The way I see things

by Brian Hale

In July last year I ran an article which started with these opening paragraphs:
“The Auckland Ratepayers’ Alliance has been waging a campaign against the Auckland Council’s wish to increase rates rather than reduce them. Their stance is that, as so many ratepayers are currently in financial difficulty, the Council should do everything in their power to reduce the rates burden not increase it.
This is especially so because they have recently revealed the 86 Council employees being paid more than $250,000 and that of the 12,000-odd Council staff, 2831 are paid salaries of more than $100,000. However there seems to be a great reluctance on the part of the Council to do anything significant to curb any of these costs.”
What has happened since then? This is part of the report just released by The Ratepayers’ Alliance:
Average rates have increased by $130
The Report confirms that Auckland Council is charging the second-highest rates in the country, with an average bill of $3,599. And that doesn’t even take into account Mayor Phil Goff’s recently approved plan to hike your rates by 43% and double your water bill over the next decade!
The average residential rate for Auckland is now more than $1,000 greater than the average nationwide average residential rate of $2,572.
In fact, Auckland Council’s rates bills are now so high that Wellington and Christchurch City Councils are more than $800 cheaper than Auckland’s. Smaller rural councils, such as Buller District charge half what Phil Goff’s Council charges us.
Why are Auckland rates so high?
Operational spending, on a per-household basis, significantly outstrips the national average, including for other “unitary” councils. Here’s just one incredible example from the Report: Auckland Council pays 3,161 staff salaries over $100,000. Thats an increase of 330 people in just 12 months.
Debt now $29,611 for every Auckland household. Mayor Phil Goff has maxed out the credit card. The Council’s liabilities now totals $29,611 for every Auckland household – and that doesn’t even include the effects of Phil Goff’s “emergency budget” last year, or the more recently approved 10-year budget.
Do you feel helpless to do anything about this, I certainly do - the reason? - because so few voters take any interest. Next year we get the chance to VOTE again, so please start taking some notice of which Councillor tells the truth, which says they will vote one way and then votes the other, which one actually has the community/ratepayers interests at heart and make a commitment to VOTE!

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