Rates hikes frus­trate Maun­gakiekie-Ta­maki res­i­dents

Central Leader - - NEWS - By TOM CARNEGIE

Frus­tra­tion to­wards Auck­land Coun­cil is the sen­ti­ment ex­pressed by many in the Maun­gakiekie-Ta­maki Lo­cal Board area in re­sponse to the lat­est rates hike.

Come July, the av­er­age res­i­den­tial house­hold in­crease in rates for the area will be 14.9 per cent, with 6.7 per cent of this be­ing for the trans­port levy.

Megan Dar­row­bought her Eller­slie house with her hus­band eight years ago.

She says while the coun­cil asks for public con­sul­ta­tion ‘‘it al­ways just seems to be smoke and mir­rors’’.

‘‘They ask for our con­sul­ta­tion, we give them sub­mis­sions and our opin­ions, and then it seems they just ig­nore it. I wrote a four-page sub­mis­sion on the re­gional trans­port plan. It seems as though they are just not lis­ten­ing to be hon­est,’’ Dar­row says.

Ma­ree Lovell re­cently started rent­ing in the Maun­gakiekie area and says ‘‘the abil­ity to live and work in Auck­land is be­com­ing for those who have higher than av­er­age in­comes’’.

‘‘Af­ter drop­ping my child off at school the other morn­ing, head­ing back along Ayr St and Shore Rd was a long line of traf­fic.

‘‘I can hon­estly say, and I was pur­posely look­ing, that ev­ery car had one per­son in it. Th­ese are the peo­ple who need to be taxed, not ev­ery house­hold,’’ Lovell says.

Gary Holmes, manager of the Glen Innes Busi­ness As­so­ci­a­tion, says the or­gan­i­sa­tion sup­ports the trans­port levy.

‘‘From a busi­ness per­spec­tive we sup­port it, but it is a lit­tle dif­fer­ent to what the coun­cil ini­tially put up for con­sul­ta­tion,’’ Holmes says.

Maun­gakiekie-Ta­maki Ward coun­cil­lor Denise Krum tabled an amend­ment on May 8 to cap Auck­land’s rates rises at a max­i­mum of 20 per cent.

The amend­ment was lost eight votes to 15.

‘‘Av­er­age in­comes do not match the rates in­crease, so I tried to re­mind my col­leagues what the rates rise will do for sub­urbs that have his­tor­i­cally strug­gled.

‘‘I re­alise that this cap would not have rep­re­sented a sil­ver bul­let and would have had some im­pact on other ratepay­ers but it’s the least we could have done in this en­vi­ron­ment to ad­dress the rod we’ve cre­ated for ratepay­ers’ backs,’’ Krum says.

Mayor Len Brown says: ‘‘We could do noth­ing and stick with the ba­sic trans­port pack­age or we could sup­port a stand-alone trans­port levy in line with what the com­mu­nity en­cour­aged us to do.’’

Megan Dar­row of Eller­slie says the Auck­land Coun­cil is not lis­ten­ing to the com­mu­nity.

Maun­gakiekie-Ta­maki coun­cil­lor Denise Krum voted against the tar­get rates hikes.

Gary Holmes says the trans­port levy will help lo­cal busi­nesses.

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