26 Aug 2019

Auckland needs to live within its means - Tamihere

9:15 am on 26 August 2019

Auckland mayoral rival John Tamihere's pitching himself as a low-cost candidate, promising to freeze rates rises for three years, ditch the regional fuel tax, and ask landlords to hold off on rent hikes for the next three years.

Mayoral candidates Phil Goff, left, and John Tamihere

Photo: RNZ / Supplied

Incumbent mayor Phil Goff is rubbishing the plan - saying it's a fundamentally reckless, dishonest and unbelievable plan which will leave the city unable to invest in its critical infrastructure.

Mr Tamihere told Morning Report his plan would save $86.6 million a year and that current spending of the Super City is out of control.

"You can't continue to tax and gouge rate payers in Auckland, they've paid for all sorts of things..."

Mr Tamihere said there is $5.5 billion of churn in the balance sheet.

"Auckland City, next to the central government is the biggest business in this country. It's a $55 billion balance sheet."

He said Mr Goff has never run a business and it's one of the biggest problems.

Auckland Council needs to cut expenses and live within its means, he said

"If you can bring your spending under control, everything else comes under control."

Phil Goff said in a statement that the $28 billion investment in infrastructure in the current 10-year budget is to tackle the city's problem of underinvesting in crucial infrastructure over a number of years, he said.

He said Mr Tamihere's water rates rise of $200-$300 would equal a 12 percent increase in average general rates and suggesting a rates cut "is to take much more with one hand and give a little bit with the other".

"Under this plan, the city would lose out on $3.8 billion dollars' worth of rates revenue on top of the $4.3 billion lost from the regional fuel tax. Where is the money going to come from to pay for the work that we desperately need to do in Auckland like transport and housing infrastructure?"

Mr Tamihere's finance plan is incoherent, Mr Goff said.

He told Morning Report if you slash income and splurge on spending you get into trouble.

"I'm dealing with realities, I'm not dealing with fiction. He is dealing with pure fantasy."

Mr Goff said the basic responsibility of being in government is managing the finances properly.

What Mr Tamihere is proposing would be a disaster, he said.

"What John Tamihere's promising ... is spending that's up over $12 billion extra and at the same time he's slashed his income by $8 billion, when you do that, when you voluntarily cut your own income and you go to government and say we want you to fill the gap, regardless of who's in government, they're going to tell you to bugger off."

By cutting revenue you cut your ability to get the investment capital for major projects, he said.

"This city would grind to a halt..."

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