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City Rail Link: ratepayers will face 10-20% rates increases

5th November 2014

1 in 4 ratepayers will face 10% up to 20% rates increases
City Rail Link means nothing left for other transport improvements

Statement from David Thornton

Today’s 10-year Budget debate at Auckland Council will startle ratepayers when they discover that their huge rates increases, following re-valuation, will see a reduction in service levels, and capital expenditure for suburban areas slashed to make way for an early start to the Central Rail Link.

Council forecasts that about 95, 000 ratepayers will be in for rate rises of between 10% and 20%, and a further 27,000 will have increases above 20%.

The Council also plans to spend almost its entire transport capital budget on the CRL for the next four or five years.

This means that Auckland Transport’s capital budget for improvements in the bus network, including double-decker buses and new bus stations, have all been slashed for the next five years.

The vast majority of ratepayers who live outside the CBD will see nothing for their rates increases.

The Council relies on rates, including water and sewerage charges, to bring in about 55% of its total income – and more capital expenditure on the CRL project will ultimately take a bigger slice of that source of income, resulting in higher rate increases over the next 10 years.

The Government has made it clear that it will not agree to fund its half share of the CRL costs until rail passenger levels meet a target of 20 million passenger a year by 2020. Current forecasts show that passenger numbers are failing to reach Government targets, but still Mayor Brown is persisting with his demand that the project to be started in 2016.

The Council must stop further expenditure on the CRL until a sound business plan is in place, including forecasts of the operating subsidy ratepayers will face when the project is up and running.

ENDS

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