A 90-year-old former city councillor is calling for a rates revolt over the Government’s sacking of Environment Canterbury (ECan) councillors.
“Why should I pay my rates when I don’t have a say?” Ruby Fowler said.
“I’d love everyone in Christchurch to do the same.”
Environment Minister Nick Smith and Local Government Minister Rodney Hide announced last month that ECan councillors would be replaced with up to seven commissioners, including chairwoman-designate Dame Margaret Bazley.
Smith last week described the threat of withholding rates as a “knee-jerk reaction”.
Fowler, a former teacher, said she never paid for anything that did not benefit her.
The council could only penalise late payers 10 per cent, she said.
That was less than $10 in her case.
“If enough people do it, they wouldn’t be able to continue,” Fowler said.
“I don’t know who’s going to pay Mrs Bazley’s salary – I guess [Prime Minister] John Key will pay.”
Fowler was proud of the city’s drinking water.
However, she said she was worried about what would happen to the water after the commissioners took over.
“I think it’s terrible. I pay my rates and I’ve always voted, and it took a lot to get our votes, women,” she said.
Fowler was a Labour city councillor in the late 1980s.
Former ECan chairman Sir Kerry Burke, who knew Fowler, said he was not sure if a rates revolt had gathered momentum.
“I think we have to respect the law … [but] I would not be surprised if significant numbers of people in our community would want some way to protest and the detachment of the regional rate would be, I’m sure, one of those avenues that would be taken,” he said.
Fonterra buys as government axes conservation orders says Chris Hutching NBR
Photo Hurunui River
Fonterra is positioning itself to take advantage of government plans to overturn the conservation order affecting Lake Coleridge and the Rakaia River.
Last week the milk giant announced it had aquired land for its new multi-million dollar milk plant in Canterbury at Darfield.
Governmentment-appointed functionaries will now consider the submissions and make their recommendations
to the minister who makes the final decision.
The preamble to the new act states that this is intended to fast-track proposed irrigation dams on the pristine Hurunui River and the conservation issues involving the Rakaia.
“Such a move, along with the dismissal of the ECan council, would be justifiably perceived by many as too big a hit to local democracy and would lead us straight into civil disorder. Yet that is what the government’s new water management act may well do…