A letter has been sent to the Auditor General by David Thornton of No More Rates asking her to consider whether or not the public has been deliberately misled by Len Brown and Auckland Council.
I request that you revisit and review your audit of the Consultation on the Auckland Council Long Term Plan 2015 – 20125 (LTP) in specific reference to the Interim Transport Levy..
My concern is , that despite your comments in your audit report, the consultation information on this new rate was, to all intents and purposes, totally invisible and consequently the consultation process was badly flawed at best, and unlawful at worst,
My evidence for this lies in the report from officials on the feedback to the Draft LTP presented to the Council’s Budget Committee.
This report states that there were 27,383 written submissions on the Draft Plan of which only 39 mentioned the Interim Targeted Rate, plus one multi-question survey by a ratepayers association.
I suggest that this level of response, to what has evolved into an average rate increase of more than 4%, clearly indicates that insufficient information was placed before the public.
The information in the leaflet delivered to all households said, in relation to transport options, “Under either funding option a targeted rate may also be required for 2015/2016”.
The formal Consultation Document is more informative and suggests a fixed charge of $58.99 per property or value-based targeted rate – but only for the year 2015/2016 i.e. one year. (It must be acknowledge that very few ratepayers seek out this formal Consultation Document)
What Council has decided is a ‘3-year interim levy’ at $99+ GST per residential property and $159 per business.
This outcome, in my view, is not what reasonable ratepayers could have envisaged from the information presented to them in formal consultation.
I request that you consider and report on this information