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$1.7 billion in savings helps reduce rates

22 August 2012

$1.7 billion in savings helps reduce rates

A total of $1.7 billion in savings will be delivered over the next 10 years to help keep rates well below projected increases of former councils.

The Mayor says Auckland Council has slashed projected spending by all eight former councils to bring in a low 3.6 per cent increase this year and help alleviate the impact of moving to a single rating system.

“Key infrastructure projects like building the City Rail Link have no impact on rates for the next eight years – the real rates dollars are going into upgrading existing sports grounds, public transport, local roads and sewerage systems, which Auckland needs to cater for growth,” says Len Brown.

That growth is projected to hit the two million people mark in Auckland by 2021 and will require the city to consider new ways to fund the critical transport projects required to keep Auckland moving.

“There is no doubt that significant investment in roads, rail, ferry, pedestrian and cycle infrastructure will be needed over the next 30 years, but how we pay for those is still up for discussion.

“We’ve delivered $1.7 billion in savings and efficiencies across the council over the next 10 years.

“The average rates change is 3.6 per cent. If you are paying more or less, then it is largely a result of merging eight councils and to say otherwise simply misrepresents what is a very prudent budget,” says Len Brown.

Prior to amalgamation Auckland Council faced a projected rates increase of 9 per cent. This also compares to the 5.7 per cent average annual increases across the former councils over the past seven years.

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“Even if we’d set a zero budget and cut spending on footpaths, libraries, electric trains or local parks, ratepayers would still be facing double-digit increases because of the amalgamation.

“The amalgamation was a massive challenge in all sorts of ways, not least of all rates, but we have brought in transition policies to smooth out any change and in the end we will have a fairer system where homes of the same value will pay the same rates, wherever they are in the region,” says Len Brown.

ENDS

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