Public meeting protests planned rates rise
Riled residents have met to voice their concerns over rates hikes.
Around 60 people filled Auckland’s Mt Eden Memorial Hall on June 10 to hear from a panel of politicians about how ratepayers can take a stand against the rates plan.
The public meeting was called after Auckland Council last month voted in favour of an average 9.9 per cent increase in rates bills. Included is a proposed transport levy of $114 a year including GST.
Orakei councillor Cameron Brewer told the meeting that the council should be looking in its own coffers to fund an extra $60 million in transport infrastructure. He said the council should follow the lead of Fonterra which is laying off staff to cope with declining milk prices.
‘‘They are going to make some cuts that cause some pain within head office and that’s what we need to do,’’ he said. ‘‘In comparison we just keep sticking it to the ratepayer.’’
At least 80 per cent of people said in submissions to the council that they do not want rate rises at more than 3.5 per cent, Brewer said at the meeting.
The panel included MPs from National, ACT, United Future and the Maori Party.
ACT leader David Seymour said the council is tackling infrastructure deficits that have built up for decades.
‘‘I think when we acknowledge the pain and the suffering this rate rise is causing for people we also have to give the council a fair hearing in a few ways.’’
The council needs to focus on delivering services rather than trying to create a city state within a country, Seymour said.
‘‘We have got a mayor in Los Angeles tonight trying to be a global deal maker with a bunch of businessmen,’’ he said. ‘‘Is that really the local role of government in New Zealand?’’
Auckland mayor Len Brown is on a council-led business delegation to the United States this month.
Meeting organiser Dick Cuthbert said there were plans for further meetings and a street march.
‘‘A partial rate revolt is one of the suggestions I’ve heard,’’ he said.