Ditch Rodney Targeted Rate

June 2018. Rodney councillor Greg Sayers will fight to exclude Rodney from an Auckland regional fuel tax if the money raised is not identified for projects to improve transport in Rodney.

Sayers also wants the idea of any additional taxes from the Rodney Local Board dumped in favour of general rates and development contributions being spent back locally.

The incoming Government has announced that it will allow Auckland to introduce a regional fuel tax to fund investment in the city’s transport network, including light rail to the airport.

The tax is likely to add an additional 10 cents + Gst per litre (11.5 cents) on the price of both petrol and diesel.

Cr Sayers says the anticipated $150 million per annum that will be raised from the fuel tax will be used to fund specific projects already identified by the Crown and Auckland Council.

He says at best the various communities across Rodney can fight for is to get some fuel tax money to be allocated to projects including building the Matakana Link Road, fixing Hill Street, local bus services, helping improve SH16 with NZTA, and for it to provide $40 million of the $124 million required for the rural roads awaiting sealing.

This will require positive contributions and collaboration from the business associations, residents & ratepayer groups, community organization’s, the local board and the general public he said.

“For example, over 70% of the required $124 million for sealing unsealed roads comes from the rates people pay, not from fuel taxes, so we need much more of our local rates spent back locally first, before seeking to sting ratepayers with new designer taxes,” said Sayers.

Even if collectively we can pull off these wins for Rodney it is still not enough money coming back as most of the fuel tax spend is still targeted for being spent south of the bridge.

“There seems to be willingness from the Council Group to work with the Warkworth community to fund the Link Road, and there a number of experienced professionals from within the local community working really hard on that, especially the One Warkworth business association team.

“However, overall the Mayor is more interested in looking for new ways to tax us, again, to pay for any of the other projects. That is not fair on Rodney’s ratepayers compared to the rest of Auckland. I am left to hold the line on that unfairness, and will do so!” says Sayers.

On top of that Cr Sayers says that Warkworth and Wellsford residents already pay a $2.30 toll each way when commuting to work in Auckland.

“It’s unfair to ask families to pay both a toll and a fuel tax without providing them with a public transport alternative,” he says.

The Rodney Local Board is currently investigating the feasibility of a Rodney targeted rate for transport. Councillor Sayers wants the idea dumped saying general rates are already collected for providing transport services to Aucklanders, and Rodney’s basic transport needs should be addressed to bring the area up the the same service standards as the rest of Auckland.

Priorities for the proposed Rodney Local Board’s targeted rate are to seal Rodney’s roads, improve footpaths, set up Park & Rides and provide more public transport.

Sayers’ concern is that the Rodney Local Board will intentionally support the Mayor’s drive to extract more targeted taxes from Rodney’s ratepayers, only for that to be reneged on, most likely the unsealed road sealing promises, and possibly other services the rest of Auckland automatically get from their rates. There are high stakes power plays currently underway and Council will take every opportunity to support CBD projects ahead of Rodney unless we demand that our general rates and development contributions are fairly spent back in Rodney he warns.

A spokesperson for the Mayor’s office, Michael Burgess, disagreed that revenues generated by a fuel tax would fail to help improve transport in Rodney.

“Investment in infrastructure benefits the whole of Auckland as it improves the efficiency of the transport system and helps reduce congestion on roads across the region,” he says.

He adds that how the fuel tax is implemented and applied will be the subject of ongoing discussions by Council and central government.Ditch Targeted Rates