It’s a pity Palino won’t get to try

Ratepayers in Auckland have faced massive rates increases forced on them by a wasteful council that believes it knows how to spend ratepayers’ money better than ratepayers know how to spend it themselves. Since the formation of the Auckland Council rates have risen from an initial increase of 2.9% pa to last year’s unprecedented 9.9% pa. Many ratepayers have had increases far in excess of these levels.

Even these huge rates increases have been insufficient to fund council’s reckless spending. In the last five years Council debt/liabilities have increased by approximately $5 billion dollars. This means that the Auckland Council in five years has accumulated more debt/liabilities than the combined accumulated debt of all of its predecessors over the previous 100 years.

Rates and Debt increases have been matched by a massive increase in spending. Council has simply increased rates and borrowings rather than curbing spending or seeking efficiencies. This huge increase has largely been the result of poor quality and unnecessary spending on non-core activities, personal pet projects and huge cost blowouts.

As it stands, Auckland Council’s budget is significantly outside the norms of New Zealand local government. For example, staff salary spending (including consultants) is approximately 27% of all expenditures while the historical average had been closer to 20%.

Auckland Council’s discretionary spending on non-core areas is currently running at 26% of total spending. Many other Councils’ spending on non-core areas is often less than half this percentage.

Debt levels have soared to approximately $20,000 per ratepayer. Council staff numbers rose by over 2000 from a 2011 total of 9,300 to stand at around 11,380 in 2015. This total excludes many contracted and consulting staff.

It’s a real shame the Media party killed any chance of Palino gaining any ground.  He’s the only one with a complete written plan, he’ll actually start cutting off waste and excess, and will take Auckland back to a position that is much more rational than higher rates, levvies, road tolls and god knows what else is ahead now.

John Palino’s Pledge on Rates Reduction

1. Introduce a budget that will reduce rates by 10% over the first term of a Palino Mayoralty

2. Immediate review of all council spending, with cost savings to be passed on to ratepayers by way of a rate reduction or by way of debt reduction if savings higher than 10% can be achieved.

3. Spend 25% of the Mayor’s Office budget on reducing spending on a permanent basis.

4. Issue a quarterly report to ratepayers showing how much my administration has been able to save them.

Sadly, it will be a wasted vote, but at least it will signal that there are still people in Auckland that don’t think spending more money year upon year is viable for the city.   Eventually someone is going to have to pay for it all, and our children and grandchildren will not appreciate it.



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