Ratepayer victory! Wayne Brown to keep rates below inflation
We fought hard during the recent mayoral election to stop big double-digit rate rises.
Wayne Brown is promising to keep rates below household inflation, with an overall increase of 4.66% in 2023. That is two-thirds lower than what Council officers have been pushing for!
...But it's not over yet.
The books are open, and Auckland is on the edge of a fiscal cliff. Just as we predicted. Phil Goff’s supposed $90 million of savings has turned into a $300 million deficit (and that’s a conservative estimate)!
Keeping rates down can only work if there are massive cost-savings. Mayor Brown and the Governing Body must take drastic action if we are to avoid catastrophic debt, with soaring interest payments.
Are they doing enough?
Mayor Brown has promised $130 million of savings in his 2023 budget proposal. Just under half of that will come from Auckland Council head office with only $25 million from Auckland Transport.
The Mayor’s spin doctors are claiming it is the “biggest savings package” in Auckland Council’s history. But we don’t think the savings are anywhere near big enough.
AT spends nearly $20 million on "marketing" alone! That could easily be halved.
Then there is Panuku, the Council’s over-glorified middleman that clips the ticket on major development projects.
Under persistent questioning from your humble Ratepayer’s Alliance, Panuku has acknowledged that its flash corporate office and big-salaried management are 100% paid for by you the ratepayer.
Now we have found they spent $29,000 and 45 hours of staff time on promoting an “Urban Walking Festival”!
Yet the fat cats at Panuku say they can only find $5 million of savings. We don’t believe it. And neither should the Mayor. If you haven’t signed our petition to Defund Punuku yet, you can do it here.
We need all options on the table
But it is just one option. As Jordan told Newshub, we think it’s about time the Council looked at selling the Ports of Auckland company. Back in October, the Herald reported that a Dubai-based company was interested in a long-term contract to run the Ports.
Wayne Brown shut it down because a majority of the 20 councillors are opposed. That’s a pity. This kind of short-term, narrow-minded thinking is the reason we got into such a mess!
Let’s just hope that fiscal conservatism prevails when they vote on the Mayor’s budget proposal next week.
We’ll be watching closely!
Thank you for your support,
Josh Van Veen
Auckland Ratepayers' Alliance
ps. This effort is 100% funded by donations from our supporters. Unlike other ratepayer groups, we don't take money from Auckland Council! That means we're relying on your support.