Auckland Mayor Wayne Brown has announced a budget proposal which will see rates for Aucklanders rise by 4.66%.
The proposed increase would see the average Auckland household with a property capital of $1.4 million pay an extra $154 a year, roughly $3 a week.
It comes as the cost of living continues to hit Kiwis in the pocket, with annual inflation rising to 7.2% - Brown had promised to keep rates low amid the crisis.
“My proposal would reduce rates in real terms and assist in the national fight against inflation, supporting Auckland households through the agony of this cost-of-living crisis and helping to protect the essential services that Aucklanders value,” Brown said.
The proposal comes after a $295 million hole was found in Auckland Council's budget, which threatened to spike rates by 13%. Brown said he wouldn’t let this happen.
He said his proposed budget looks to save the city $130 million across Auckland council and council-controlled organisations, including Auckland Transport, Tataki Auckland Unlimited, and Eke Panuku Development Auckland.
Brown had been highly critical of Auckland Transport during his campaign, calling for a "complete change in approach" to the organisation. AT’s chief executive resigned when Brown took Auckland’s top job.
To keep up with Brown’s low rates increase, local boards have been asked to find 5% in cost savings from their $298 million annual funding.
The mayor has also proposed selling Auckland Council’s 18% majority shareholding of Auckland Airport, suggesting it could raise $2 billion for the city.
“We want to make systemic changes to ensure there isn’t a rate rise shock in 2024. If tough decisions and trade-offs are not made now, Auckland households may still face hefty rates rise next year,” Brown said.
The budget proposal comes six weeks into Brown’s term as mayor. He has described this time as “a battle against rate rises and service cuts”.
“If the 2022/24 budget proposal is passed, following a Governing Body meeting on December 15 and consultation next year, it could be the first time in Auckland Council’s history that total rates have fallen in real terms,” Brown said.