18 Feb 2021

Auckland Council to consult residents on 5% rates hike

6:32 pm on 18 February 2021

Auckland Council will soon put its 10-year Budget 2021-2031 out for consultation, asking Aucklanders if they support a one-off rates increase of 5 percent for 2021/22.

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Auckland's CBD. Photo: 123rf

The council said in a statement it had adopted its consultation document for the budget, and it would be available for public feedback from 12pm on 22 February until 12pm on 22 March.

Mayor Phil Goff said: "Covid-19 has already punched a $450 million hole in council finances, with losses projected to reach around $1 billion by 2024."

However, it was not an austerity budget, he said.

"We will continue to invest in the critical transport, housing, water and environmental infrastructure that Auckland needs. This will stimulate construction, jobs and economic recovery while ensuring that we can meet the long-term challenges our city is facing, such as the increasing threat posed by climate change.

"We will also protect the community assets that Aucklanders value such as museums, libraries, the zoo, parks, playgrounds, sports facilities, rubbish collections, recycling, roading and public transport."

Aucklanders will be asked whether they support a one-off 5 percent average general rates increase for 2021/22, followed by increases of 3.5 per cent each year thereafter.

The council said it would also make cost savings and sell further surplus properties.

Finance and performance committee chair councillor Desley Simpson said: "While we are continuing to focus on a very high savings target of $90 million as well as providing value for money to Aucklanders - doing more with less - we need to find a balance that enables us to provide much-needed investment in our ageing infrastructure so that our city continues to be a great place to live, visit, and do business."

Without the increased rates and debt, around $900m of investment would be delayed, the council said.

Other proposals include investment to respond to climate change, including bringing forward the electrification of the bus fleet and extending the Water Quality Targeted Rate to allow construction on major new water quality projects to start six years earlier.

Feedback can be provided online and via email, webinar or social media, by phone or post and in person at [akhaveyoursay.co.nz Have Your Say] events, depending on Covid-19 restrictions.

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