News

September 01, 2015

Auckland Council's Transport Levy Porky Revealed

MEDIA RELEASE

AUCKLAND COUNCIL'S TRANSPORT LEVY PORKY REVEALED

TUESDAY 1 SEPTEMBER 2015
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

The revelation that Auckland Transport has less money for capital works this year, as admitted by its Chief Executive David Warburton today, shows that too much ratepayer money is being wasted by an inefficient Council operation. Jo Holmes, spokesperson for the Auckland Ratepayers’ Alliance says:

“On the same day tens of thousands of commuters are in gridlock thanks to Auckland Transport’s failure to protect Tamaki Drive from seasonal flooding, we learn that the transport levy is a fraud. Len Brown said the transport levy was a necessary pain to get Auckland moving. In reality the skyrocketing rates are being soaked up by a bloated Council with high operating and staffing costs."

"It is simply shameful that transport capital expenditure has actually reduced. It’s time the Council got back to basics, slashed its bloated op-ex budgets and spent our money on capital projects which get Auckland moving."

ENDS

August 26, 2015

Len Brown responds to ARA criticism of 2am ticketing blitz

Auckland_Council_parking.jpg

Len Brown has conceded that the Ratepayers’ Alliance characterisation of the 2am ticket blitz in Orakei as “overzealous revenue gathering” was a “fair comment in the sense that it is unusual timing” during an interview with 95bFM this morning.

The 2am ticketing blitz saw residents along Apihai and Tautari streets in Orakei saw 27 residents fined $40 each for parking partly on the footpath.

Both streets are very narrow and residents suggest that parking partly on the footpath is a neighbourhood courtesy to ensure vehicle traffic, including emergency services, can navigate down the streets during the evening.

While the Mayor would not be drawn on whether Auckland Transport officials were wrong to be ticketing residents, he did say “It’s certainly an unusual time for our transport guys to be out and carrying their work in that type of diligent manner”.

Len Brown says he has requested a report of the incident and will look into it further. We’re not holding our breath for any reprieve for these residents, despite the Council itself being caught out a day later committing the exact same infringement on the exact same road.

How’s that for hypocrisy?

You can listen to this portion of Len Brown’s interview with 95bFM below.

 

 

August 25, 2015

Do as Council says, not as they do (again)

Early morning ticket blitz

You may have seen the media coverage yesterday about the 27 people who woke up last week to tickets from Auckland Transport for parking on the kerb after a 2am blitz along Apahai and Tautari streets in Orakei.

By coincidence, Carmel, our volunteers coordinator knows the streets well. Her son flats on Tautari Street (he didn’t receive a ticket, though several of his flatmates did). Both streets are very narrow and if residents park on the street, it would be impossible to get any vehicles or emergency services past the parked vehicles. Parking on the curb has happened for years – it’s common sense – not that it matters to the Council.

Auckland Transport has tried to defend its actions. Apparently vehicles obstructing pedestrians using the footpaths are a big problem at 2 in the morning.

Yesterday I joined RadioLIVE’s Ali Mau and Willie Jackson to discuss the Council’s approach (click here for audio on demand).

Do as Council says - not as they do

Council employee caught outSo it came as no surprise today to learn that even the Council’s employees are parking on the kerb in the same area – only they don’t get a ticket. This afternoon the Herald published a photograph taken by an eagle-eyed resident of one of the Council’s very own cars parked half-on the footpath during the middle day.

Len_Brown.jpgThis isn’t the first time photographic evidence of hypocrisy has been ignored. Auckland Transport refused to ticket Len Brown when he was snapped parking over a cycle lane last month. It’s time we had a Council culture that served ratepayers, not lorded over them with this sort of arrogance.

We’re backing those who got the tickets – and have launched a petition calling on the Council to either abandon it’s hard-nosed approach and cancel the 27 tickets. Please take a moment to sign the petition by clicking here.

August 25, 2015

Surprise Surprise: Auckland Council Break Own Rules (Again)

MEDIA RELEASE

SURPRISE SURPRISE: AUCKLAND COUNCIL BREAK OWN RULES (AGAIN)

TUESDAY 25 AUGUST 2015
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

The Auckland Ratepayers’ Alliance is repeating calls to let-off the 27 residents of Orakei's Apihai and Tautari streets which were ticketed in a 2am blitz last week for parking on footpaths. The renewed call comes after today’s release of a photoshowing an Auckland Council vehicle breaching the same rule in the one of the same streets. Carmel Claridge, a spokesperson for the Ratepayers’ Alliance, says:

“This is a case of the Council’s 'do as I say, not as I do' attitude. Despite the Council's own staff demonstrating that parking on the kerb in these very narrow streets is common sense, the Council still won’t budge and let-off the people it ticketed. It is arrogant in the extreme.”

“We’ve spoken to one of Auckland Transport’s spin doctors and asked whether the Council employee will also be ticketed. The answer is no. Incredibly we were told that one of the reasons is that photos are able to be doctored but even if the employee admits to the offence, Auckland Transport still won’t ticket the Council employee.”

“This isn’t the first time photographic evidence of hypocrisy has been ignored. The Council refused to ticket Len Brown when he was snapped parking over a cycle lane last month. It’s time we had a Council culture that served ratepayers, not lorded over them with this sort of arrogance."

ENDS

August 02, 2015

2am Ticket Blitz Shows Lack Of Common Sense And Blatant Revenue Gathering

 

MEDIA RELEASE

2AM TICKET BLITZ SHOWS LACK OF COMMON SENSE AND BLATANT REVENUE GATHERING

SATURDAY 2 AUGUST 2015
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

The Auckland Ratepayers’ Alliance is backing residents of two narrow Auckland streets in their criticism of Auckland Council parking wardens who fined 27 residents in a 2am blitz on cars with two wheels on the curb. Carmel Claridge, a spokesperson for the Ratepayers’ Alliance says:
 
"My son is one of the affected residents on Tautari Street. If residents followed Auckland Transport’s rules, the road would be impossible to pass. Ticketing 27 cars at 2am on a quiet residential street isn’t about public order, it’s Auckland Transport being over zealous and revenue gathering."
 
“The trouble with Auckland Council is its choice to apply blanket rules rather than common sense. Here a community have done the right thing by parking on the curb to allow unimpeded access and reduce the hazard. Rather than let them be, the Council swans in with its ‘we know best’ attitude."

ENDS

 

July 31, 2015

Job Well Done? Councillors Set To Pocket Pay Rise

MEDIA RELEASE

JOB WELL DONE? COUNCILLORS SET TO POCKET PAY RISE

FRIDAY 31 JULY 2015
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Responding to the report that Auckland’s Councillors and Mayor Len Brown look set for a 2.3 per cent pay increase, just days after voting to increase the average rates burden by 9.9 per cent, Ratepayers’ Alliance spokesperson, Carmel Claridge, says:

“This is an insult to Aucklanders who are suffering under a completely unjustifiable rates burden. At a time when Aucklanders are having to go without in order to meet this increase, the Remuneration Authority seem to want to congratulate councillors on a job well done.”

“In what other organisation would you give a pay rise to bosses who have blown out the budget and left the public picking up the pieces?”

"With his shattered promise to keep rates rises to 2.5%, Len Brown should turn down this pay rise."

ENDS

July 20, 2015

Auckland Transport Hike Parking Rates, But Councillors Get It For Free

MEDIA RELEASE

AUCKLAND TRANSPORT HIKE PARKING RATES, BUT COUNCILLORS GET IT FOR FREE

MONDAY 20 JULY 2015
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

The Auckland Ratepayers Alliance can reveal that Auckland Council has allocated 51private car parks worth more than $250,000 so that Councillors and senior officials can can avoid the Councils own 40 to 50 per cent hike in parking charges which comes into effect next month.

Documents, available on the Ratepayers’ Alliance website, show that elected officials and 30 other staff members are entitled to a car park which the Council estimates to be worth $4,920 each. From next month it will cost $24 to park all day at the council's three central city buildings at Downtown, the Civic and Victoria Street.

Ratepayers’ Alliance spokesperson, Jo Holmes, says:

“High rates, the new transport levy, and now a 50 per cent increase in the cost of parking – when will the Council get off Aucklanders' backs? Worse, While they tell everyone else to take the bus, Councillors feather their own nests by buying private parking spaces."

“In October last year, Auckland Transport abolished early-bird off-street car parking as they claimed it was subsiding commuter car travel into the city centre. In addition, the Council has now decided to hike parking charged by between 40 and 50 per cent in the Council-own car parks."

“While Aucklanders have to pay top dollar to get parking in Auckland, Councillors and thirty Council bigwigs have free parking on the ratepayer. This is a clear case of do as I say, not as I do."

ENDS

 

July 20, 2015

Do as they say, not as they do

auckland-civic-car-park-120.jpgToday we can reveal that as the Council is hiking parking charges by 40 - 50 per cent from next month, Councillors and senior Council staffers are enjoying free carparks courtesy of ratepayers.

From next month it will cost $24 to park all day at the council's three central city buildings at Downtown, the Civic and Victoria Street. Yet documents we have released today show that elected officials and 30 other staff members are entitled to individual car parks worth at least $4,920.

Aucklanders have faced increased rates, the transport levy and now the prospect of a further 50 per cent increase in the cost of parking. When will the Council get off Aucklanders' backs? Even worse - while they are telling everyone else to take the bus or train, Councillors are feathering their own nests with their private parking spaces.

Early-bird parking was abolished last year by Auckland Transport as they claimed it was subsidising commuter traffic into the city centre. Now they have announced that wasn't enough - so want to increase prices by 40 - 50 per cent!

While Aucklanders have to pay top dollar to get parking in Auckland, councillors and thirty council big-wigs have free parking courtesy of ratepayers. This is a clear case of do as I say, not as I do.

July 14, 2015

Ratepayers Dealt The Damage Tomorrow

MEDIA RELEASE

RATEPAYERS DEALT THE DAMAGE TOMORROW

TUESDAY 14 JULY 2015
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Tomorrow ratepayers will learn how Auckland Council’s rates hikes will impact them, with the Council launching its online rating database at midnight tonight.

Auckland Ratepayers’ Alliance spokesperson, Jo Holmes, says “Ratepayers will be going online to discover the financial damage the Len Brown’s budget has brought upon their household.”

“Our experts estimate that between 9,000 and 10,000 households will be facing rates increases of more than $1,000. At a time when inflation is close to zero, rates increases of this magnitude are completely unjustified.”

The Council is spending up to $90,000 on a telemarketing company and mailout to warn people of the rates hike.

"This adds insult to injury," says Ms Holmes. "Instead of calling people to spin the bad news, ratepayers would rather the Council focus at delivering value for money.”

“The Auckland Ratepayers’ Alliance is determined to hold those Councillors who are responsible for these rates hikes accountable."

Since April, more than 11,000 people have joined as supporters of the Auckland Ratepayers' Alliance at www.ratepayers.nz.

ENDS

July 09, 2015

Len Brown Will Be Licking Lips Re Proposed Treasury Levy

MEDIA RELEASE

LEN BROWN WILL BE LICKING LIPS RE PROPOSED TREASURY LEVY

THURSDAY 9 JULY 2015
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

proposed Treasury levy requiring Auckland property investors to pay 1 per cent of the capital value of their rental properties to Auckland Council would have the effect of reducing the incentive for infill housing and would likely push up the cost of living for the poorest Aucklanders. Ratepayers’ Alliance spokesperson, Jo Holmes, says:

Len Brown will be delighted to learn that Wellington bureaucrats are working on ways he can tax Aucklanders more. Meanwhile, our economic experts tell us that this proposed capital charge would likely discourage the very infill housing and development which Auckland Council is encouraging to solve the housing crisis."

“Any new taxes on landlords are likely to simply be passed onto tenants. If high taxes were the solution to Auckland’s housing problems, surely the Council’s 9.9 per cent whack would have solved it.”

“Generally when you tax something you get less of it. Wellington’s thinking that a new housing tax is going to result in more houses is bizarre."

“Among our members are tenants facing rent increases as landlords reluctantly adjust rent in order to pay an increased rates burden. The last thing Aucklanders need is for the cost of living to go up even more.”

ENDS