April 09, 2024

Auckland Unlimited blows $450,000 on ASB Classic corporate box access

The Auckland Ratepayers’ Alliance can reveal that Auckland Council’s ‘economic development’ wing, Tātaki Auckland Unlimited, blew $450,000 on buying corporate box access to the ASB Classic (Auckland Open) tennis tournament.

Auckland Ratepayers Alliance spokesman Sam Warren said:

“Ratepayers should not be forking out so that councillors and unelected bureaucrats can wine and dine at sporting events.

“Not only was $450,000 of ratepayers money spent on a day in the sun, but an extra $6,163 was spent on food and beverages. Of the 120 visitors, only 30 represented the council, while 90 were stakeholders, customers and partners.

“The justification around this spending, being needed for securing media and broadcasting, is a joke to Aucklanders. An event as successful and established as the ASB Classic already has multiple sponsors. These guests should meeting in an office – not a corporate box.

“Auckland Unlimited needs to remember ratepayers aren't an ATM. If the council wants to encourage economic activity in the city, it would be better off scrapping Auckland Unlimited and it’s $100 million budget entirely to help reduce the rates burden for businesses, along with removing the tangle of red tape that makes it difficult to do anything in the city."


March 28, 2024

NEW POLL: Strong support for lower rates rises

A new Auckland Ratepayers' Alliance – Curia poll released today shows strong support for lower rates rises when Auckland Council sets its Long Term Plan.

A plurality of Aucklanders (40%) support the so called 'pay less, get less option' while 32% support the central proposal and just 9% support the 'pay more, get more' option. 19% of respondents were unsure.

Aucklanders also believe that rates increases should be no higher than the annual rate of inflation. 48% of respondents thought that rates increases should be in line with inflation, 32% supported rises below inflation while just 11% wanted rates hikes above the rate of inflation. 8% of respondents were unsure. 

Commenting on the poll, Auckland Ratepayers’ Alliance spokesperson, Sam Warren, said:

"These numbers aren't surprising. When Aucklanders are struggling with their mortgages and the stubbornly high cost of living – the idea of increasing rates at a level far-exceeding inflation is really untenable for a lot of people."

“Auckland Council must first go to greater lengths to cut the waste of its own internal bureaucracy before it can go rifling through the backpocket of everyday ratepayers."
Any media or other organisation that reports on this poll should include the following summary statement:

The poll was conducted by Curia Market Research for the Auckland Ratepayers’ Alliance. It is a random poll of 1,000 adult Aucklanders and is weighted to the overall adult Auckland population. It was conducted by phone (landlines and mobile) and online between 2 March and 4 March 2024, has a maximum margin of error of +/- 3.1% and 21% were undecided on the mayoral vote question. The full results are at 

March 27, 2024

Opposition to Port of Auckland Lease Deliberately Misleading

The Auckland Ratepayers' Alliance is calling out a deliberately misleading poll commissioned by It's Our Auckland that claims Aucklanders are not in support of the proposed lease of Port of Auckland operations in the mayor's Long Term Plan (LTP). 

Voters were asked: "There is a proposal to sell off the Auckland Port operating business which is currently 100% owned by Auckland Council and Aucklanders, via a lease. How strongly do you support or oppose the sale of the port operations?"

Commenting on these claims, Auckland Ratepayers’ Alliance spokesperson, Sam Warren, said:

"The phrasing of the poll is deliberately misleading – angled to elicit a certain response."

"The mayor specifically wants to lease operations of the Port while ratepayers retain the land throughout.  When the lease expires after a proposed 35-years, operations would be returned, or negotiated for extension by both parties.  There is no 'sale', and it's expected that Aucklanders would get much a better deal."

"It seems pretty disingenuous to ask about the sale of the port's operations, and then go on to claim Aucklanders don't want it to be leased." 

A recent Auckland Ratepayers' Alliance – Curia Poll showed 60% of Aucklanders are in favour of leasing Port operations when asked: "Auckland’s Mayor has said that leasing out the management of the port, while still retaining ownership of the port land, will deliver much higher financial returns to the Council. If Council could deliver a much higher return, would you support the port management being leased out, or would you prefer it to continue with the status quo and lower financial returns but keep full ownership?". 26% opposed the port operation's lease. 

March 25, 2024

NEW POLL: Aucklanders strongly back Mayor’s plan to lease port

A new Auckland Ratepayers’ Alliance – Curia poll released today shows Aucklanders back Wayne Brown’s proposal to lease out the management of the Port by more than 2 to 1.

The poll also showed that Aucklanders support the Mayor’s proposal to create a Future Fund to manage its investments in Auckland Airport and its Port company by nearly 3 to 1.

Commenting on the results of the poll, Auckland Ratepayers’ Alliance spokesperson, Sam Warren, said:

"Aucklanders want to see Council get smarter about infrastructure. Leasing Port operations while keeping the land in the hands of ratepayers would see a significant upfront source of revenue, that could be used to to pay for infrastructure and reduce the impact of future rates rises.”

“When ratepayers are facing hikes of up to 38% over the next 3 years – moving to a more efficient, profitable model makes sense to the majority of people, who are tired of the status quo.”

March 25, 2024

Luminaries Wrong on Port

The Auckland Ratepayers’ Alliance is calling out 'Stop Stealing Our Harbour' for scaremongering about Ports of Auckland, misleading Aucklanders that an operating-company/property-company proposal before Auckland Council would see the CBD port expand or stick to its current footprint.

"Auckland Ratepayers’ Alliance spokesman, Sam Warren, says: 'Stop Stealing Our Harbour' are launching the ship before building the dock.

"We understand from Council sources that private operators have in-fact offered to take over the Port operations using a smaller footprint to both free up land back for public use, and return more to ratepayers than the current mismanaged model allows. It’s a win-win.

“Auckland needs a Mayor and Council to look at all options to calm the Super City’s fiscal whirlpool. Unless a magic ferry comes along to pay to move the port, it’s not going anywhere anytime soon.

"The question should be, who is best to operate the port in the most efficient, and environmentally friendly fashion. Clearly the status quo is failing.”

March 22, 2024

Auckland Ratepayers' Alliance Welcomes Government's Commitment to Return Accountability to Auckland Transport

The Minister for Auckland, Transport, and Local Government, Simeon Brown, has announced plans to restore Auckland Transport’s accountability to elected Councillors. Commenting on this, Auckland Ratepayers’ Alliance spokesman, Sam Warren, said:
“As the only council-run transport system in the country without democratic accountability, it is clear that Auckland Transport’s current system is unfit for purpose. It’s a failure, and an expensive one at that.
“Given its refusal to make proper savings by cutting wasteful, ideologically-driven pet projects and its inability to improve the quality and efficiency of its core services, Auckland Transport being left to mark its own homework clearly isn’t working.

"Mayor Brown was elected to get on with cutting waste. Allowing him to take better control of CCOs is an important step forward in cutting a culture of wasteful spending and promoting greater local accountability to Auckland ratepayers."

March 07, 2024

Auckland Ratepayers' Alliance Welcomes the Repeal of the Auckland Regional Fuel Tax

Commenting on the Government's repeal of the Auckland Regional Fuel Tax, Auckland Ratepayers’ Alliance spokesperson, Sam Warren, said:

"This will be welcome news for Aucklanders struggling with fuel costs once this comes into effect on June 30."

"It's encouraging that the remaining unspent funds are to be ring-fenced and put into infrastructure projects like the Eastern Busway, City Rail Link and road-corridor improvements."

"The issue now remains for Auckland Transport to focus on sufficient roading maintenance – rather than wasteful spending on back-office bureaucracy and unpopular pet projects."

February 29, 2024

Revealed: Auckland's Watercare App costs an eye-watering $3,500,000

According to information obtained under the Local Government Official Information Act (LGOIMA), the Auckland Ratepayers Alliance can reveal that Watercare has spent over $3,500,000 creating and marketing an app that measures smart-meters across Auckland.

Watercare has spent $3,335,521 on development, $29,747 on marketing and yearly maintenance of $213,000. Furthering this, of the 540,000 dwellings of Auckland, only 44,246 smart-meters have been installed by December. The use of $500 gift card prizes, social media ads and other artworks had only seen 56,681 downloads up to December 2023.

Auckland Ratepayers' Alliance spokesperson Sam Warren said:

“While people in other areas worry about running out of water, Watercare is spending millions on developing and advertising a smart-meter app that only 10% of Aucklanders can use. Already this year Auckland Council is having to loan $130 million to bailout the organisation after storms, a sewer collapse and rising costs.”

“With a yearly maintenance cost of over $200,000, spending on the app should be paused and focus must return to fixing leaks, replacing pipes and installing meters. Only then can the app return at a higher uptake at a time that makes sense.”

February 29, 2024

Auckland Transport wastes $150,000 on month and a half roading campaign

According to information obtained under the local government official information act the ratepayers alliance can reveal that Auckland transport has spent $150,000 on a 47 day campaign to inform Aucklanders why 400km of roadworks was occurring at the peak of summer.

Auckland Ratepayers Alliance Spokesman Jordan Williams said:

“The work of Auckland Transport is out of touch with ratepayers expectations of how its work should be advertised. Creating an entire “Summer Road Reno” programme was meant to ask for courtesy to road workers but came across wasteful and arrogant.

Billboards across 17 locations and online graphics used puns such as:

“While you’re going fishing, we’re road fixing.”

“While you’re working on tan lines, we’re paining road lines.” 

At a cost of $105,022 on advertising and $44,978 on creative development including a new logo didn’t create respectful drivers while waiting in these roadworks. Auckland Council needs to set clear advertising standards to prevent costly, ineffective mistakes across its council controlled organisations.

February 19, 2024

Wayne Brown rates shocker – proposals include 38% rates hike

Wayne Brown rates shocker – proposals include 38% rates hike
The Auckland Ratepayers’ Alliance will go to war with Wayne Brown unless he backs down on putting an option to councillors to increase rates by 37.94% over three years, as contained in the Mayoral options in the proposed consultation document to the Council Long-Term Plan (10-year budget) to be presented to councillors tomorrow morning to vote on whether to put out for public consultation. 

Auckland Ratepayers’ Alliance Spokesman Jordan Williams said:

“Clearly Wayne Brown has been strong armed by Council officials, left wing councillors, or both. How can a Mayor who ran on a platform of fiscal restraint now propose rate hikes of up to 38% over three years? That’s an extra that’s $1,371 in rates for the average Auckland homeowners.  This isn’t a u-turn, it’s an orbit of the moon.”

"Even the Mayor’s preferred ‘core option’ – 20 percent over three years – is outrageous. Wayne Brown was elected to rein in Council waste and redirect spending into higher priorities such as infrastructure investment. The Mayor proposes no such thing, rather reaching deeper into ratepayers' pockets at the time they least afford it."

“Not even in Len Brown’s dreams did he propose rate hikes as large as this. Mr Brown is putting before councillors an option to write wasteful officials a blank cheque.”