Penny Bright loses appeal over $34k in unpaid rates
Auckland mayoralty candidate Penny Bright has had an appeal over her tens of thousands of dollars in outstanding rates dismissed in court.
In February, the Auckland District Court ruled she was required to pay $34,182.15 in penalties and rates to Auckland Council - but Ms Bright appealed the decision and the case was taken to the High Court.
However, on Tuesday afternoon, the court announced her appeal had been unsuccessful.
Ms Bright has failed to pay her rates since 2007, and has claimed previously that she will not pay until the council starts operating with more transparency, and provides more evidence of how cost effective council amalgamations are.
Justice Geoffrey Venning, in announcing his decision, said that Ms Bright must pay rates for her Kingsland home in the same way other Auckland residents do.
"Ms Bright, like other ratepayers, has an obligation to pay the rates that have been validly assessed as payable by her," he said.
"Her refusal to do so simply increases the administration costs of the council."
The council has praised the decision, saying they had "consistently maintained" that Ms Bright pay her rates, "as a matter of fairness to all ratepayers".
They also said they would rather not return to court to battle Ms Bright over the issue.
"As we have previously stated, taking court action is the last resort for the council to recover unpaid rates," group chief financial officer Sue Tindal said.
"We remain open to receiving a valid application for a rates postponement from Ms Bright and working with her to ensure payment is made in a manner which suits her financial circumstances."
The council still has an option to apply for a ratings sale at the High Court in order to recover what it is owed by Ms Bright.