The Auckland Ratepayers’ Alliance has issued the following media release.
One year of Mayor Goff - Will he keep his rates promise?
Today marks one year since Phil Goff was elected to the mayoralty of the Auckland Super City. Jo Holmes, Spokesperson for the Auckland Ratepayers’ Alliance reflects on whether Mr Goff has delivered on his promises made to Aucklanders:
“This time last year, Phil Goff was elected Mayor of Auckland, alongside a majority of fiscally conservative Councillors. He promised that while in office, he would trim Council spending by 3-6%. Despite his words, it seems Mr Goff is still searching for these savings, delivering next to nothing in his first budget.”
“A $42 million wage budget blowout has severely offset any savings made over the last year. This is due to the empire building culture of Council and its CCOs, where one in five Council staff earn triple figures, and 194 staff earn over $200,000."
“While Mr Goff came through on his promise to keep rates rises at 2.5% in his first budget, the accommodation sector became the new victims, with the passage of a targeted 'bed tax' in June.”
“Mr Goff's constant complaints of a lack of funding in the media makes moderate rates hikes look no longer likely for future budgets. Perhaps if Mr Goff actually kept to his promise to cut Council spending, this would not be as much of an issue.”
“Any claim that Mr Goff is delivering on his promises is exceedingly misguided.”
Bernard Orsman painted a gloomy picture for ratepayers in an article in this week’s Weekend Herald.
He went on to say:
Today, there's a more cautious fiscal tone coming from Goff, and hints of nasty surprises in store for ratepayers. Goff has no money to play with as he prepares a new 10-year budget and no agreement with Government on how to plug a $6 billion transport funding gap.
Last week, Standard & Poors reaffirmed Auckland Council's AA credit rating. The rating agency applauded the council's financial management by containing debt amid huge demand for infrastructure but said its budgetary performance was "weak" and expected capital spending to fall away.
"I am going to fight to hold rates at 2.5 per cent but that will be a huge battle," Goff told the Weekend Herald this week.
The council-controlled organisations - a term often referred to as a misnomer - continue to give Goff grief by ignoring his requests for greater accountability and transparency and being deaf to ears of Local Boards and ratepayers. It took an age for Auckland Transport to respond to fix a bug with the HOP card. Ateed has been subjected to a "first principles" review.
While Auckland continues to elect Labour mayors its ratepayers can only ever expect big rates rises double, triple or quadruple the annual rate of inflation.
Those who believed otherwise have only themselves to blame.