Wednesday, 5th November, 2014

Instead of increasing rates by 3.5 per cent each year for the next 10-years, Auckland Council should have looked at what they are wanting to spend rate payer money on, whether those ‘services’ are fit for purpose or could be done more efficiently by someone else.

Michael Barnett, head of Auckland’s Chamber of Commerce was responding to Council’s budget committee’s decision to recommend to Aucklanders that rates increase by 3.5 percent for each of the next 10 years.

This is more than three times higher than the latest inflation figure of 1 percent for the year to September and a cumulative total of 41 per cent over the next decade. The people of Auckland need an assurance that spending and the size of Council is under control.

“The first thing Council should have done is to agree to behave in a business-like way and look at making savings from its operational budget.”

I am skeptical that Aucklanders will support Council putting its hands in rate payers’ pockets this way without a more robust and transparent look at what the money will be used for.”

The need for a debate on Council spending before it decides what the rate increase should be is reinforced by the fact that Mayor Len Brown’s proposal for 2.5 per cent rates increase for the next two years and 3.5 per cent thereafter has been broken. “That he agreed to break his own promise at the eleventh hour suggests that the budget analysis is far from perfect,” said Mr Barnett.

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