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Otago ratepayers could face a $2 million rates bill as its Regional Council employs extra staff to contend with the Government’s new Freshwater regulations, National’s MP for Waitaki Jacqui Dean says.

“The Otago Regional Council has calculated it may need to employ up to 50 extra staff to meet its obligations under the proposed Freshwater law changes, and at a conservative estimate that’ll cost ratepayers around $2 million extra.

“That doesn’t include more staff accommodation in Dunedin, Alexandra or Cromwell which will be required by council for the extra numbers.

“The Government has weighed down the Otago Regional Council with its onerous and labour-intensive water regulations without any consideration that it’ll be mum and dad ratepayers who’ll have to pick up the tab.

“The newly-elected Otago Regional Council, which sat for the first time this week (Wednesday), will face tough decisions around extra staffing and it’s only the first regional council in the country to do the figures, with 10 more to come.

“National supports cleaning up our waterways, but the Government’s freshwater reforms are hugely complex and will leave the Otago Regional Council and its ratepayers severely out of pocket.” 

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