Coun­cil­lor fears rates re­volt

Central Leader - - NEWS - By ROSE CAW­LEY

AUCK­LAND could face a rates re­volt, coun­cil­lor Christine Fletcher says.

Rates are on the rise and Puke­ta­papa is one of the worst-af­fected ar­eas with house­holds on av­er­age set to pay 14.5 per cent more.

Fletcher voted in sup­port of the new trans­port levy but was ‘‘ashamed’’ that a cap wasn’t put on the gen­eral rates in­crease.

‘‘We will drive peo­ple from their homes if some­thing doesn’t change,’’ she says.

‘‘I fear that if we don’t deal with it we will have a rates re­volt on our hands.’’

She says 25,000 res­i­dents will ex­pe­ri­ence a rates in­crease of 20 per cent and 4000 will see a 40 per cent in­crease.

Fletcher says like the Uni­form An­nual Gen­eral Charge, the trans­port levy ac­tu­ally makes rates more eq­ui­table across the city.

‘‘Th­ese are fixed charges that ev­ery­one across the re­gion pays.

‘‘If you can push those up it has the im­pact of bring­ing the rates up and down, like a see­saw, in dif­fer­ent parts of the city depend­ing on the area’s level of in­crease.’’

Auck­land mayor Len Brown says in­vest­ment in trans­port is crit­i­cal. The $500 mil­lion which the in­terim trans­port levy will raise over the next three years will go to­wards $12 bil­lion in trans­port im­prove­ments.

Puke­ta­papa res­i­dent John White says the fact there is no end in sight to the gen­eral rates hike is what frus­trates him.

‘‘We need to ad­dress trans­port although I think it should be done in road tolls.’’

‘‘It’s that there is no cap on the in­crease that gets me. No­body’s salary is go­ing up that much.’’

Mt Al­bert Rd res­i­dent Joseph Rebello says res­i­dents aren’t get­ting value for their money, only ‘‘emptier pock­ets’’.

‘‘We are just pay­ing for the rub­bish to be col­lected once a week,’’ he says. ‘‘ The coun­cil is us­ing our money ... to fill the gap and pay for projects in other ar­eas rather than look­ing af­ter Puke­ta­papa.’’

He says sim­ple ameni­ties in the area are lack­ing, he says.

‘‘You can’t even go to the public toi­lets in Three Kings. The con­di­tion is hor­rific,’’ he says.

Puke­ta­papa Lo­cal Board chair­woman Julie Fairey says the area has a le­gacy of be­ing over­looked.

‘‘In 2013 we worked out Roskill was get­ting about 74 cents for ev­ery $1 in­vested else­where in Auck­land com­mu­ni­ties.

‘‘We’re work­ing hard to close that gap.

‘‘It is nec­es­sary to sig­nif­i­cantly lift lo­cal in­vest­ment here to over­come the en­trenched dis­ad­van­tage of decades of un­der­fund­ing, not just giv­ing us a fairer share for the fu­ture.’’

But she says the su­percity struc­ture has meant more re­sources for Puke­ta­papa in re­cent years.

Some ex­am­ples are the up­grade at Keith Hay Park, the new sur­face at Love­lock Track in Wes­ley and the new play­grounds in parks.

Long-time Three Kings res­i­dent Garry Bryant moved two blocks down the road last year and his rates halved.

‘‘Peo­ple use coun­cil ser­vices, not prop­erty.

‘‘My house doesn’t go out and hop on the bus, I do,’’ Bryant says. ‘‘ Your prop­erty val­ues should be ir­rel­e­vant to the rates you pay.’’

He says with the gen­eral rate based on prop­erty val­u­a­tions Puke­ta­papa res­i­dents are feel­ing the squeeze be­cause prices in the area are soar­ing.

Ep­som res­i­dent Pip Mules says the in­crease has her wor­ry­ing about the fu­ture.

‘‘Will I be able to af­ford to grow old here?

‘‘Will I be able to stay in my home, in my com­mu­nity?,’’ Mules says.

‘‘I’m plan­ning to live here for a long time. I like it,’’ she says.

Christine Fletcher

Joseph Rebello

John White

Julie Fairey

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