Auckland Council investigated for being “dishonest and misrepresentative”

The Auckland Ratepayers’ Alliance has lodged a formal complaint with the Research Association of New Zealand against Colmar Brunton and its client, Auckland Council. The complaint was laid under the Research Association’s Industry Code of Practice on the grounds that Council claims about alleged public “support” for rates increases were “dishonest and misrepresentative”.

Alliance spokesperson Jo Holmes says: “Auckland Council employed the services of Colmar Brunton to ‘independently’ discern support for rate increases. Respondents to the survey were only given two options to choose from; a 2.5 percent rates increase or a 3.5 percent rates increase. Respondents were not given the option to express a preference for 0 percent (rates freeze) or a reduction (our preferred option).”

“Auckland Council has nevertheless used the results of the survey to publicly claim that 89% of Aucklanders support a rates increase. Such a claim is dishonest and misrepresentative, as respondents were not invited to express a preference for a rates freeze or reduction when being surveyed. The survey cannot be said to accurately reflect the views of Aucklanders given its biased framing which basically forced respondents to choose between one of two increases.”

“Quite frankly, we are surprised that a rates increase only got 89% given the only options were for increases.”

“The Auckland Ratepayers’ Alliance has requested all relevant documentation under the Local Government Official Information and Meetings Act 1987. We have also asked that the complaint be considered urgently given Auckland Council is working through its budget process.”