Len can’t control rates, has broken his promises, time for him to go

When spending gets out of control its symptomatic of bigger deeper problems and there are surely serious problems with Auckland Council that need to be addressed.

The Council is like a crack addict and is unable to see where it is going wrong. Spending is completely out of control and massive rates increases loom. 5.5% this year will almost certainly blow out to 7 or 8% because the Council has a habit of instigating projects that don’t keep to budgets. Like the ballooning computer IT spend up that’s now $100m over budget.

Household rates could rise by 7.6 per cent this year if the city adopts a motorway toll of $2 or a regional fuel tax to tackle the city’s transport challenges.

The Auckland Council today releases a draft 10-year budget for public consultation, which includes some difficult choices on the costs and services of the Super City.

Among the options are paying less for transport and getting less, or a scheme involving a motorway toll or a fuel tax to raise $300 million a year to fill a $12 billion transport funding gap over 30 years.

The council is considering a targeted rate this year until revenue from tolls, a fuel tax or higher rates is in place by about 2018.

In the meantime, about $1.7 billion of $3.4 billion of additional transport projects over the next 10 years will be funded by debt.

Council finance officer Matthew Walker said the targeted rate would collect $30 million this year, the equivalent of a 2 per cent rise in rates, to fund the revenue shortfall.

This would raise the overall rates increase from 3.5 per cent to 5.5 per cent.

Household rates would increase on average from 5.6 per cent to 7.6 per cent.

New valuations and a lowering of business rates has led to higher rates for households.

The latest figures show inflation is just 0.8 per cent.

An extra 2 per cent rates increase would take the rates on a $750,000 home from $2274 to $2319 and for a $1 million home from $2904 to $2962.

Mr Walker said the $30 million targeted rate could become $60 million in year two and $90 million in year three and so on.

This scenario would see household rates rise by 22 per cent over three years.

Len Brown promised that rates increased would be no more than the rate of inflation. that is well and truly broken now, he must go. If only we had a recall option, but for the cowardice of John Key we could. All Len Brown is doing now is making the play that he is the big hero who reigned in the proposed rates to a more reasonable…say…4%. His is that dishonest.

Auckland Council thinks they are going to toll the motorways…they are wrong…the government owns the motorways not the council, and they won’t allow tolling on the motorways. It would be a crazy political aprty that would support that.

I’ve said before that the bloated pig that is the Auckland Council is vastly over-staffed with fat cats and if they were really concerned with the rates bill and managing costs they would blow torch the numbers back to a realistic value and stop trying to give themselves big pay rises.

But the other elephant in the room is debt. Since the super city amalgamation Auckland City has racked up massive debt – in the billions – yet has pretty much nothing to show for it. They have spent beyond their means each year and shore it up with more borrowing. That’s gotta be a clear sign that the spending is out of control. Now they are forecasting it to blow out to over $12 billion!!!!

I’ve not seen or heard anyone say how that debt is going to be tackled and brought down. At some point it must be repaid – it can’t simply be left hanging with interest payments of over $1 million a day or more.

This is a Council that is heading to a point in the future where the Government of the day will have bail them out, unless radical changes are made now.

Len Brown’smany promises ahve fallen by the wayside, he is done as a politician, he needs to go now.


– NZ Herald

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As much at home writing editorials as being the subject of them, Cam has won awards, including the Canon Media Award for his work on the Len Brown/Bevan Chuang story. When he’s not creating the news, he tends to be in it, with protagonists using the courts, media and social media to deliver financial as well as death threats.

They say that news is something that someone, somewhere, wants kept quiet. Cam Slater doesn’t do quiet and, as a result, he is a polarising, controversial but highly effective journalist who takes no prisoners.

He is fearless in his pursuit of a story.

Love him or loathe him, you can’t ignore him.

To read Cam’s previous articles click on his name in blue.