My Reaction to the Long Term Plan Passing Yesterday #AKLPols UPDATE with Council Info

What do I face, and who to vote out

 

The Long Term Plan passed its final hurdle on a 10-9 vote yesterday at the Governing Body of Auckland Council (Long Term Plan Passes 10-9 + Initial Reaction – UPDATED). Depending on who you listen is depending what reaction you get.

It ranges from bile over at Kiwi Blog. to our perennial whinger Cameron Brewer who has not really achieved a lot in his five years on Council compared to other conservative Councillors, to a very measured and reasoned opposition from Chris Fletcher (that I agree with), to finally an equally measured and reasoned support from conservative Councillors Cooper and Cashmore.

 

My initial reaction which also counters what our mate Bernard Orsman over at the Herald has written was this:

Okay Rebekka and I have taken a 10.8% rates rise owing to the Long Term Plan passed earlier today.

It is made up of a 3.4% general rise and 7.4% from the Transport Levy herself

Now if the Transport Levy gets South Auckland’s public transport network to par enough it means we ditch a car and pull around $2,400/year savings.

Transport Levy is an extra $2.19/week
Ditching the car as a result from the levy and an actual Public Transport system is: $46/week saving

$2.19 – $46 = $43 savings/week or there about (I have incorporated cost of HOP card fares)

The raw figure that doesn’t include potential savings from ditching a car because of better public transport was an extra $3.20/week more on the Rates bill. This does include a drop in my Waste Management Fee portion of the bill that Papakura did pick up.

 

The Transport Levy itself would not be needed if Central Government (whether National or Labour) pulled finger on better transport programs for Auckland. More to the point better coordination on the priorities in Auckland and getting an actual transport program rolled out.

Already in Australia the New South Wales and Victorian State Governments (one Right Wing and One Left Wing) have committed billions to transport projects (public transport and road) over the next three years. Ours dithers in the public transport department while it has a motorway fetish including a proposed one where we don’t even know the land use in 30 years (the East-West Link).

However, the Levy is in place and it is going to kick-start several projects in the public transport division. The Government (and credit here) has announced funding for more cycleways in Auckland with more to come there. Slowly but surely at least in my household with these gradual improvements we can ditch one of our cars and bring in those larger savings. It also allows greater choice in getting around urban Auckland that doesn’t involve a motorway and the stresses that go with it.

 

For the rest of the Long Term Plan this is where I will agree with Councillor Chris Fletcher. The prioritisation of the Budget is needing to be done and SHOULD be done in the new Council term post 2016. Ironically such prioritisation would come on top of both the Auckland Plan review and (hopefully) the stock-take on the ten Metropolitan Centres (Stock-take On Our Centres? I would say so before Unitary Plan Goes Live). With those two big pieces of work in hand it should make any prioritisation work and realignment with the ten Spatial Priorities easier to accomplish. The point being though will Councillor Fletcher follow-up on her very measured opposition yesterday to see all four pieces of work through?

 

I have seen the Main Stream Media quote $1000 Rate rises this morning. My challenge to the MSM is SHOW ME THE NUMBERS line by line or I will call you outright for misrepresentation to border line lying.  And we now have the breakdown although it has come from Council itself:

Of the approximately 454,000 residential properties in Auckland, the council estimates approximately two per cent, or around 9,000 residences, will receive an increase of more than $1000.

At the same time, approximately 22.5 per cent of Aucklanders will get a rates decrease, 68 per cent will get an increase under $500 and 7.5 per cent will get an increase of between $500 to $1000 (based on rates data as at 1 May 2015).

Still need the locations by Local Board though and I do wonder if we should have had the Transition arrangements in the first place rather than going Cold Turkey in 2012.

More from Council

Residential rates 2015-16 – impact on households

The following outlines the estimated impact of rates changes for 2015-16 on residential ratepayers. The final numbers, including for individual ratepayers, will be available from 15 July. These figures are an estimate only.

Of the approximately 454,000 residential properties in Auckland, the council estimates approximately two per cent, or around 9,000 residences, will receive an increase of more than $1000.

At the same time, approximately 22.5 per cent of Aucklanders will get a rates decrease, 68 per cent will get an increase under $500 and 7.5 per cent will get an increase of between $500 to $1000 (based on rates data as at 1 May 2015).

This is due to a number of factors:

  • Auckland completes its three-year move to a single rates system, making rates fairer because residential properties of a similar value will be charged a similar amount of general rates, no matter where they are in Auckland
  • the increase in general rates of 2.5 per cent which funds a basic transport programme as well as paying for the hundreds of essential day-to-day services the council provides, including rubbish and recycling collections, public transport improvements, roads and footpaths, libraries, park, sports field and beach maintenance, swimming and recreation facilities, and much more
  • the inclusion of the Interim Transport Levy, which will help to enable a number of critical transport projects across the region, helping to keep Auckland moving.
  • and other changes which are specific to properties which could be affected by factors such as:
  • the property’s value, based on the 2014 revaluation
  • the end of the transition to the single rates system, which means rates increases and decreases are no longer capped.

Auckland Council offers a number of options for Auckland’s residential ratepayers who may be facing higher rates bills, particularly as a result of recent revaluations.

Ratepayers can spread payments over the year by weekly, fortnightly or monthly payments via direct debit.

Central government has a rates rebate available up to $610, for those people whose rates are high in relation to their income, and with only a third of all eligible Aucklanders applying for this so far, we strongly encourage people to contact council to find out more.

But for people who may not qualify, we also offer a rates postponement scheme for residents who live in their own home. This enables all or a portion of rates to be deferred until the ratepayer no longer lives there.

We also provide extra assistance for elderly who qualify as residents of license to occupy retirement villages. We encourage ratepayers to contact Council to find out more about the assistance available.

—ends—-

 

Currently on my Rates movements I take a 10.8% rise total. That is 3.4% or $45/year increase from Rates itself (not including the Uniform Annual General Charge slight increase to $385) and the Levy adds another 7.4% or $114. I do take savings from my Waste Management Fee part of the Bill falling which negates out the UAGC rise.

So from there the nominal rise is 10.8% or $159 increase. So where $1000 is coming in from I would like to know please.

 

In the end as a Ratepayer (I do pay Rates) I need to decide for myself whether to bite this bullet or sit there protesting and achieving nothing as was more common on the Isthmus prior to 2010. The vote ended up being a straight South/West/Rodney vote in favour against the Isthmus, East and North Shore. There was a couple of variations from Chris Darby and Mike Lee voting in favour of the new Long Term Plan.

I am prepared to stand alongside my own conservative Councillor Calum Penrose in supporting his vote FOR the Long Term Plan. As he noted in his speech yesterday that he might get chucked next year in #Auckland2016. But he might not as well either. It is whether the Ward (Manurewa and Papakura) are wanting to take that bullet knowing the Long Term Plan is crude but transport projects we need down here can finally get under way.

 

Speaking of projects I have heard one of our Council Control Organisations has gone rogue and is holding up the Manukau Interchange needed for the New Bus Network due to start next year. And no that CCO is not Auckland Transport as they are the ones being held up. More next week.

5 thoughts on “My Reaction to the Long Term Plan Passing Yesterday #AKLPols UPDATE with Council Info

  1. One of the things I have learned about Leadership is “it is vitally important to always take your people with you.” It’s actually a vitally important principle for a Leader to apply, because if he/she doesn’t do this, they end up being a weird little guy wandering around up front, all alone, with their followers nowhere to be seen.

    Some elected members have applied this principle well. Others have not. On this particular issue, it was very clear which elected members had taken the time to bring their communities along with them, and which were merely grandstanding, and which were merely weird little guys wandering around up front, all alone.

    There were some impressive speeches made — some of the words spoken were Gospel Truth. However, it’s important to search behind the words for the deeds, and to look ahead of the promises for the deliveries — because talk is cheap, and it always has been. This is why I took careful notes.

    Much of the unpleasantness we saw yesterday could have been avoided with proper leadership. Unfortunately, that needed to be applied consistently over time, and not merely on the day for the cameras. Leadership is earned by example, and not allocated by anointment.

    It remains to be seen how well this all pans out. Given the SuperCity’s delivery history so far, we can only hope for improvement because transit in our city couldn’t get too much worse.

  2. Yep. Those four all had interesting discussion. I also enjoyed Alf as an orator. He had such dignity, presence, statesmanship and humanity. A genuine concern for the people in his constituency.

  3. If I chose to be brutal about this, it would be easy to ask what’s in it for me?
    After all said and done, at my age motorway travel does not figure very highly in our monthly meanderings.
    So what is this increase in rates going to do for me?
    I would have rather central government manned up and used a toll or user based approach for funding, I would rather see a more equitable distribution of road user taxes and levees to their places of origin. That would have been fairer wouldn’t it?
    So here I am with a fixed income, facing what is to me a very large increase in rates. I received an annual increase of 89 cents a week to my income recently. Care to wonder how far that will go?
    Would have made more sense to me to see councillors lobbying their pals in Parliament to do the right thing. We know where Penrose sits with Collins!
    So where does that leave me? Guess I’ll just have to eat a bit less?

  4. Yep, the speech I agreed with the most came from Christine Fletcher. We need the transport projects so fair enough to pay. But the year on year basic rates rise when council doesn’t appear to have done the hard yards on looking for efficiencies or prioritising within. Actually quite a few good speeches and high quality of debate generally from both sides of the spectrum.

    1. Agree there Esther
      Fletcher, Cooper, Penrose, Cashmore were some of the best I heard of the day. All were right in their own way but also some critiques too.

      Now then it is time for Fletcher to follow through and get that red pen and ruler out before we hit the Annual Plan in 12 months time

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