Guest post by Stephen Berry
Len Brown has saved his biggest dirty trick for yesterday’s Governing Body meeting with his proposal to add a 2% transport levy on top of the crippling rates increases already inflicted on Aucklanders.
It seems the Mayor has been hatching this trick for quite some time by building public support for an expensive transport plan. Once he has obtained 50% support of submitters for the most expensive option in the Long Term Plan, he has pulled a knife from behind his back in the form of an extra transport levy to fund it.
Essentially what has happened now is that the Mayor has turned his promise for an average 2.5% rate increase, broken when he voted for a 3.5% average increase, into a whopping 5.5% rates increase. This transport proposal is the country’s lamest magic trick.
The 2% transport levy is proposed to remain in place until 2018 when the Government is hoped to allow the Council to implement tolls on Auckland roads. Essentially the Mayor’s plan is to keep hoping the National Government eventually gets voted out of office so he can implement tolls. Considering he has no chance of surviving the 2016 election, this plan isn’t a very good one.
The Council needs to be a bit more open minded in choosing how to fund capital projects rather than taxing and borrowing. With the Government ruling out the possibility of charging tolls, the Council needs to look at options such as obtaining private sector involvement and selling assets that are a lower priority than its proposed transport solutions.
Repeatedly grabbing from property owners can no longer be considered an option.
Stephen Berry is the leader of Affordable Auckland, and Candidate for Mayor of Auckland and Albany Councillor in 2016. He was third place-getter in the 2103 Auckland mayoralty election.
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