Thursday, 30th April, 2015

Using a three-year rate payer-funded transport levy to help accelerate Auckland’s critical transport projects while negotiations are underway with government on a long-term funding solution for Auckland is pragmatic but using ratepayers to fund it, is a lazy way to raise money.

He was commenting on Auckland Mayor Len Brown’s 10-year plan proposal to use an interim transport levy of around $2 per week for non-business ratepayers and $3 for business ratepayers to service the raising of $ 523 million over three years to support a transport capital works programme.

“I would hope that the capital raised will go to fast-track the big inter-generational Auckland projects that will make a measurable difference to reducing congestion.”

“The last thing Auckland needs from this proposal is for the ‘interim levy’ – really a targeted rate – to become a permanent fixture in Council’s revenue provisions,” said Mr Barnett.

Auckland still needs to see serious action by Auckland Council to seek new revenue sources other than ratepayers, make smarter innovative use of its $40 billion-plus asset base and achieve efficiency savings by focusing spending on core activities.

“The use of ratepayers this way – while an interim measure – is outmoded and will be seen as unfair to the many property owners who make little use of the transport system or are retired and asset rich but have little spare cash.

Auckland has 1.6 million people and approximately another 2 million visitors each year – putting council hands into only ratepayers’ pockets lacks creative thinking.

For more information contact Michael Barnett, mobile: 0275 631 150.
Michael Barnett, Chief Executive, Auckland Chamber of Commerce.