Posted on August 8, 2016
Increased water charges, a ‘Len Brown’ rates promise and a change of Government are at the heart of Labour MP Phil Goff’s Auckland fiscal policy say mayoral candidate Mark Thomas.
“Goff is critical of Watercare not paying a dividend and yet the only way this can be achieved is if water prices were to increase. This would be tough on many Aucklanders struggling to pay their bills.”
“He is promising the same 2.5% rates increase which Mayor Len Brown famously broke in 2014 with his 10 year Long Term Plan budget. He is silent on whether he will continue to reduce the business rate differential or make the Uniform Annual General Charge fairer by increasing it.
“The Labour MP wants a regional petrol tax, infrastructure bonds, a congestion charge and a bigger Auckland share in the Government’s Infrastructure Fund. He controls none of these and while Auckland traffic congestion worsens he seems set to continue to battle the government as a defacto ‘Deputy Leader of the Opposition’.
“His consultants have given him a plan of 3-6% spending cuts across each council department. He says he has accepted their advice yet it lacks any specifics or timeframe. Len Brown cut the transport budget by $110 million and that’s a key reason why we are going backwards. Thomas will reverse Brown’s cuts over his first three years by attacking Auckland Transport’s asset and renewals ‘gold-plating’.
Thomas is also targeting the $817 million per annum Support, Economic and Cultural budget for savings. This is also the area where 90% of Aucklanders told council in last year’s Long Term Plan consultation they wanted savings made.
Thomas has committed to $35 million in savings in year one of his first budget from this area.
“Goff talks about bringing in “top executive” consultants to achieve the changes he wants. He risks being hostage to his consultants because he doesn’t understand Auckland Council’s business.
“Council currently spends $200M per year in consultants. My plan is to reduce this cost, not increase it. My rewrite of the Auckland Plan will refocus council better on resolving Auckland’s key transport, housing and growth problems.
Phil Goff is further limiting Auckland’s short-term options by ruling out swapping the airport and ports assets into the transport and growth assets we need.
“Goff’s ‘hands-off’ fiscal plans won’t deliver “more from less”. Auckland needs a new mayor making more progress in the areas they control, and less preoccupied shadow-boxing.”
Mark Thomas’ Affordability polices can be found here: http://mark-thomas.co.nz/issues/