Auckland Council may sell surplus property to patch budget gap

4:43 pm on 16 July 2020

Auckland Council is debating whether to sell off some of its properties to help fill its $750m fiscal hole.

Auckland's skyline, from Devonport.

Photo: 123rf

The council is making a decision on it's emergency budget today, deliberating between a 2.5 or a 3.5 percent rates increase. Mayor Phil Goff said the budget was the biggest challenge any Auckland Council had ever encountered.

Asset recycling - focusing on selling off properties and rejigging commercial arrangements - is part of the council's four-prong approach to patching up the gap in its emergency budget, along with increased borrowing, less investment, and savings and service reduction.

Today the council's finance and performance committee heard that 48 properties, with a total value of $34 million, are considered surplus and would be first in line to be sold.

Another 35 properties with a value of $53 million were also potentially on the chopping block if the council deemed these to be surplus as well.

The council would cash in $224m from asset recycling if the emergency budget that went out for consultation is adopted as.

The properties across the region include recreation reserves, carparks, offices, commercial premises and vacant land.

Local boards had mixed feelings on asset recycling - some supported, some only conditionally supported and others opposing.

The council's financial strategy manager, Ross Tucker, is proposing properties should not be sold for less than 90 percent of their value without the approval of the finance committee.

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