18 Sep 2013

Kaipara commissioners offer olive branch to rates rebels

3:22 pm on 18 September 2013

The commissioners running the Kaipara District Council are holding out an olive branch to the leaders of the Mangawhai rates rebellion.

They are offering to formally admit the council's past rating errors to the High Court, if the Mangawhai ratepayers drop their court case against the council.

The Mangawhai Ratepayers Association have won the right to a judicial review of the council's borrowings for a sewerage scheme, and subsequent massive rate rises.

They are seeking a ruling the rates were invalid and that council cannot rate property owners to pay off loans it didn't tell them about.

The Commissioners are backing a local bill before Parliament, which would validate the unlawful rates.

They failed in a recent bid to have the court action struck out, and are appealing against that decision.

Chair of the Commissioners John Robertson says the council would rather spend its money on roads than legal bills.

Ratepayers' president Bruce Rogan says the association is consulting its lawyers about the commissioners' offer but it does not appear to address the core issue, or the best interests of the ratepayers.