16 July. Auckland Council voted to support Mayor Phil Goff’s 3.5% general rates increase.
Rodney Councillor Greg Sayers was one of three Councillors who voted against the increase.
He said increasing taxes such as rates in a recession makes a recession deeper and that was the wrong thing to be doing.
The other two Councillors who voted against the 3.5% general rates increase were Cr Christine Fletcher and Cr John Watson.
The mandate from the public was clear, over 75 per cent of the submissions from Rodney residents wanted a 2.5 per cent rates increase or less.
Across all of Auckland the message was the same with 64% of Aucklanders wanting a 2.5% rates increase, or less.
The data comes from the official public feedback figures used by the Mayoral office – See the table: For example for Rodney: 29% + 1% + 37% + 9% = 76% of the ratepayers wanted a 2.5% rates increase, or less.
The Rodney Local Board voted for a 3.5% rates increase.
The compounding affect and financial hardship created on Auckland’s most vulnerable, the poorest, the superannuates, those who have lost jobs, struggling businesses, and those on fixed incomes steered Cr Sayers away from supporting the Mayor’s 3.5% rates increase.
What an average rates increase of 3.5% across Auckland actually means for residential ratepayers is their rates go up by 4.4% – not 3.5%, and businesses go up by about 2.5% – — balancing out at an average of 3.5%.
What the majority of people were actually saying is they wanted Auckland Council to cut-its-cloth to fit its income, especially at a time when households can least afford more taxes.
Alternative solutions to increasing rates include: central Government taking the City Rail Link debt off Auckland Council’s books, bringing payrates for Council staff paid over $100,000 back into line with the private sector, implementing a Royal Commission recommendation to have an Independent Performance Auditor residing over Council providing independent assurances to the public that Council was providing high-quality services in a cost effective way, or central Government returning a fair share of GST collected from Auckland back to Auckland.
At a 3.5% rates increase Local Boards, Auckland Council and the CCO’s (Council Controlled Organisations) still all had to make budget cuts to their capital spending and operational spending.
Local Board’s retained their local discretionary budgets to assist with local projects.