12 Aug 2014

Mangawhai rates rebels keen to keep fighting

7:04 am on 12 August 2014

Mangawhai ratepayers have voted to fight on through the courts over having to pay rates to cover loans they never knew about.

The rates rebellion in the small Northland town began nearly three years ago when Kaipara District Council's debt blew out to $80 million and it was sacked by the Government.

The ratepayers have been challenging their liability for the debt ever since.

The High Court has found the council's borrowing for a $60 million sewerage scheme was illegal, but found it could not invalidate the rates levied to pay the debt because Parliament subsequently passed a special bill validating them.

Ratepayers' Association president Bruce Rogan said about 520 members voted in favour of challenging that decision in the Court of Appeal and only four against.

He said if the council can get away with what it did, every ratepayer in the country is at risk from the actions of a rogue council.

Mr Rogan said the association would decide on Wednesday whether to go to the Court of Appeal.

Mangawhai ratepayers voted in favour of challenging the High Court decision.

Mangawhai ratepayers voted in favour of challenging the High Court decision. Photo: PHOTO NZ