Thursday, 7 May 2015

Liar Len’s dirty rotten trick [updated]

Guest post by Stephen Berry

Many of us were surprised yesterday when we saw the 9.5% rates increase figure splashed across the front of the newspapers, but in hindsight it is easy to see the path of Len Brown’s dirty rotten trick.

The voters of Auckland have been cynically played by Mayor Brown, from the 2013 election up until today.

The first trick occurred before Brown was re-elected as Mayor, when he promised voters that the average rates increase would not exceed 2.5%. The Mayor made that promise with absolutely no intention of sticking to it.

In November 2014 the Mayor changed his support from a 2.5% increase to a 3.5% increase within a week, saying at the Governing Body meeting, “I haven’t been able to find the savings to deliver on (the original plan). If the community doesn’t like the 3.5 they’ll say it.”  The Mayor came to this new rates increase figure after dangling a deceptive spending plan in front of voters that attracted the right sort of supportive feedback. We now know it is the same tactic he has used this year.

As the Council sought submissions on a new Long Term Plan in early 2015, they were presented with two different transport options; one being bigger and more expensive. Fifty percent of the 27,000 submissions showed support for the more expensive plan. [Just as surveys  regularly demonstrate voters wanting more spending, but lower taxes – Ed.]

Funding options for Len’s big plan included the option of tolls, which also had wide support.  But this was a red herring engineered to make it look like Len had all of Auckland’s support. He presented a high-spending plan to be funded in a manner the Council has no power to introduce, and which central Government has made crystal clear is not going to happen. And then he claimed support for the spending that supposedly sanctioned.

So then last week, on the back of this, the Mayor unveiled a plan for “keeping rates at 2.5%,” but placing on top of that a “targeted transport levy” of 4% – in other words, a total rates increase of 6.5%.

It was immediately obvious that the entire submissions process had been a way for Len Brown to present a mandate for increasing rates far beyond what he had initially promised. He ensured most submissions would support a plan for a big spending transport proposal so he could then pretend he was “obligated” to ramp up rates.

But wait. There’s more!

Not content with a 6.5% rates increase, a combination of lower business rates and higher council valuations caused by the overheated property market now means the total average rates increase will be in the region of 9.5%.

Len Brown has played the people of Auckland like puppets with manipulative games of deceit.  Now Auckland’s ratepayers need to tell the Mayor this increase is unacceptable and force him into a back down.

It is clear that 2016 should be Len Brown’s last as Mayor of Auckland.

Let’s make it so.


candidatephoto1Stephen 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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UPDATE:

It gets worse.  The Herald reports:  “Auckland councillors have voted 15-7 for a 9.9 per cent rates increase for households from July.”

Yes, that’s right:

9.9!

That’s the average rates rise. David Farrar has the breakdown of which ratepayers are most kicked in the teeth, from biggest increase to smallest:

  • Mangere-Otahuhu 16.9%
  • Kaipatiki 16.1%
  • Whau 15.7%
  • Albert-Eden 14.9%
  • Maungakiekie-Tamaki 14.9%
  • Puketepapa 14.5%
  • Otara-Papatoetoe 12.2%
  • Henderson-Massey 11.6%
  • Howick 9.9%
  • Upper Harbour 9.9%
  • Manurewa 9.5%
  • Orakei 8.5%
  • Devonport-Takapuna 7.9%
  • Waitemata 7.7%
  • Hibiscus and Bays 6.3%
  • Waitakere Ranges 5.4%
  • Franklin 4.4%
  • Papakura 3.3%
  • Rodney -1.4%
  • Waiheke -2.8%
  • Great Barrier -13%

And the 13 council-scum who voted for you to be their milch cow (only 9 voted against):

  • Len Brown
  • Penny Hulse
  • Penny Webster
  • Arthur Anae
  • Cathy Casey
  • Bill Cashmore
  • Linda Cooper
  • Chris Darby
  • Alf Filipaina
  • Chris Fletcher
  • Mike Lee
  • Calum Penrose
  • Wayne Walker

Why not give the bastards a call and tell them what you think.

1 comment:

  1. While Auckland is increasingly a shambles I suspect nothing will change until simple economics force it. As a protest the people will vote in Goff to replace Brown and the mismanagement will continue.

    I met Casey at a seminar some years ago. I heard this lovely accented voice rambling to someone about politics and, having traced it, asked her which political camp she belonged to. It was multi trougher Jim Anderton at that time and I rolled my eyes among other derogatory indications. The main thing I recall her saying was that she was a volunteer in leftie politics back in the UK but couldn't believe that you could get paid to do it as in NZ. She was already in socialist heaven.

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