Posted on August 4, 2016
Auckland Mayoral Candidate Mark Thomas has announced he will sign the Auckland Ratepayers Alliance 2016 Ratepayer Protection Pledge.
The pledge asks the next Mayor not to increase rates by more than 2% per annum.
Thomas is the first Auckland mayoral candidate to do so and follows Phil Goff’s refusal.
“I have agreed to sign the pledge with an important proviso. Under the rating policy I am proposing, I will give ratepayers the option to support a zero, two or four percent average rates increase.”
“Therefore if Aucklanders “vote” for a lower or a higher rating level – then the 2% pledge promise will not apply.”
“The Ratepayer’s Alliance 2% target is an understandable goal. Last year’s 9.9% average rates increase, which included Len Brown’s new transport rate, came on the back of 5 years of rates increases well above inflation.”
“However I want to return rate setting power to the people of Auckland, and if they want to pay more in return for greater investment that should be their choice.”
Thomas will create six regional budgets out of the council group budget as part of his first annual plan and will ask ratepayers in these areas to approve the level of rates increases they want.
The budgets will cover the North, West, Centre, East, South and Rural/Island local board areas. Thomas will seek to tie the level of rates increases more closely to the level of new project spending.
“This comes on the back of my plan to cut $35M in lower priority spending from council’s annual $807M economic, cultural and support budget.”
Thomas said he will encourage Aucklanders to support ‘a growth rate’ in his budget. But he understands many want to both see council savings and the council budget relating to more to their top priorities being delivered.”
“Phil Goff has made the same rates commitment as Len Brown, and Aucklanders know how that worked out.”
Thomas said with no council experience, Mr Goff is no position to be more specific on his rating plans but with six years as part of Auckland Council he coul