Who do you call when your rates double without warning?
Invercargill cockies called Federated Farmers and they’ve negotiated a change in the city council policy.
Federated Farmers is praising Invercargill City Council for listening to farmers in order to crack a rates impasse that had soured relations between farmers and the City Council. The changes will mean an average saving of around $3,000 per farm from 2010 compared to 2009.
“Both Doug Fraser, Federated Farmers Southland local government spokesperson, and I worked with 70 farmers and Federated Farmers staff to lobby Council to realign its rating policy,” says David Rose, Federated Farmers associate spokesperson for local government.
“The rating burden on Invercargill farmers just doubled in 2009 without any warning and I suspect this took even the City Council by surprise.
“Thanks to the hard work and facts-based lobbying of Federated Farmers, we’re able to celebrate Council officially announcing that it will take farm rates back to a more historic level. This means the rates that farmers paid last year will roughly halve and this is great news.
“I believed that this rights last year’s wrong. I am full of praise that the Council is honourably admitting that last year’s rating levels were wrong and it’s a big positive that we can build the relationship between the Council and Federated Farmers.
“It demonstrates the constructive role that Federated Farmers plays for New Zealand’s farmers and proves that honest dialogue achieves results.
“Federated Farmers is now working with the Invercargill City Council to review funding policy, which Council has committed to do and this prospect is exciting. We are looking to align the rates that farmers pay with the services that they receive.
“However, for now, we’re celebrating this success and genuinely thank Invercargill City Council for listening and understanding our concerns,” Mr Rose concluded.
Federated Farmers’ role as an advocate for farmers and the wider rural community is an even more important one now that New Zealand is increasingly urbanised.
I hope the farmers who benefit from this decision, and others elsewhere who might need the organisation’s help one day, recognise that and support the organisation which supports us.