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One way or another, most of us are consumers of local body services. Now at this time of a very austere world economy, I wonder how many of us are now finding out how well our particular local body has performed over the past decade or so. It is quite a relief to see that our new government is promising to make councils keep rates-rises to a realistic level, that is, less than the annual rate of inflation. It seems that Government will in fact 'walk the talk' and while at the moment, Government, the minister Rodney Hide MP, and Treasury Head Alan Bollard, are cautioning councils to be moderate, 'walking the talk' will mean legislating (again under urgency) if councils refuse to come into line. On a local basis, here in Central Hawkes Bay, our district council has for decades almost ignored core facilities ( in favour of fripery and 'social back-rubbing) so that even to catch up with core facilities to a standard required by central government, we are faced with huge debt. Having been jolted back to reality, council now wants to use a new system which will ratched up rates for most of us by anything between 20% & about 30%. Local ratepayers have had enough and will not go for that. Even if Government does moderate the rates rises, I have this feeling that a desperate local body can find some way of making fiscal war on its constituents.