Auckland Ratepayers’ Alliance

Auckland Council bans rates feedback from ratepayers

The Auckland Ratepayers Alliance reports on some underhanded ratbaggery from Phil Goff and his council:

Earlier in the week submissions closed on Auckland Council’s Annual Budget – the document which sets rates for the financial year beginning in July.

As per usual, your team at the Auckland Ratepayers’ Alliance sent in a submission on behalf of hard-working ratepayers like you (a summary of the submission is below). We asked to present in person to Councillors, as has been common in the past. One of the issues the Council will be considering is Phil Goff’s proposal to increase the wages of the Council and impose a “living wage” for all staff. We had lined up an expert labour economist who used to work for the Department of Labour to present to Councillors.

We’ve now discovered that to avoid having to listen to ratepayers, Councillors resolved not to allow people to submit in person on this year’s budget. They didn’t even want us – New Zealand’s largest ratepayer group – to present. They said ratepayers are not a ‘key stakeholder’.   Read more »

Phil Goff’s own dirty politics team busted

The Auckland Ratepayers Alliance shows up a curious chain of events:

You might have noticed in yesterday’s Herald a story about the enormous pay salaries the staff in Phil Goff’s office are being paid.  The article revealed that four staff in the Mayor’s office are being paid between $150,000 and $295,000.

Putting aside the question of whether ratepayers paying so much for the Mayor’s spin doctors and political operatives is consistent with Mr Goff’s promise to cut wasteful spending, you might be surprised to learn that the Ratepayers’ Alliance requested information about the costs of Mayoral Office salaries some four weeks ago.

Much to our surprise, the story in the Herald appeared online only 90 minutes after the Council emailed us the information (at 4:50pm), apparently in an attempt to avoid your humble advocates for prudent spending blowing the whistle.   Read more »

26 Candidates have signed the 2% Ratepayer Protection Pledge.

The list of candidates who have signed the Ratepayer Protection Pledge has been e-mailed to me by the the Auckland Ratepayers’ Alliance.  The pledge prevents those candidates from voting for any measures which increase the total average burden of rates, levies, and other compulsory Council charges, more than 2% per annum.

To date, 25 candidates have agreed to sign the pledge. Those who have agreed to keep levy or rate hikes under 2% include all Communities and Residents candidates, and four mayoral candidates.

Although Auckland Future candidates have confirmed that they will not be signing our pledge, they insist that their own pledge achieves the same outcomes. Albany candidate Lisa Whyte said their pledge is ‘complementary to yours’ and that they are ‘committed to the same values’. Whilst disappointed Auckland Future candidates are not signing, we anticipate them holding fast to their assurances that they will limit annual rates increases to an average of no more than 2% and honour their own pledge.

List of candidates who are on board:

Read more »

This is what happens when you enrage ratepayers

The Ratepayers’ Alliance in Auckland has grown massively, and now has more members than the Labour party countrywide and National in Auckland.

The Ratepayers Alliance in Auckland is to start wielding its newly found political might.

It wants mayoral and councillor aspirants at the October elections to sign a pledge they will not vote for any measures increasing the total average burden of rates, levies and other compulsory charges, more than 2% a year.

It might be a tall order but, in a dose of political power-making, the alliance will reveal the candidates who have signed the pledge and those who haven’t shortly before the election campaign starts.

The alliance has the might to be a power broker from its 16,000 members, bigger than the Labour Party’s entire membership and the National Party’s Auckland membership base.

Aucklanders aren’t easily moved to take action on political issues but the alliance is belying that attitude with a surge in membership in the past few weeks after a leaflet campaign to 72,000 North Shore and Albany ward homes about additional waste charges for residents. The pamphlet also pointed out councillors Wayne Walker and Penny Webster voted for the 9.9% rates rise ratepayers are now forking out.    Read more »

The push back against ratbag councillors begins

bin-terrible-ten

I said it would come, and so it has come to pass.

Those councillors who voted for Len Brown’s massive rates hikes are now being targeted directly by the Auckland Ratepayers Alliance.

The Ratepayers’ Alliance has today launched a “These Councillors are Rubbish” campaign exposing two of the “Terrible Ten” Auckland Councillors who allowed Len Brown to hike rates by 9.9% last year, and are failing to prevent changes to local waste services which will see some households pay twice as much for domestic waste collection.

In the next 72 hours 72,000 leaflets will be distributed in Rodney and Albany targeting Councillors Penny Webster and Wayne Walker, their voting record, and their apparent support for a new waste regime which will see their constituents pay much more for waste.

Ratepayers’ Alliance Spokesperson, Jo Holmes, says “This is the first step of our campaign to name and shame those who have supported Len Brown’s high rates, high debt agenda.”   Read more »

Live in Auckland? Your household’s share of Len Brown’s debt is $20,000

" Our Debt is this big "

“Auckland Council’s Debt is this big “

The Auckland Ratepayers’ Alliance has been crunching the numbers and revealed that the Auckland Council’s liabilities, if equally divided between every Auckland household, work out to $20k per household.

Last week it launched the first of its Ratepayer Briefings where it examines the Council’s debt since amalgamation. If you would like to read it in full you can click here. 

Auckland Council's ticking timbomb

Auckland Council’s ticking timbomb

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Len Brown escalates the war against cars

Len Brown is desperate for more loot to spend, and so he is sending out his storm-troopers to rape our pockets even more.

Auckland Transport is hiking up its day rates at three inner-city parking buildings.

The daily rate at the Downtown, Civic and Victoria Street buildings will jump from 17 to $24. The hourly rate is unchanged.

But Jo Holmes from the Auckland Ratepayers’ Alliance says there’s no reason for the hike.

“We’re being forced to have massively increased parking charges,” she says. “It’s just this value for money over and over again that we’re not getting from our rates.”

The buildings account for more than 3700 of the CBD’s carparks.

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The subtle smears of a newspaper

Since when has demanding better local government systems, process and accountability right wing?

Well when left-wing news outlets decide they are.

Jo Holmes of right wing lobby group Auckland Ratepayers Alliance told Radio New Zealand she thought rates rises were uneven across Auckland.

“Some people have just had their rates go through the roof – We’ve had a case in Pt Chev of a resident getting an increase of $1700.”

The Auckland Ratepayers Alliance is non-political, where does Bernard Orsman or Susan Strongman get the idea or the proof that the ARA is “right wing”.

Their website clearly articulates that they are politically independent:

Who is behind the Auckland Ratepayers’ Alliance?

The Auckland Ratepayers’ Alliance is an initiative of the New Zealand Taxpayers’ Union and its Auckland members. The Taxpayers’ Union is a politically independent group championing low taxes and less government waste.

The Ratepayers’ Alliance was formed because we believe that Auckland needs a dedicated organisation standing up for ratepayers and holding the Council to account for its wasteful spending and high rates.    Read more »

Auckland Ratepayers Alliance forces Council back down

Bloody Hell! Nailed again

Bloody Hell! Nailed again

The Auckland Ratepayers Alliance has forced Auckland Council into a backdown over their plans for a new debating chamber.

Last night we went public on Auckland Council’s plans to spend up to $10 million on a new Council chamber so that the Mayor and Councillors don’t have to walk the 400 metres to the existing chamber in the Auckland Town Hall. The confidential briefing, provided to the Ratepayers’ Alliance and given to One News, was requested by councillors who asked officials for “options to improve councillor and public experience” and move the chamber into the Council’s new office tower at 135 Albert Street.

As a result of our shining the light on what the Council was doing behind closed doors, the Council has backed down with One News today unable to find a single Councillor willing to support the proposal they had asked for!

The One News coverage of our release of the secret briefing made to Councillors is here. We also uploaded the full presentation to our website.

Today Mayor Len Brown fronted (unlike yesterday) but surprisingly blamed his CEO – even though it was pointed out to him that the presentation makes clear that this was an initiative the Councillors had requested…

For an organisation less than a month old, we are proud that our efforts have already forced a Council back down that will save ratepayers millions. Our work isn’t costless though – if you can chip in, donate now to help us keep the Super City honest.  

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Rapacious Auckland Council wants to spend millions on a new council chamber

The rapacious Len Brown led Auckland Council, who just voted to pick our pockets by another 9.9% per annum wants to spend up to $10 million giving themselves comfy leather seats closer to their offices.

Auckland Council is under fire over plans to build a new chamber just half a kilometre from where the old one is.

The move comes in the same week the mayor and a majority of councillors voted for an average rates increase of 9.9% for households.

Auckland Council has just spent $157 million shifting some of its super city workers to new offices in downtown Auckland but ONE News can reveal that the spending doesn’t end there.

Documents leaked to the Auckland Ratepayer Alliance show plans for a new council chamber on site, saving councillors and staff a four minute, 445 metre walk.

Read more »