3 January 2022. 𝐒𝐚𝐲𝐞𝐫𝐬 𝐂𝐡𝐚𝐥𝐥𝐞𝐧𝐠𝐞𝐬 𝐆𝐨𝐟𝐟: Mayor Goff is proposing a 6% overall average rates increase for this year. Councillor Sayers has challenged him claiming this is 𝐚 𝐛𝐫𝐨𝐤𝐞𝐧 𝐩𝐫𝐨𝐦𝐢𝐬𝐞, given by the Mayor to Aucklanders last year that rates would not increase by any more than 3.5%.
The 6% total rates increase is comprised of both a 3.5% average general rates increase, 𝐩𝐥𝐮𝐬 𝐚𝐧 𝐚𝐝𝐝𝐢𝐭𝐢𝐨𝐧𝐚𝐥 𝐜𝐥𝐢𝐦𝐚𝐭𝐞 𝐜𝐡𝐚𝐧𝐠𝐞 𝐭𝐚𝐱 which will add another 2.5% average rates increase onto Aucklanders rates bill.
Sayers argued that the proposed ‘climate action target rate’ would be paying for 𝐛𝐮𝐬𝐢𝐧𝐞𝐬𝐬-𝐚𝐬-𝐮𝐬𝐮𝐚𝐥 Council projects such as purchasing electric buses, electric ferries, more cycleways, and tree planting, which are already planned for.
“Aucklanders already pay general rates and a Regional Fuel tax to deliver these types of projects, so Council needs to 𝐬𝐭𝐨𝐩 𝐝𝐨𝐮𝐛𝐥𝐞 𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐭𝐫𝐢𝐩𝐥𝐞 𝐝𝐢𝐩𝐩𝐢𝐧𝐠 into ratepayers pockets.”
“Auckland should do its bit to combat the scientific evidence of increasing droughts, flooding and raising sea levels – whether you believe these are caused from human activity, planetary cycles or by any other means. 𝐁𝐮𝐭 𝐥𝐞𝐭’𝐬 𝐜𝐚𝐥𝐥 𝐭𝐡𝐢𝐬 𝐧𝐞𝐰 𝐭𝐚𝐱 𝐰𝐡𝐚𝐭 𝐢𝐭 𝐫𝐞𝐚𝐥𝐥𝐲 𝐢𝐬. It’s a disguised rates hike designed to fill Auckland Council’s financial hole leftover from Covid.”
“It is time for the Council to tighten its belt and cut operational spending and reprioritize its spending priorities, within existing budgets,” said Sayers.
Cr Sayers formally moved for a vote to be taken allowing the public 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐚𝐛𝐢𝐥𝐢𝐭𝐲 𝐭𝐨 𝐬𝐚𝐲 if they thought electric buses, electric ferries and the building of more cycleways should be funded from within existing Council budgets, or alternatively if people thought these should be funded from the Mayor’s idea of an additional tax.
Surprisingly his suggestion, to simply allow the public the 𝐝𝐞𝐦𝐨𝐜𝐫𝐚𝐭𝐢𝐜 ability to feedback to the Mayor their preferred option for consideration, was defeated by the Mayor and the majority of Councillors, 𝟓 𝐯𝐨𝐭𝐞𝐬 𝐭𝐨 𝟏𝟖.