More than half of Auckland respondents and 70 per cent of those from Rodney did not support the Mayor’s proposed one-off five per cent rates rise and 10-year budget during recent public consultation.
As a result, two Rodney Local Board members – Colin Smith from Wellsford and Warkworth’s Tim Holdgate – voted against supporting the five per cent increase at an extraordinary meeting to provide Local Board input on the budget on May 5.
Mr Smith said he simply couldn’t support something that so many local residents had been against and asked for the rates increase to be voted on as a stand-alone item in a much longer list of feedback.
Board chair Phelan Pirrie said that the feedback had been on the rates rise and budget combined, not just the one-off five per cent.
“That feedback is based on the entire budget, not just the five per cent increase,” he said. “We’re providing feedback on specific bits. They don’t support the overall budget, but that’s not the five per cent increase.”
He also stressed that without the five per cent, Council and Board funding would be slashed, with maintenance and work programmes stalled or dropped.
“I can’t make it any clearer. We’ve gone through our draft budgets based on a five per cent increase,” he said. “If the Governing Body doesn’t go for five per cent, we won’t get the money we need. We’ve been given a draft budget and been working on that, and it’s work based on five per cent. We have to listen to everything, not just feedback.”
Members voted to support the one-off five per cent rates increase for one year, noting that without it, “Rodney Local Board would be unable to deliver its work programme and progress its advocacy priorities”.
Members also voted for advocacy initiatives including seeking approval for funding for Auckland Transport (AT) to renew and maintain 12 per cent of Auckland’s roading network and for $121 million in funding for AT’s Unsealed Roads Improvement Programme.
Other input in the 10-year budget included supporting $150 million of additional investment to accelerate climate change action; requesting increased public transport options across the Rodney Local Board area; requesting improvements to the roading network across Rodney; supporting the extension of the Water Quality Targeted Rate to provide an extra $150 million (though not an increase in it); supporting the extension to the Natural Environment Target Rate to provide an extra $107 million; and supporting the Māori Outcomes Fund and the provision of $150 million investment over the next 10 years.
The Board did not support proposed changes to the urban rating area in the Rodney Local Board area, “as amenity and service levels are inadequate and do not meet an urban standard that would justify any amendment to the urban rating area”.