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“Rate, tax, borrow and toll” budget passes

Media release

Auckland Councillor Cameron Brewer

Thursday, 18 March 2014

“Rate, tax, borrow and toll” budget passes

“Given the huge level of public dissatisfaction, it’s disappointing that a majority of councillors have voted for a typical centre-left budget which sees the hand coming out for much more money from Auckland households, rather than dialling back pet projects and finding more money within,” says Auckland Councillor for Orakei Cameron Brewer after today’s 13/8 vote to approve the draft Long Term Plan.

“This is the “rate, tax, borrow, and toll” 10-year budget signed off for public consultation just as many households are worried sick how they’re going to fund all the expense around Christmas.

“This is a contentious budget that householders really need to have their say on – particularly around tolls and a fuel tax as well as the prospect of a new household transport targeted rate that could come in as soon as next year – as an interim measure on top of extra rates increases until the Government is convinced of legislative change .

“Those in higher valued properties need to consider supporting a higher Uniform Annual General Charge. At the moment the Mayor is promoting a very low one which will sting higher valued houses.

“Instead of slapping average rates up to 3.5% from the promised 2.5%, the council should have looked at operational savings first, rather than just hiking up average rates to deliver some more local projects.

“Those who have strong views on how significant rates increases should be transitioned also need to have their say. The Mayor is proposing a cold turkey approach or no rates transition. Those 130,000 households facing rates increases of 10% need to be aware of this.

As well as highlighting the possibility of an interim transport targeted rate for households kicking in next year if the bigger ‘Auckland Plan Transport Programme’ option is adopted, the Auditor-General today in her report also sounded a warning that with the ‘Basic Transport Programme’ option, without alternative funding in place, “some transport projects will not proceed in this 10-year budget. This programme will also mean lower maintenance standards, minimal improvements to roads, walking any cycling facilities and could result in a reduction of service levels.”

Mr Brewer says take your pick! But people do need to have their say.

“Finally local boards and communities are the ones who have really had to take the main hit with this budget, when the much much bigger Council–Controlled Organisations can carry on as usual and deliver on most of their wish-lists. What’s more in this draft budget, the public cannot see what each CCO is spending ratepayers’ money on at an operational expenditure level. That is wrong,” says Mr Brewer.

Public consultation on the draft 2015 – 2015 Long Term Plan will ran from 23 January to 16 March 2015.


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