Average Auckland rates and water costs 'pretty good for what you get' - Wayne Brown

10:45 am on 17 May 2024
Auckland Mayor Wayne Brown.

Auckland Mayor Wayne Brown says many people are struggling in the current economic climate and the savings found in the council's Long-term Plan aim to reduce pressure on people as much as possible. Photo: Glenda Wakeham

A $100-dollars-a-week Auckland residents pay on average for rates and water is "pretty good" for the services they get, says the city's mayor Wayne Brown.

Councillors on Thursday voted to adopt a mayoral proposal that will see general rates in Auckland increase by 6.8 percent this year.

That is far less than the 16.4 percent Wellingtonians are facing or the 19.9 proposed for Hamilton ratepayers.

Auckland councillors had earlier endorsed a 7.2 percent increase for water rates.

Brown told Morning Report the increases could have been more substantial and they were "actually pretty good" under the circumstances.

"Bearing in mind that they were looking at a 28 percent increase in water charges until I managed to do a deal with the government, so I think that they should be quite happy with that. It's not an increase of $100, it's only $100.

"That's pretty good for what you get - try living in Wellington on that."

Brown said he was "hired to fix Auckland" and things had "improved a lot" since he had come into office.

"'Stop wasting money' was one of my catch cries when I became elected, and even now we're still finding savings, although you have to look pretty hard for them."

He acknowledged that not all of the cost-saving decisions the council had made were popular - "we probably could have handled the [rubbish] bin savings a lot better" - but said economies needed to be made "at all levels and every place".

"There's no drawer you can pull open and find $126 million lying about, it's just constant pressure everywhere; reducing [the] number of staff to the minimum of what you need and seeing how you get by with it, and then sometimes you have to put a bit back."

Brown said lot of people were struggling in the current economic climate.

"There's a lot of people struggling with mortgages, a lot of people are redeeming their money out of their retirement fund just to cover the mortgage, so we wanted to put the minimum pressure onto people that we could."

He hoped that capping public transport costs at $50 a week would make public transport a more attractive proposition for people.

"We've done well to be able to do that sort of stuff."

The Long-term Plan also set out rates increases for the average Auckland household of 5.8 percent in 2025-26, and 7.9 percent in 2026-27.

Thousands of submissions received

Consultation on the 10-year budget closed at the end of March, with 27,978 responses - the highest number of submissions for its Long-term Plan Auckland Council had seen to date, the organisation said in April.

There were 22,079 submissions made by individual Aucklanders, 391 by organisations, 23 by Māori entities, and 485 pro forma responses.

Of the 15,954 individual responses on the council's overall plan, 37 percent supported a do-less approach from council.

The Long-term Plan, including the approved budget, will be formally adopted by the council's governing body on 27 June.

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