Mark Thomas - New Mayor for Auckland

What Value Do We Get From Rates?

A big reason why there is so much focus on and concern with the amount of rates we all pay, is because we don’t really see what value we get for it. And, despite a lot of effort, Council often doesn’t help much with this. Headline graphics like the adjacent focus too regularly and too exclusively on the amounts.

Other summaries talk about the billions of dollars spent on this or that, or aggregate programme’s that individuals may not benefit from at all. An earlier budget version overview looked like this:

Budget

This is a bit frustrating when the rates amounts for the coming year, that we have just been looking at online for the first time, are only too understandable.

The summary of planned new transport spending does a little better job, but only if you live in or use the 6 areas named for park and ride investment.

Transport spend

These cover 6 local board areas and even with a few more surrounding areas also getting benefit, what about the other dozen local board area residents? What do they get?
Of course some of the $110 million cycling and walking funding, and some of the 45 kilometres of bus lanes etc will wend its way to these areas. But you wouldn’t know.

A new leader for Auckland has a big job improving project prioritisation and funding into local areas. But an even larger task is to build a much greater understanding and buy-in among ratepayers of what each of us actually gets for the (typically) several thousand dollars we pay to Auckland Council each year.

A good start would be by breaking down what the 10 year budget will actually deliver for us in all 21 local board areas. For a start that would make it more transparent who was missing out.


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