Sideshow Bob has conceded defeat on the massive 24 percent council rent rise.

That rise will now be replaced by a 2.3 percent rise and the extra rent paid by tenants since July 1 will be refunded- with interest - by the Christchurch City Council.

Thanks to Sideshow Bob's ideological lunacy, the ratepayer will also be paying the $17,000 legal costs incurred by the Council of Social Services which mounted the court challenge to the proposed increase.

This is on top of another $15,000 forked out on legal bills to see whether a legal appeal could be mounted to challenge the High Court decision to rule the massive rent rise invalid.

This particular battle may of been won but the war is far from over.

Parker can't be trusted ever, and he continues to push the myth that unless rents are substantially raised then council housing will not be self-funding.

Of significance is that last week Parker raised the prospect of council rents being subsidised by rates. This is a clear attempt by Parker to garner support among the Christchurch community by falsely portraying council housing as being another 'burden' on Christchurch ratepayers.

What Parker and his supporters were really trying to do was substantially raise council rents in order to keep rates down for everyone else down. It was more of Sideshow Bob's 'take from the poor to give to the rich philosophy': some of Christchurch's poorest and most vulnerable people were being targeted in order to give Fendalton and Merivale homeowners a 'rates break'.

The increase in rent would of meant that the council’s own maintenance company could charge more and contribute to increased profits for its holding company and so keep rates down.

It's a little worrying that social agencies who have said that they are prepared to work with Parker to find 'new funding for social housing' appear to have accepted, perhaps unintentionally, Parker's false argument about council housing not being self-funding.

They should not accept Parker's agenda to move social housing from being a breakeven concern to one that provides a profit. This is discredited monetarist philosophy and one that organisations like the Council of Social Services should not buy into.

It'll be interesting to see what comes out of the extraordinary council meeting this week where ' a new direction for council housing' will be set.

Opponents should already be alerted by such phrases as 'new direction' - this is code for nothing more than implementing a tired and discredited new right agenda.

The Minister of Local Government and monetarist zealot Rodney Hide will no doubt be watching proceedings closely...


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