Council reveals rates shortfall

By Amie Hickland

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Greater Wellington Regional Council has released details of its expenditure in Wairarapa and the $11.2 million shortfall between rates and spending.

Wairarapa district councils have agreed on the preferred option of a Wairarapa unitary authority and held public meetings on the issue this month.

The regional council released the figures after it was claimed the Wairarapa governance review working party was unable to determine the true amount of spending in Wairarapa.

GWRC chief financial officer Bruce Simpson said they supplied detailed figures some months ago to Morrison Low, which was commissioned to write a report on governance options for the Wairarapa councils.

"In the lead-up to this week's public meetings, it seems claims continue to be made that either Wellington Regional Council has been unforthcoming with the figures or that the figures are overstated," he said.

"So we are making public the figures we supplied some months ago to put an end to the perception that we have been somehow holding back."

The numbers show the regional council's main spend in Wairarapa is flood protection, which costs $3.3 million in the region, and draws $2.14 million in rates. The next biggest cost is public transport, which accounts for $3.22 million, but is allocated only $700,000 in rates from Wairarapa.

Mr Simpson said the figures had been reviewed by PriceWaterhouseCoopers.

"We have always acknowledged that allocating spending between geographical areas involves an element of estimation," Mr Simpson said. "But PriceWaterhouseCoopers has confirmed that our figures provide a good general picture of regional council spending in Wairarapa."

Working party chair Lyn Patterson said council supplied the figures to the working party in as much detail as it was able to and these were included in the Morrison Low report.

She said they accepted these as advised by Greater Wellington but as they were based on estimates, they were unable to determine the exact amount spent.Figures supplied to the Times-Age by Greater Wellington Regional Council (GWRC)

- WAIRARAPA TIMES-AGE

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