Len Brown, When you say "keep rates low" you are assuming they are already low. Our rates and high and continually increasing. There is not a bill that we do not open that says - due to the current economic climate we have been forced to raise our prices of....power, water, rates, insurance, food bills, sky, health insurance, teacher union rates, ACC, ...HAVE I missed anything? This is the tightest we have lived and we do not live flash but are blessed to have a house. We cannot afford to do anything with it as we are just getting by now and we both work....what can you do for us - the typical middle class family living and working full time in Auckland with 3 kids?
I agree with your concern. It is also worse than you realise as Mayor Brown has run up an extra $200 million debt in \'keeping rates and water low\'. That means he has spent too much and has transferred the extra debt to the new super City for it to pay it back. Mayor Banks also did this with $545 million extra debt. Both these extra debts will have to be paid. I don\'t believe this was a responsible policy by these Mayors.
Now the answer as I see it. We have to tackle the problem which is tied up in increasing passenger transport subsidies. The ARC rates and a large section of Manukau (and other of the old cities) is made up of transport subsidies. Mike Lee the chairman of the ARC was very happy to hold rates at around 5%. But that 5% was twice the rate of inflation. That is compound interest working against you.
The extensive rail projects Mayor Brown is vigorously proposing will ensure your rates will increase. The projects will cost $12-14 billion and he has stated the costs will go on the rates. He hasn\'t a show of keeping rates down even if he drowns the new City in debt because the interest charges will raise the rates considerably.
So my solution. First we need to fix congestion which neither of the two Mayors are even thinking of doing. We can do this with around $600 million within 3 years as detailed on www.chapmanformayor.co.nz or as in www.elections2010.co.nz This will not add to rates with Govt\'s partial funding and the diverting of existing proposed City funding from unnecessary bus laning. (Not required because the traffic will be moving anyway.)
This will save the equivalent $2 billion cost of congestion to the community each year, increasing productivity, increasing profits, jobs and then higher wages. This is what Auckland needs. John Key called Auckland an anchor on the NZ economy. This we have to change.
Then we need to select the best of the new mode affordable elevated passenger transport systems (Monorails, Monobeams PRT, SkyCabs) and build a line from the CBD to Auckland airport within 4 years. Then extend it into a network across Auckland within ten years, tripling capacity and for less than one harbour tunnel. See web pages above. This will give Auckland a much better system, using less energy and the network would probably not need any subsidy. This will immediately begin to take the pressure off your rates. Without these two policies Auckland is in for heavy rate increases and I don\'t think Aucklanders deserve that.
I am also proposing starting to fix the Manukau harbour east of the Mangere Bridges. You will see this also on the web pages. Why? Because it will provide jobs, create a fabulous asset for Auckland, an international Rowing course that can be also used for Wakas and Kayaks, 10-12 football fields and a \'Riviera\' of apartments, shops, hotels and marinas to revitalise Otahuhu and Mangere. This Development should be self funding from the housing etc created.
How does this all help you?
It starts the economy going in the right direction. It stops the $2 billion cost of congestion the community suffers each year congestion is allowed to continue. It starts the reduction of transport subsidies and without that your rates will increase.
The other point that I have included in News Releases that have not been published is that I believe we need to handle the extra debt the two Mayors have left us, It is $750 million plus projects from North Shore, Rodney and Waitakere. I think it will be around $1 billion in total. The only way we can do this is to \'get rid of it\' in year one. We need to examine all the projects passed on from the old councils and only allow the projects with the very best benefits to proceed. In other words we need to cut $1 billion from the spend in the first year. There is no other way to stop that $1 billion extra debt ending up as increases in rates. Raising funds to carry it forward will add to rates. We have no other responsible option but to handle it this way. In the second year we need to use funds for the policies and projects from the Local Boards. We cannot allow the Local Boards to have little funding when their projects come forward.
There is no quick fix. But there is hope if sensible policies are used across the board. I believe we need to start talking frankly to Aucklanders. We are all grown ups. We need to involve residents not just in their local area via the Local Boards but in the problems of the City. These problems need discussion. We need a lot more conversation on a whole range of matters concerning Auckland. And I welcome the idea. Yes we may have problems with it. We are not used to discussing a problem until we all arrive at a solution, but it needs to be done.
Thanks for the question. I think it is the pertinent one for the whole city.
Hope this gives some hope for you.
Even though this question seems to be directed at Len Brown, it has been passed on to other candidates so i\'ll give you my answer anyway.
As a professional accountant and many years experience in managing organisations I am totally serious about saving ratepayer money. I will let you vote on the rates increase.
In the hard times the councils should have been (as all households have done) reducing spending and looking for savings. This hasn\'t happened. Instead, the old mayors have pursued big spending and big borrowing. Time to stop this and vote in a new style of leadership- a Mayor that knows that ratepayer money is to be highly valued.
hey Andrea, I\'m in the same boat asyou if I get in , it will be priority, but I \'m not gonna lie to you and say that they will be lowered until we ve had a look at the big picture.