Councillor fears rates revolt
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.