While hundreds of Kiwis are facing the prospect of job losses, and Ports of Auckland workers’ standoff continues, Aucklanders will have to shell out more for their rates.
Auckland Council has announced a 3.6% rate increase for 2012-13, as New Zealand continues to battle a recession. Last year, Aucklanders paid a 3.9% rate increase.
However, the increase is not as bad as “the 9 per cent increases the council faced after amalgamation” according to the council’s Strategy and Finance Committee Chair Penny Webster.
“This has been achieved by driving more than $80 million in efficiencies in the organisation last year, and a further $40 million efficiencies this year, in order to keep the rates’ transition affordable for Auckland families.
“Auckland’s population is set to grow to two million people in 20 years time,” says Webster. “The council has undertaken a prudent borrowing programme to pay for the roads, public transport, parks and libraries that Auckland will need in the future.
“Standard and Poors recently confirmed our AA credit rating meaning we are only one notch below central government. I am confident we are managing our debt to cater for Auckland’s development.
“As we go through the debate on local government reform, it’s important to keep the facts in mind. Auckland Council is in a strong financial position and is already focused on keeping costs affordable for ratepayers,” says Cr Webster.
The rates increase announcement comes on the back of the central government’s announcement last week to restructure New Zealand’s local councils in a significant way.