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Rich prick doesn't want to pay rates

Penny Bright has shown her true colours of the ultimate hypocrite.

Not only does she own her own home mortgage free (rendering her by definition better off than most), she has taken it upon herself to attack every ACT and National Party MP in her miserable time as a lobbyist for the "poor".

Auckland Council uses these powers thousands of times a year, but Bright owns her own home without a mortgage, and is not salaried, and is therefore not susceptible to either tactic.

I find it astounding that left-winger Bright is the closest thing New Zealand seems to have to the  right-wing American Tax Protester.  She has no excuse for not paying her rates, she is active enough to attend meetings and involve herself fully in democracy in Auckland, all the while not wishing to contribute her legal share paying for it.

Penny Bright, a serially unsuccessful candidate in mayoral elections, stopped paying her rates in 2008 to protest a lack of council transparency. She said she would pay only when the council revealed details of the contracts it was awarding to private businesses as Aucklanders had a right to know where their money was being spent.

Recalling the reason for her rates protest, Bright said: "I wasn't going to pay my rates as long as they weren't going to tell me where my money was going."

How about the taxpayer get a list of everyone receiving the dole? Or the ratepayers receive a list of everyone in a council house and how long they have lived at the address?

Bright is merely highlighting what a blistering hypocrite she is.  She does not appear to actually have or want a job, lives in her own mortgage free home (Lord knows how she paid for that) and expects everyone else to pay for her all the time while wailing about how high rates and taxes are for those on "fixed incomes"?

Len Brown needs to man-up and send her the bill which chances are she will not be able to pay as it would be well into the five figures, with full interest and penalties and moves should then be made to sell her home. 

In the meantime, the Supercity council should release just how much money she owes.

Cathy Odgers is a Hong Kong lawyer. She blogs as Cactus Kate.

Comments and questions

Penny will not be out of bed yet CK but before she nuts off here all I have to say to end my piece is to ask her the total amount of rates she owes on her house which at 1 July 2011 was valued at $530k. Len should surely get $600+ for council coffers by sale time.

And who pays for the wheelie bin in front of her house on google maps to be emptied?

No excuse not to pay rates?

WOW just WOW.... the super city was meant to cut costs but they have sky rocketed. I have info suggesting the IT integration of the old councils is going badly and costing a bundle. Expect more rate rises rather than a more efficient council. I think we should all join her.

You're dreaming.
When Auckland is discharging no effluent to waterways you can start moaning.
Until then, shut up and pay to clean up the act.
Everyone else has to.

Whats with the anon effluent? I don't care if Penny is making some form of protest by not paying her rates, she's the one who has to cop the consequences, so what's the big deal? This is a piece of nasty writing written by an expat who takes delight in ripping people to shreds. It's not even well researched. Oh yeah, that's right, she's a blogger, not a journo. So easy to mouth off from afar.

Well spotted CK. Can't wait to read the not-so-bright response. Why has the council not acted against her? In another irony, she states to be on a quest for transparency re council spending, yet Transparency International won't have her as a member...

Man, talk about snarky bitchiness. Givin' Penny Bright the "Catcus" Kate hug, are we?

I'm never in favour of the state seizing private property. In this case, though, it could serve as good lesson to how rapacious and totalitarian our rates systems has become.

Seize her house and throw her out. That's the rules, let's play by them or we can all stop paying rates and taxes and fees and levies.

She does have a point about secret contracts being used to spend ratepayers' money. That can only end in corruption and unaccountability. Better to privatise the services completely and cut rates and council over-reach.

What secret contracts? The council has similar levels of transparency to Govt... I would like to see which contracts are specifically being referred to otherwise I feel its just an excuse to not pay rates.

The council should follow the US lead and just sell the debt to the the highest bidder then she can deal with Baycorp, which can sell the place if she won't pay.

Rates revolts have their place - I think Kaipara ratepayers have some genuine grievances, for instance - but I don't really buy it for Auckland.

The Kaipara ratepayers are aggrieved, but the money has been spent and the council responsible is gone - what are they now protesting about? They are simply freeloading off others who pay.

Sell the stupid woman's house and move on.

Give her a deadline to pay up first. Cut services off if she doesn't comply.

I care not a toss over Bright's ongoing methods of sticking it to city hall. It's cringeworthy in general. But, and it's a huge but, she was quite right in whistleblowing on the water rort and the continual deceit of politicians and bureaucrats in Auckland over every matter. You may have forgotten in your lovely tax friendly haven of HK that the sheep-thinking kiwis hardly even vote any more and with an average memory span of a few months people like Bright are just so embarrassing, as everyone knows that the city is in safe hands with as much money they choose to take off us. Yeah, right. About time we had more civil disobedience.

You poor slaves, can you not see? Taxation = $lavery

Cut off her waste water.
Stop collecting her trash.
Leave her recycle bin alone every fortnight.
Now that Watercare is council owned, I would almost say cut off her water too.

This is not fair on those who work hard and do pay their rates. We are all struggling in these times so when I hear about people like this not contributing, it really gets me angry.

Just another ageing Baby Boomer with a confused world view. I would be interested to know how she pays her way in life without a job.

Poor disclosure by councils is not a good excuse for not paying rates, but I do agree with those who say councils do not disclose enough. Good disclosure promotes fair business practices and customer satisfaction. The establishment of the supercity has stifled competition among councils by creating a monopoly. Better disclosure could be a cure for the monopolistic tendencies of the supercity council, especially its super bureaucracy.

Based on her argument, I could stop paying taxes unless the government disclosed all its contracts, too?

So she doesn't support Len Brown, and she definitely doesn't support John Banks (the second place runner in the mayoral election), then she really does represent the minority. Too bad we live in a democracy where majority rules.

At what point did council vote to allow debt set off against an individuals personal belief?

4 years..! This is yet another example of nz political and beaureaucratic stupidity. If the regulation is not being enforced, either it should be removed, or enforced, for gods sake will people in NZ stop pussy footing around.

I think I'll stop paying my rates as a protest to the council failing to collect rates...

Really Len brown how embarrassed are you?

Such vitriol!
One would almost suspect Penny Bright has hit a few sore spots on some of the writers.
Perhaps she even over watered Cactus Kate at one point?

No Ionis, Ms Odgers is stating the truth.
What is alarming is that no action against Ms "Bright" shows we are slipping back into the "bad ol' days" of the "squeaky wheel gets the oil" government.
Same in Nelson, read about how "Hone Heke" can get away with what the rest of us cannot.

I totally agree with Cathy Odgers.

But the questions I do ask, is why has Penny Bright not had the debt collector (assuming that the council contracts one), banging on her mortgage-free front door? Why has she not been taken to court for non-payment of rates? (an assumption, of course).

Unless Penny Bright is paying and has an arrangement with the council.

I just cannot see how she can get away with not paying her rates since 2008 without some intervention from the council.

I pay mine by direct debit and if it increases, my council informs me and my DD just automatically adjusts.

At my local council-owned library, there are for FREE, for ratepayers, our council's Local Transport Plans, etc. I download mine, but for many retirees they like to sit in the library and read them at their leisure.

Not too bright, are you Cathy?

I hope Penny doesn't repsond to your effluent, CK. Your not worth it.

Cactus has some reason for defending the council against transparency, or its sour grapes because Penny deposed her NAct friend? Is she just jealous because Bright acts directly, impacting history, while Kate only scribbles in a hope of influencing. Well, here's the news - effects flow from right intent, not baseless carping to get attention a la blogger styles.

Typical socialist. Rules, rates and taxes are for other people to pay. All lefties are self righteous hypocrites, convinced of their own sanctimonious superiority to the point that they don't need to obey the rules that they are so keen to impose on everyone else. Lawmakers who outlaw guns but have armed guards around them and their families. Global warming advocates who sell their global warming propaganda TV stations to TV channels that are funded by big oil (Gore), Auckland mayoralty candidates who ignore the rules of the Auckland Council - hypocrites, the lot of them.

Sell her up to pay the fees and fines and make an example of her.

A professional protestor and conspiracy theory nutter who turns out to be a petit-bourgoise person of means.

Auckland City, stop wringing your hands & get the courts to enforce the debt, commence bankrupcy proceedings if the debt is not paid.

Ummmm....the lady is not young, there is a whole history to this lady you don't know about and saying you don't know how she could have paid off her mortgage is pretty immature.

Paying rates and taxes is a must for anyone liable to pay them. Unpaid rates and taxes burden other rate and tax payers, not the govt or council.
Our right is to vote, and if we do not like what we get we vote against it, or as Ms Bright has so often done, actually stood for election herself.
By not paying, Ms Bright will face the consequences, and if her past actions predict she will squeal loudly and a few will listen and tut tut. But the great majority, who have not voted for her, will just observe that Ms Bright, like the rest of us, is not above the law.

Why hasn't the council put the account in the hands of the Justice Dept like they did for my four-day overdue "tree account" for $300. As someone has already said, "man up", Len.
Penny always had the hallmarks of a bludger.

The Auckland Council are up to their power-hungry tricks again.

"Not only does she own her own home mortgage free (rendering her by definition better off than most), she has taken it upon herself to attack every ACT and National Party MP in her miserable time as a lobbyist for the "poor"."

So basically what you're saying, Ms Odgers, is that anyone who is fortunate enough to own property is not permitted to remember where they came from? Not allowed to campaign on behalf of those less well off? Not allowed to engage in civic politics? Not allowed yto hold a goddamn political opinion???????

Wow! Whodathunk?

So what about John Key and his $50 million? Is he not allowed then, to govern on behalf of ALL New Zealanders, poor as well as rich?

You're grasping at straws, Ms Odgers, and picking at anything to suit your nasty agenda. Who's next on your Hit List I wonder?

"Conspiracy theorist"?

#22 Anonymous - meet #21 Magoo. You two should be very happy together! ROFL!