Councils across the country are facing a flood of bills to replace ageing water pipes, sewers and drains put down in the 1960s and they are calling on the Government to help plan and pay for the replacement infrastructure, which Local Government New Zealand says will cost up to $100 billion.
Prime Minister John Key has rejected a call by Local Government New Zealand to broaden the ways councils can raise funds.
For the convenience of email subscribers, here's my full Herald on Sunday column on Local Government New Zealand's call for a review of property rates as the main way for councils to raise money. I think any shift towards councils taxing income or sales would create another inter-generational wealth transfer and break a 150 year old social contract.
In announcing its review of how councils fund themselves, Local Government New Zealand (LGNZ) also highlighted the early success of the Local Government Funding Agency (LGFA) and the 'headroom' councils have to borrow to fund infrastructure.
Local Government New Zealand (LGNZ) has launched a review of the way councils raise money, suggesting complements to property rates ranging from payroll taxes to sales taxes to congestion charges and visitor taxes.