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Len Brown promises a 2.5% rate rise

23 September 2013

Brown promises a 2.5% rate rise

Auckland Mayor Len Brown says low rates and economic development will be foremost in a second term should he be re-elected.

“As mayor, I have a strong record of keeping rate increases low. In its first term, Auckland Council’s average rate rises over the three years were 3.9%, 3.5% and 2.9% - considerably lower than what was initially proposed.

“In the second term, as greater efficiencies are found, I want to drive the annual average rate rise lower. Next year, for example, I will propose an average rate rise of no more than 2.5%. Through a second term, I will aim to keep it to at or below that level.

“Where I want to see high growth is in economic performance. Auckland is New Zealand’s only world-class city and needs to have a world-class economy. We must plan for growth to drive job growth, increase Auckland’s productivity and exports, and generate greater levels of income.”

To achieve this, Mr Brown said he is proposing a number of strategies and action plans to be completed, including a new tourism strategy and a review of projects aimed at reducing youth unemployment.

“Tourism is a major employer but could make a more significant impact. With the objective of making Auckland more of a destination, and with a major focus on more domestic visitors, we will refresh the Auckland Visitor Strategy – adding yet more ambition to its focus.

“If a report currently being prepared recommends a viable commercial way to build the Sky Path – the proposed walking and cycling lane on the harbour bridge – I will propose that the Council supports the project.

“We have to tackle youth employment. Auckland’s unemployment rate for 15 to19 year olds is around 28 percent and represents a social time bomb unless it can be reduced. While a number of agencies are involved in numerous youth employment projects, this could be better co-ordinated. Developing an action plan needs to audit what is currently being done, identify overlaps and gaps, and then develop a practical action-focused strategy to deal with youth unemployment.

“I am not convinced the government’s rollout of ultra fast broadband is proceeding fast enough for the needs of Aucklanders and, particularly, the business community. I want to have discussions with commercial partners to see if we can expedite the rollout of ultra-fast broadband and to structure it in a way that specifically meets the needs and characteristics of the Auckland economy.

“We know that liveability is a primary driver of migration. To multiply our obvious advantages we need to work much harder to actively promote Auckland in the international skills and migrant market. In the first half of next year we will launch a major international promotional campaign.”

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