The Auckland Council does not know the true cost to ratepayers of Mayor Len Brown's latest budget plan.
Mr Brown announced a special "transport levy" on top of an overall rates increase of 2.5 per cent, which is down from the previous figure of 3.5 per cent.
• Average rates hike put at $200
The levy is $99 for households and $159 for businesses.
The Herald has been asking council and mayoral staff for details of the combined rates rise and levy.
Staff said details would be available late yesterday, but today a council spokeswoman said "at this stage we don't have this data".
"We will have further details early next week on how the proposed rates increases and transport levy will affect different groups and are happy to update you as soon as this is available," the spokeswoman said.
The Herald asked the mayoral office if Mr Brown knew what the impact of the general rate and levy would be on different ratepayers groups when he introduced the latest budget plan yesterday. His office has not responded.
Labour councillor Ross Clow has calculated the combined impact at about $200 on an average household rates bill of $3000, or a 6.5 per cent rates rise.
Meanwhile, Mr Brown snapped at a journalist yesterday for suggesting his "transport levy" was a rates rise.
"No, it's a transport levy," Mr Brown said.
Mr Brown is at odds with some councillors who have called the levy a rates rise, and senior finance officers who refer to the levy as a "transport targeted rate" in the mayor's own budget papers.
The Local Government (Rating) Act 2002 says there are eight kinds of rates that councils can set and rates assessments must set out the amount and a description of each rate.
Mr Brown has not said what legal power he has to impose a levy.
It’s no wonder nobody in Council knows what’s going on because Brown is making it up as he goes along. He has justified the transport levy based on a highly dubious survey of residents that gave only two options, an annual fuel tax or a motorway user charge, neither of which he could deliver because they are Government taxes. The transport levy was never mentioned in the survey.
Worse still is the revelation of what the transport levy is being used to fund.
Brown has said the transport levy is will be a three-year "short-term" levy would fund about $500 million of extra transport projects, including a massive lift in cycling and fast-forward plans for a northwestern busway and busway to Orewa.
And you can forget ‘short-term’; there is nothing so permanent as a temporary solution when it comes to Council.
Auckland Council has become a farce. A very expensive farce as far as ratepayers are concerned.