Transport Taxes Triple Dipping

Herald postAuckland Council’s debt has continued to skyrocket by nearly $2 million a day under Mayor Phil Goff.

Its borrowings have increased from $8.3 billion to $9 billion this year – $700 million in just 12 months.

The Mayor’s 10 Year Budget plans to balloon Auckland’s debt to $12.6 billion.

Interest payments are already $464 million pa, nearly $1.3 million a day. This is equivalent to 23 per cent of the annual rates.

Next year’s budget shows employee costs will be the equivalent of 50% of the annual rates revenue. Total Council revenue will be $4.7 billion.

Rodney ratepayers could see double dipping, or even triple dipping, into their pockets with a smorgasbord of new transport taxes.

There’s the Mayor’s regional fuel tax of 11.5 cents a litre, secondly is the Government’s fuel tax rising to 13.8 cents per litre, and thirdly there’s the Rodney Local Board’s proposed average transport tax rate hike of a whopping 7.3%, which would lock ratepayers into this additional tax in their rates each and every year for the next 10 years.

Rodney residents risk being lumbered with paying two fuel taxes and the Rodney Local Board’s council transport tax. This is all on top of council’s annual general rates increases and two new targeted rates council is planning to introduce. This will have an overall impact on people’s wallet in Rodney to the equivalent of a 15% to 20% rates increase.

People tell me they don’t agree with the fuel tax because the money being collected isn’t planned to be spent back in Rodney, saying that’s completely unfair. I will continue to fight for Rodney to get its fair share.

Many people have said to me they don’t like the idea of paying an additional Rodney Local Board council tax, especially when the rest of Auckland gets the same Council services as part of their normal rates particularly regarding public transport and roading.

People strongly support having a fair share of their rates and development contributions being spent back locally.

If the Rodney Local Board fails to withdraw its transport tax, the great risk is the Mayor will have it voted through anyway, because he is desperate for any extra revenue so Council can borrow more money. This also lets Mayor Goff off the hook evaporating any pressure on him to spend normal rates on public transport and improving roads.

Mayor Goff’s election promise was to make efficiency gains in Auckland Council of 3% to 6% and to redirect these into transport but with promises not kept the Mayor and the Local Board are now reaching into our pockets proclaiming this as the new way forward.

Perhaps all the extra revenue raising would be acceptable if the promises to cut wasteful spending, to find promised efficiencies, and to have any savings directed into infrastructure had happened. But none of this has happened.
Triple dip