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Government called on to pay the country's next rates bill

02 April 2020

From Chris Leitch, Social Credit Leader

The government needs to step up and pay the next rates instalment to councils on behalf of property owners and businesses as part of its economic support package.

People are facing unprecedented financial stress directly due to the measures implemented by the government, and it needs to support property owners and renters by taking the rates burden off their shoulders.

It should also pay the next ground rents due on land leased from councils.

Government could source the roughly $2 billion dollars needed direct from the Reserve Bank without it being a cost to taxpayers or the country.

Such a move would be a win-win for councils, property owners, business owners and renters.

Councils would get their rates income on time and not face a long wait from rates deferment and possible bankruptcies.

In return councils should be required to cancel all proposed rates increases for a minimum of one year.

Business owners, most of whom will have no income for at least four weeks and minimal income for weeks after would not be billed by landlords for the next rates instalments.

Commercial property owners would not face the possibility of businesses having to defer payment or not paying the rates bill because of bankruptcy.

Home owners with little or no income would not see budgets stretched to breaking point with a rates payment due.

Residential landlords should be required to share a minimum of 75% of the benefit of the rates paid with their tenants through a reduction in rent.

Councils would still send rates bills to essential businesses still operating who would have to show their revenue has declined by 30 per cent or more, or costs increased by 30 per cent or more, to be eligible for a rates rebate, similar to the criteria the government has used for its wage subsidy scheme.

Income collected from that source would replace some of the rates lost through the councils deferring rates increases.

A help line should be set up for residential tenants who have not received a rent reduction to have that investigated.

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