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Mayor concerned at rising compliance costs

GISBORNE District Council needs to be careful that new charges for regional compliance monitoring and science do not affect small businesses, Mayor Meng Foon has said.

His comments came as the council decided to release a schedule of fees and charges for compliance monitoring and science for public consultation.

“The general concern from a lot of people is the continuous increase in fees and the cost of doing business, especially for the smaller businesses,” Mr Foon said.

“We just need to be mindful of the cost of doing business.

“We need to ensure that it is still sustainable and they are able to survive.

“Some of us around the table here are in small businesses and the compliance costs are just huge, really huge in comparison to our turnover and profitability.

“We want to encourage the organic development of small businesses.”

The amount of paper work, not only from the council but other organisations, they had to comply with was huge, he said.

“I think we have come from not a lot to a mountain of paper work, some through government policy.

“We need to come back to somewhere in the middle.”

Pat Seymour said some of that went back to the Government because the council did not set things like how many times various things had to be measured.

The council adopted an officer’s recommendation to establish new fees to cover costs currently borne by the general ratepayer despite them being for activities that were required to manage resource consents.

Gisborne was the only regional council/ unitary authority in the country that had none of these charges in place.

Workshops in October and November identified that moving from a 1 percent cost recovery for consent recovery activities, including monitoring, to a 25 percent cost recovery was appropriate.