Auckland Mayor Len Brown faced a barrage of angry ratepayers' questions last night at a packed church hall meeting in St Heliers.
Mr Brown acknowledged that the residents - in the Orakei Ward of the Auckland Council - were at the "peak" of the council's rate increases.
He figured the average rates change across all rating bands in Orakei was about 12 per cent.
That brought laughter and cries of "that's not inflation".
But more laughter was to come - and a cry of "utter cobblers" - when he asked the audience to consider that the new united city rates and a separate charge for waste water charge reduced the cost increases in the area to 1.3 per cent.
Mr Brown said the uniform annual charge for each house of $350 was the most fair amount for the whole community.
He was asked why he seemed to be "ploughing ahead" with big ticket items without regard to the realities of people's economic position?
Mr Brown said the council had inherited a huge potential increase which had been reduced to an average rates increase of 3.6 per cent.
Guy King of the residents' association said it was "extraordinary" the council was spending $10.8 million on V8 racing at Pukekohe yet giving the Orakei Local Board just $11 million for the year to spend in the ward.
"When are you going to give back to the purse that continually funds your eftpos card?"