Len Brown: 13 options to increase your tax

Len Brown is releasing a paper today on ways to fund his pet project, the rail loop.

Here are the proposed options:

  • General rates – increasing rates.
  • Targeted rates – rates to pay for specific projects.
  • Development contributions – charges on new property developments.
  • Regional income tax – new income tax paid only by Aucklanders.
  • Regional payroll tax – new income tax paid by Auckland employers.
  • Regional GST – raising GST in Auckland.
  • Tax increment financing – tax on increase in property values from transport services.
  • Regional fuel tax – raising petrol and diesel taxes across Auckland.
  • Tolling new roads – charging for new roads.
  • Tolling existing roads – charging on all roads or just congested roads.
  • Carparking charges – increasing carparking fees.
  • Visitor taxes – nightly charge for hotel and motel rooms.
  • Airport departure tax – increasing departure tax on international flights.

Every single one of them is about increasing taxation and spending even more than his profligate council already does. Len Brown says that “there are those in government that would be reasonably amenable” to increasing taxes on Auckland’s population….I challenge Len Brown to name three.

There is not a single option for reducing our rates, or reducing council expenditure in other areas and there is not a single option fo0r charging existing customers of public transport increased fares for the allegedly superior service hey would enjoy from Len’s train set. Another option would be to reduce transport subsidies on fares and re-direct that into his pet projects.

It is a classic case of picking the pockets of other people to funds socialist pipe dreams. Len Brown is trying to box the government into a corner, what will happen is he will get his ears boxed.


THANK YOU for being a subscriber. Because of you Whaleoil is going from strength to strength. It is a little known fact that Whaleoil subscribers are better in bed, good looking and highly intelligent. Sometimes all at once! Please Click Here Now to subscribe to an ad-free Whaleoil.

  • Well, that’ll solve population drift to Auckland. There’ll be a stampede out of it.

    Which idiot government gave local government the powers to tax like this? I honestly can’t remember.

    • tas

      I don’t think the council has the power to enact many of these proposals. Len will need parliament to pass something.

  • Gazzaw

    He HAS to do it this year or it’s all over. Next year is election year – woohoo!!

    The ratepayers have to fight this every inch of the way and the C&R councillors grow some balls and show some real opposition. The government will not allow ten of his proposals which will leave Len with only two options – increase rates or target rates. We have to stonewall him and ensure that these become election issues should he decide to continue with his crazy dreams.

    • Now I know Fletcher, Brewer and Wood and Quax will be keeping tabs here in some capacity and I have respect for all four of them as Councillors – but Gazzaw’s question stands – does C&R have the required balls to mount a campaign against the left and Brown. If Len can mobilise South Auckland once he can do it again and hand C&R their collective balls (as Gazzaw says) not on a silver platter like Len did last time, but on a Platinum platter with diamond bling bling attached as well.

      The question C&R needs to have RIGHT NOW is who can be a viable leader for ALL of Auckland. Hate to say it but even I am scratching my head on that one. 

      Oh and if the debate slips into a left right cock fight Auckland has already lost…

      • Gazzaw

        I think Banks lost the last election rather than Brown won it. Voter apathy on the North Shore and in the old Auckland City assured victory for Brown. Yes, Brown did well in South Auckland but good campaigning by C&R highlighting the total lack of worth of a rail loop to South Auckland ratepayers will see Brown gone. That is why Brown’s proposals must not go through prior to the election. 

      • Have to reply to myself to reply to Gazzaw…
        The only way that can be done is through The Draft Long Term Plan which is due to be set rather soon. The opposition do not have the numbers to stall the Long Term Plan which would set about the tax and spend.

        The only other two methods I can think of before next years election is to either stall the Plan through the courts and really piss off everyone or for Central Govt to errr “influence” decision and piss even more people off.

        As I said below, we are being shafted – this funding paper should have not come out until The Auckland Plan which included transportation was finalised and bloody well ratified by us next year. Once The Auckland Plan was set (which should of had basic funding options any how) then The Long Term Plan should of been set – or even better yet both at the same time.

        By the looks of it any submission to The Long Term Plan is going to be nothing but a total waste of time – we can submit until the cows come home but it seems Council already has its mind set.

      • Gazzaw

        Then Ben it’s over to guys like you who have an understanding of local body procedures – I do not have a clue on that sort of stuff. All that I know is that I and tens of thousands of other citizens (tenants pay rates too via their rent) are totally pissed off with Len & his cronies. He must not be allowed to impose his weird transport proposals on the public via outrageous levies just because we can’t oppose the Long Term Draft Plan. That’s procedural nonsense – we pay the rates & we pay Len & his councillers.

        If submissions are a waste of time then we go to Government. 

    • Paulus

      Please let national government amend legislation to let only those named in a rates bill to vote, not those on the electoral role.
      Then we might see some sense in Auckland and other cities governence.

  • Anonymous

    I was talking to my brother-in-law the other day.  I said that I thought that Len Brown was a clown, but he repliecd that John Banks was no better.

    So where to for Auckland in terms of leadership then?

  • ConwayCaptain

    No one has thought or mentioned the simple solution to Akl’s problems.  That is to stop people moving in or businesses and get them to run their businesses from other areas.  Having eventually somewhere near 40% of a nations population living on a basically narrow isthmus running 100 miles N-S is ridiculous.

    Loopies choo choo syaytem will not increase traffic flow, the tunnel is ridiculous.  The Harbour Crossing is part of SH 1 so is a Govt Project.

    However bringing in these extra taxes is one way to get businesses and therefore people to pick up their beds and walk.  If all the NIMBYs get their way and the POAL is closed down so they can all drink their Lattes on the new ship less waterfornt then none of this will be needed.  Move POAL out and there is $1bn of economic activity gone.  Manufacturers/Distributors will move to an area closer to the Port (Tauranga/S Waikato).

    Bring in the taxes and again businesses etc will move out and so Loopy solves Akls problem and the area will end up as a service area like banks, lawyers etc but in this day and age they can move out as well.

    So well done Loopy.

    • Hang On Captain – POAL is a situation but can be dealt with effectively and in a proper manner. Look where the Port is right now will not simply work if it is to compete – relocate POAL to South East Auckland where the land is flat and bare and the water pretty easy to navigate with some dredging of the mud that can be used as fill. We get the best of all worlds with the waterfront returned to the latte sippers (I prefer a nice short black), the port can operate unfettered in its new location with little urban hindrance and bloody better transit connections to its support base now then what it currently has, commuters will not get royally cheesed off sitting behind trucks and crapped out freight trains (bloodly useless DL China crap for you) going to and from the port, manufacturing and logistics stays in Auckland and heck could even expand on some nice virgin land giving the old sites a chance at some renewal and most of all POAL can actually compete and be an asset rather than the liability Stalinist Lee and MUNZ have made it to be.

      There are alternatives Captain and I for one want to see POAL stay in Auckland and do well.

      • ConwayCaptain

        Problem is Ben the cost of moving the Port would be horrendous and take years to go through the NIMBYs, the Green against dredging mega cubs of soil, roading and rail in and out of the port.  It would take years to pay back along with Loopy’s tunnel, choo choo trains etc.

        I moved out of Akl a year ago owing to the traffic, costs etc and am now in the S Waikato.  Akl is a slow moving train wreck being choked by its own traffic.  Now socialist Len is the last straw.

        I bet if as sonme one suggested that a Public Private partnership was put forward not one Private Co would go anywhwere near it.

        Look at that tunnel in Syd that eventually the City had to buy back.

      • To Conway below

        Umm it was suggested twice for a PPP for rail, once by Connex (now Veolia Transdev) to carry out Project DART in return for a 25 contract, then again for the CRL (although not by Veolia this time).

        Moving POAL would face more a political battle from Stalinists then the $$$ signs as you could throw it to a PPP with say Infratil taking a 67% stake in the port in return for relocating it. Urban development should also increase the rate take to help infrastructure building (seems it needs to be done any way).

        Also as the CRL – another story all together

        Nothing is impossible when a rational mind and approach is taken to a problem – catch is where is rational in this world?

  • LesleyNZ

    Drove back from Hamilton recently – hit the traffic jam about 3.45 pm south of Penrose. It added an extra hour onto our journey over the harbour bridge. The central rail loopy link and public transport will have NO effect on this daily traffic jam. Most of the vehicles were work related – vans and trucks and cars doing what they do during work hours. There are just not enough lanes to cope with the traffic and as soon as we got through the new slow spaghetti junction tunnel – it was a breeze. AKLD Council needs to focus on urgent transport priorities and that is not public transport but improving our motorways so that businesses don’t lose so much money waiting idly in traffic because roading has been so poorly planned.

    • Lesley – now would the Eastern Highway as a 4 lane expressway set at 80km/h with a connection to the second harbour crossing which would connect to the Esmonde Road Interchange be a good alternative for you to skip the inner part of the motorway and Penrose to get back to the North Shore?

      Begs the question though you must live close to Takapuna or Northcotte otherwise the Western Ring Route (apart from one section) would of been an alternative to skip the CBD and get to the Shore.

      • LesleyNZ

        I live halfway between Takapuna and Devonport. It would help – preferably a tunnel where you go faster than 50kmph! Also where I live – 10 mins from city centre by car off peak it can take 3/4 to an hour by bus to go to the city. All off-peak buses go to Smales Farm then you have to catch another one to the city.

      • To Lesley’s comment below

        Ok then yes the Eastern Highway connected to the second harbour crossing would have helped. Dang thing (the highway) was meant to be built in the 80’s – I kind of wished old Muldoon had made The Eastern Highway one of his think big projects… Least we would of not had the problems now we do have

  • Anonymous

    One idea he has not come up with. Seeking legislation to use Auckland Electricity Consumer Trust funds for civic projects. I wonder why not?

    This approach has been mooted previously. The Tramways Union in Wellington suggested the Council (when it ran the buses) develop as many revenue streams as possible to get plenty of money to pay employees more.

  • Anonymous

    Why the hell should I pay for a rail loop that I’ll never use? I live in Franklin and work in South Auckland. God knows I pay enough in fuel tax already.
    If Len wants his train set so much let those who will get the benefit pay for it. A toll booth at every  entry point into the CBD, every pedestrian, cyclist, bus, car, train and ferry passenger can be tolled $1 every time they go into the CBD. That’ll raise $15b pretty quickly. And they’ll all benefit from the reduced congestion. :)

    • Gazzaw

      A $1 entry fee to the CBD should effectively put one more nail in the city’s coffin.

      I paid $8 for 30 minutes car parking in Victoria St last week. I would have taken the train but couldnt get a carpark anywhere near Remuera Station which is my closest station (3kms away) so had to drive into the CBD. That’s another issue that the rocket scientists haven’t thought about, car parking near suburban railway stations – there’s bugger all.

  • Anonymous

    The one glaring omission in the options being offered is to just flag the whole stupid idea. I have started doing my research to make a credible submission to oppose this insane idea, not that I think it will make any difference, but we all need to do it anyway.

    • Submission to The Draft Long Term Plan which would set out the tax and spend?

      I know some of us submitted to The Draft Auckland Plan on transport but from what is coming out of The Mayor’s Office I just wasted 84 A4pages, a pile of ink, and time that I can never ever recover.

      I thought one waited for The Auckland Plan to be finalised first, then set about The Long Term Plan to fund the ideas otherwise we are wasting time on things that might not be simply be there.

      Oh and The Transport debate in Auckland is already lost unless we find one hell of a leader

      • ConwayCaptain

        Is that the DRAFT Long Term Plan or the DARFT Long Term OPlan

  • beanyboy

    I won’t use it either, live in Franklin and work in South Auckland. Loony Len needs to go

  • Vlad

    I’m thinking this serves me right for not taking much interest in local body elections.  When you read this proposal together with the truly loopy 30-year plan, it is obvious the only option is to do everything possible to have this dingbat voted out at the next elections.

  • Onenine7

    Red Len, does not seem to be willing to test thentrue value of his project with a public private partnership. This would tell us if this is a good idea and sustainable.. It’s all very well building it, but then you have to market, administer and run the damn thing.. Go on Len we dare you.. Hold this idea up to the reality of a business model. If it does not stand the test I suspect that the taxes will never come off, because this project will be so badly built and run that it will cost tax and rate payers for ever and a bit more

  • Honcho

    Or me either, living in the east coast bays and working on the border of the old rural waitakere and rodney districts. Make good use of the new extended upper harbour motorway loop mind. … that one should have gone in a long time ago.

    Why do we need a train loop so badly, read as NOW dammit? when the airports motorway hits a dead end at archaic suburban residential streets. I would have thought linking the airport traffic to the cbd (or anywhere but mt roskill) would be of greater economic benefit to the region then a light rail loop around the cbd, of which there is already a bus service serving that exact purpose.

  • Darryl

    I suggest Len Brown makes POAL profitable.  Then he can use the profit for whatever he likes.

  • Ella Rose

    And right here, another excellent reason to sell up and leave Auckland while I still can without some ridiculous domestic departure toll or something equally stupid.


    Sure makes living  sth of the Bombay hills far more attractive.Thats right we do.Good luck dealing with that looney.By the way Hamilton city council is full of tosspots,and moral police.

    • Quintin Hogg

      So not a lot has changed since I left 25 years ago?


        Nope,Same ol same hole,dont live there either

    • Anonymous

      Invercargill City Council is no better but at least they have less money to waste…no less arguments about what nonsense to waste it on though! 

      We have the ILT which levies our alcohol and prevents it from being sold in the supermarket and dairies (they run what is basically a monopoly) – they also finance our sports teams, arts initiatives and basically throw money at anything in Invercargill that asks for it. This last weekend there was a major cycling event on at the velodrome and I had to laugh when all the out of town cyclists came into my local complaining about the price of the beer and not being able to buy it in the supermarket – if it wasn’t for the ILT you wouldn’t even have a fancy velodrome to play in, yet you complain loudly and heartily to anyone who will listen about how the beer is a bit more expensive and inconvenient to buy. How do you think a small and (somewhat) crap-box town like Invercargill even has a velodrome?

      I guess the difference is we don’t mind paying that little bit extra because the whole of Invercargill benefits from the ILT – it certainly doesn’t sound like the whole of Auckland will benefit from a train system. 

    • Gazzaw

      On its way to your place Steve & Monique if it hasn’t already arrived. You’ve already had your share with Redman & Marryatt. Who knows Marryatt may come back permanently after he finished with Ch’ch. He’s bound to have some mates in the HCC who will flick him a job.

  • Luckily, I do not live in Auckland, and there’s a reasonable chance I never will. 

    I’m just wondering why the users of this rail loop can’t pay for it?  How much would rail fares have to be hiked to cover the interest and gradually pay off the cost of construction?

    • In Vino Veritas

      The problem with users paying, is that there won’t be enough. Therefore, prices would have to be high, and still more users would stop using, driving up prices further, and so on. I suppose there’d be a core of people that might use it, but payback period would be unimaginably long.

      • Well I believe this project must be proven to have a sound economic case. It should not just be built for the hell of it. It should someday save money in roading projects, or produce infrastructure that will generate a profit to council. 

        I think sometimes we fail to future proof our infrastructure, but that is balanced by the fact that we don’t want to spend large quantities on possible white elephants.I can see some benefit in this project, so long as it’s long-run forecast is to be an asset to council (one that creates economic benefit). Its construction would also create jobs, so that’s good too.

      • In Vino Veritas

        Joel, light rail failed in low population density areas repeatedly. Try Edinburgh and St Clair, Toronto as a couple of eg’s. I would have thought if any rail was to be developed, getting people into and out of the city from suburban centres would have been a priority. We don’t currently have a sensible rail infrastructure and to build one, would cost 1000’s of millions. A bit like building roads. And it will only be an asset until a new council comes in and picks up the tab with more ratepayers money.
        I’d be interested what benefits you see. And having  students stop walking to University doesnt count as a benefit.

  • Simon


    “It is a classic case of
    picking the pockets of other people to funds socialist pipe dreams. Len Brown
    is trying to box the government into a corner, what will happen is he will get
    his ears boxed.”

    What utter crap.  National created
    the super city and Len has run with it.  Being
    Anti-Len but pro National makes you some sort of retard. 


      Cant blame the car,just the driver.

    • In Vino Veritas

      I’m not sure that the financial gains made from creating a “supercity” were supposed to be wasted in such a manner Simon – though I guess the election of any socialist councilgovernment means finding ways of spending funds raised by taxation.

      • Anonymous

        Lefty Len will realise that with the introduction of the super city there is a wider local body voting base. This includes many from Franklin (and up north as well) who were quite happy under the old regimes. He does not stand a shit show next time around so don’t worry folks.

  • phronesis

    “finding ways of spending funds raised by taxation”, If only they would limit themselves to that! They are actually spending your money while it is still in your pocket. They take on massive debt on your behalf and then fuck off when it comes time to pay for all their waste.


    well one way he has found is to take it upon himself to move the regulations around dwellings per sectionn size – case in point Epsom. you can now as a developer get the rules bent and place 1 dwelling per 400sqm even tho the zoning clearly says 1 per 600sqm – so you squeeze more houses on sites thus collectiong more rates, fees etc for applications. all the while no thought for how ugly the new houses are, or the traffic implications for those already there. add in that the new houses seem to breach the surface areas and no area for decent planting – so great we get eye sores with barron landscaping – yip keeping the city beautiful!

  • Karl Laird

    Carparking charges – increasing carparking fees;This one I’d support (but in order to reduce rates) – really don’t see the current logic of subsidising both car parking and public transport! 

  • Right for those who have absolutely NOTHING to do for the next err 5 years you can take a read of this http://www.scribd.com/fullscreen/80175144?access_key=key-2n36erssvt6che3u3q5q  
    It is The Draft (Ok Daft) Long Term Plan and I say start reading from page 262.
    Lots of figures, lots of dollars but not a lot of sense in here.
    It is a pretty comprehensive line by line assessment of where our hard earned dollars is going – enough to make your mind boggle or simply explode.

    However if those opposed to what someone has called the JAFA-Tax then submissions will be needed on the Long Term Plan I have linked above – although I am wondering if we are wasting our time if the submissions will be ignored.

  • One thing I forget to mention here that I have mentioned to a few others else where, people say the cost of the Central Rail Link is $2.4b. Well folks that is 150% incorrect even when I include Councillor Brewer’s note of the CRL project moving out to $3b.

    What Council has not applied to the CRL is what I have affectionately called The Owen McShane Rail Fallacy. That is when politicians and bureaucrats utter a cost of a rail project – always multiply it by 1.5x at the minimum for the reflection of the true cost both money and time wise.

    So taking the CRL and putting it through The Owen McShane Rail Fallacy test: $2.4b and what was it 7 years for completion as the Mayor has stipulated? Your true cost when taking into account the Fallacy is actually $3.6b and 12 years to complete the project ladies and gentlefolk. THREE POINT SIX BILLION SMACKERS for the CITY/CENTRAL RAIL LINK.

    Bloody hell we are moaning about 2.4b, I hate to think your reaction for $3.6b would be like. And if you want a case of The Owen McShane Rail Fallacy at work take a look at the Manukau Rail Line. Originally at I think $60m for a line and station that will always be 110 metres short of where it should be terminating to have most effect – THE MALL… and be open just prior to the RWC last year. Well folks the project has costed around $92m and will not be operational until after Easter – even then I am still not telling passengers when the line will be open as AT are more useless then the collective mob at The Standard (something tells me I will have to retract that later on) combined.

    Look I am a rail nutter and support some rail projects if they stack up – but not when you get a blow out to $3.6b and the Manukau Line does not present me a vote of confidence…

    So remember folks, Council need the dosh for $3.6b not $2.4b – if council can deliver the CRL below budget and on time and nullify The Fallacy – FFS they all deserve Knighthoods. 

  • Pingback: Len Brown: 13 options to increase your tax | Whale Oil Beef Hooked | A blog by Cameron Slater « View of Auckland()

  • Pingback: Blogging On Today’s Local Tax Discussion « View of Auckland()

  • http://www.scribd.com/doc/81413122/AKL-Council-Strat-and-Finance-Agenda-15-02-2012
    Agenda is up from Strat and Finance that will discuss ways to fund Auckland Transport

  • Steve (North Shore)

    Bye bye Len.
    Fuck off Len.
    You know this is coming Len, but the next election a lot of your cogsucking mates and icehole are in for the chop too. Plan your retirement now Len.
    Aucklanders learn when it hits them in the arse pocket.

  • Billy

    idiot Pronunciation:/ˈɪdɪət/noun
    informala stupid person.archaic a person of low intelligence i.e Len BrownOrigin:Middle English (denoting a person of low intelligence): via Old French from Latin idiota ‘ignorant person’, from Greek idiōtēs’private person, layman, ignorant person’, from idios ‘own, private’

  • Dshawco

    Auckland Ratepayers who live over a hundred kilometers from this crazy train loop are unlikely to ever use it. why then, are they expected to pay for it, any more than the ratepayers of Invercargill are being required to pay for it.