Poor Auckland, you never stood a chance

With the Labour Party in power a regional petrol tax on Auckland is a near certainty. The new Transport Minister, Phil Twyford, has made it clear the Auckland Council can have the tax as soon as it asks for it. The council is almost certain to do so as a means of providing Auckland’s share of the cost of improvements to commuter railways.

A petrol tax has obvious political benefits. An extra 10c a litre would soon go unnoticed in the fluctuation of prices at the pump. Taxes already account for roughly half the retail price of petrol and motorists seldom complain. Nor has there been an outcry about some of the revenue of road taxes being used to subsidise public transport. Motorists recognise that every person who chooses public transport takes a car off the road.

Nevertheless, Mayor Phil Goff and his council would be most unwise to put their hands out for a petrol tax until they have brought the costs of the council administration under better control. The recent disclosure that the city has 194 council officers on salaries above $200,000 is alarming. On top of that, the Weekend Herald reported that no fewer than 234 people are employed by the council and its associated organisations on “communications”, which principally means persuading ratepayers their money is being well spent.

Goff came to office promising to trim this sort of flab. The number employed in communications has emerged from a review initiated by the mayor. The findings of similar “value for money” reviews of the council’s waste management, water services and global partnerships are keenly awaited.

Never ask a question you don’t already know the answer to.  And don’t go digging up proof of council spending excesses unless you are willing to deal with it.

Phil Goff will have a very narrow window in which to act.  If he lets this kind of largesse continue too long while at the same time sucking more money out of people, we’ll know what he’s really there for.

Meh, who are we kidding…


– 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.