Auckland Mayoral candidate: I?ll give you a choice – do you want me to increase rates, or increase rates more?

So, this is the first shot from a centre-right candidate to counter John Palino’s promise of a rates reduction.

Mark Thomas, who rated around 1% in Labour pollster UMR’s poll of candidates, is giving ratepayers a choice…an increase in rates or a larger increase in rates.

Auckland mayoral candidate Mark Thomas says he will give ratepayers a choice to freeze rates or a rates increase of about 2 per cent or 4 per cent to pay for projects in their area.

“My approach will tie any rates increase Aucklanders approve more clearly to specific local projects. This is a version of the targeted rate mechanism council already uses,” Mr Thomas said today.

The Orakei Local Board member and centre-right candidate said he would find $35 million in savings to freeze rates in his first budget, mostly from savings in the $422 million governance budget, but also savings in community services and economic and cultural development budgets.

He said people in the north, west, centre, east, south and rural areas would vote to endorse growth tied to their area, or the option of a rates freeze.

We don’t want a rates freeze…we want a rates reduction.

Aucklanders are now getting a clear choice…candidates like Phil Goff and Mark Thomas promising rates increases, one candidate (John Palino) promising a rates reduction and who knows what Vic Crone is promising. She’s too busy being trundled around National party AGMs by the hierarchy to bother with policy. Things have got to be tense in?the?Goodfellow household with the President so openly supporting Vic Crone and, by extension, the?Boag/Wood Auckland Future team, when his own missus is standing for C&R.

Vic Crone is also busily collecting Twitter photos of her with National MPs. Strangely, for an “independent” candidate, she isn’t also seeking photos with Labour MPs or Greens.

If your campaign is based on the lie that you are “independent”, when you are being driven around National party AGMs?and attending functions organised by the National party, and even have National party MPs putting up signs advertising public meetings, then you really can’t be trusted. You especially can’t be trusted when your campaign manager is the same one who lost Northland.

The only thing missing now is the offical endorsement from John Key. He is resisting for now, but Boag will no doubt be lobbying as hard for this as she is in trying to get other candidates to step down.

One thing is for sure, Mark Thomas is likely to be shafted by another Prime Minister. It’s a pity because some of his other policy ideas are good, and certainly much better than promising a rates increase or a bigger rates increase.


– NZ Herald