15 Mar 2013

Kaipara rescue package put forward

7:57 am on 15 March 2013

The commissioners running the Kaipara District have come up with a plan they say will fix its financial woes in a decade.

The Kaipara District Council was sacked by the Government after losing control of its finances.

The commissioners say in ten years' time Kaipara's debt will have shrunk from $80 million to a prudent level of $50 million.

Chairman John Robertson says that goal will be achieved by a 9.3% rate increase and by restraints on council spending.

Mr Robertson says part of the debt relating to the Mangawhai sewerage scheme will be spread across the district and subsequent rate increases will be in line with inflation.

He says unless the council's debt is reduced quickly, ratepayers will be exposed to the risk of rising interest rates on the loans.

The Kaipara Ratepayers' Association says slashing the debt so quickly will impose unaffordable costs on many Kaipara people on low and fixed incomes.

The group's chair, Ron Manderson, says he fears the plan is too drastic.

The association says 3,500 people are still withholding their rates in protest at the previous council's borrowing and rate increases.