Councillors have reacted angrily to Auckland Mayor Wayne Brown’s suggestion rates could rise 22.5 percent if nothing else is done to fill a budget shortfall.
On Wednesday Mayor Brown said the projected $325 million shortfall was more than the previous council planned.
“Enough is enough. We must get serious about council’s financial position. I did not create this hole, but I am determined the council fix it, so it doesn’t just keep growing,” Brown said.
“The shortfall has been driven by our huge debt, increasing interest rates and inflation, and the fact that the last council took one-off funding to cover the last year’s shortfall.”
Brown said to cover the budget shortfall with rates alone would require an average rate increase of 22.5 percent.
Manukau ward councillor Alf Filipaina said he was disappointed the Mayor chose to talk about a double-digit rate rise.
“It just puts it down to scaremongering because we haven’t discussed anything around a rate rise. We were just given that figure if the levers weren’t utilised,” he said.
“We haven’t even discussed anything relating to a 22.5 [percent rate rise]. We’ve just been given that figure. All of a sudden, it’s a headline.”
Council Finance Committee boss Maurice Williamson said a 22.5 percent rates hike represents a last resort, and cuts would have to be made. But he defended the tactic of the Mayor suggesting rates would have to rise by that much.
Watch his full interview with Newshub above.