Bernard Orsman is Super City reporter for the NZ Herald.

Auckland mayoral candidate John Palino promises Bill of Rights for ratepayers

Auckland mayoral candidate John Palino
Auckland mayoral candidate John Palino

A bill of ratepayers rights to enforce fiscal discipline is being promised by Auckland mayoral candidate John Palino.

He said too many politicians made promises at election time that they conveniently explained away when in office.

"This is why Auckland needs a real documented solution to hold the mayor and councillors to sensible spending limits," Palino said.

"As mayor, an early priority will be to establish an Auckland Ratepayers Bill of Rights. This will help protect ratepayers and all Aucklanders from future councils who choose to break campaign pledges and increase spending way above the rate of inflation."

Palino said if he could not encourage the Government to allow a bill of rights, the council could adopt one.

As mayor, an early priority will be to establish an Auckland Ratepayers Bill of Right
John Palino

The concept has been successfully demonstrated elsewhere. Voters in Colorado were upset at politicians continually breaking election promises on spending, so forced the adoption of a Taxpayer Bill of Rights, he said.

Palino said the Auckland Ratepayers Bill of Rights will do the following:

•Keep the total rate take to no more than the rate of inflation (but taking into account the increase in the rating base associated with population growth).

•Return any surplus of rates collected to ratepayers by way of rate reduction or pay down debt rather than spend on fringe "pet projects".

•Require any proposed rates rises above the bill of right inflation limit to be approved by ratepayers in a referendum held at the same time as local government elections.

•Make any major project with combined spending of over $1billion subject to a referendum held at the same time as local government elections.

•Require all council charges other than rates to be used on the services they are providing, rather than being used for general spending.

•Introduce a Citizens Decision Review Panel that will allow Aucklanders to appeal against stupid decisions made by council staff.

- NZ Herald

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