highlights of how councils can save money:

  • Pay back council debt (#1)
  • Incentivise innovation (#2)
  • Stop providing free lunch and booze for councillors (#3)
  • Don’t fund or join chambers of commerce (#4)
  • Publish all accounts payable transactions (#5)

Other notable suggestions include:

  • Scrap political advisors (#10)
  • Get rid of professional sports subsidies disguised as ‘economic development’ (#17)
  • Cancel annual subscription to Local Government New Zealand (#24)
  • Stop producing glossy brochures (#33)
  • Lease art the council can’t sell (#99)

The Taxpayers’ Union would like to thank the many Mayors across the country who responded to the Union's invitation to submit ideas and examples of their council saving ratepayers’ money.

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