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Court win won't budge rates avoider

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 12/07/2016

A woman who owes Auckland Council tens of thousands of dollars in rates says she won't be budged by a court order telling her to pay - and she's just going to appeal again.

Kingsland resident Penny Bright has since 2007 conducted what she calls a "one person rates revolt" by not paying her council rates, claiming the local body isn't transparent or held to proper account for its spending.

She was ordered in February to pay the more than $34,000 she owes, including penalties, by the District Court.

This week, a High Court turned down her appeal of that decision.

"Ms Bright, like other ratepayers, has an obligation to pay the rates that have been validly assessed as payable by her. Her refusal to do so simply increases the administration costs of the council," Justice Geoffrey Venning said in his decision on Monday.

The council welcomed the decision but said taking court action was a last resort.

"We have consistently maintained that as a matter of fairness to all ratepayers, Ms Bright should pay her rates," group chief financial officer Sue Tindal said.

But Ms Bright told NZ Newswire the High Court's decision wouldn't be the end of the argument.

"There's hundreds of millions of dollars going God knows where and nobody else seems to be even attempting to make the council accountable to the rule of law. So I'm not budging," she said.

She said she would now be taking the case to the Court of Appeal.

"I'll keep going because I'm not wrong. Persistence gets there in the end. It's been nine years and I will not give up."

It was last year reported the council had also spent $100,000 battling a defamation case brought against it by Ms Bright.

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