Rodney Councillor Greg Sayers has condemned a proposed billion dollar climate action package, which will impose further costs on ratepayers through a targeted rate.
The package was Mayor Phil Goff’s major policy proposal for Auckland Council’s Annual Budget 2022/23 released earlier this month.
Mr Goff said the proposed Climate Action Targeted Rate (CATR) would raise about $574 million over 10 years. This would be leveraged to extract a further $471 million from central government and other sources.
The CATR would fund initiatives to reduce carbon emissions such as boosting public transport, providing more opportunities for walking and cycling, and planting more trees.
“Long after Covid-19 ceases to be a major threat, there will be the ongoing crisis caused by climate change. We can’t afford to put off any longer the action needed to avoid a climate disaster,” Mr Goff said.
Mr Goff said that Auckland was still not doing enough to tackle climate change.
“A recent progress report on our Climate Action Plan states that Auckland’s emissions are not remotely tracking in line with our target to reduce emissions by 50 per cent by 2030,” he said.
But Cr Sayers has slammed the policy saying that while moves to reduce carbon emissions are important, they should be funded from general rates.
Cr Sayers said the CATR would mean an average 2.4 per cent rates increase for Aucklanders next year. This would come on top of a general rates increase of 3.5 per cent, making for an overall increase of 5.9 per cent.
He said due to the impact of the Auckland lockdown on the economy, “this was not the time to be reaching forever deeper into ratepayers’ pockets”.
Cr Sayers claimed the CATR was a way of increasing Council revenue without the Mayor having to admit he was breaking his promise of keeping next year’s rates increase to 3.5 per cent.
“Let’s call this new tax what it really is. It’s a disguised rates hike, disguised to fill Auckland Council’s financial hole left by Covid,” he said.
The CATR will be among the topics for public consultation on the Annual Budget. The consultation runs from February 28 to March 28.
For more information on the consultation process, visit https://akhaveyoursay.aucklandcouncil.govt.nz/