Auckland Mayor Len Brown may break a key election promise to hold overall rates increases at or below 2.5 per cent this term.
Mr Brown could not give a guarantee to keep the promise as he headed into a meeting this morning to discuss a new 10-year budget.
Councillors, Local Board members, council agency staff and members of the Maori Statutory Board are being given the first overview of the budget that could slash up to $2.8 billion of new spending over 10 years.
The budget will examine rates options of 2.5 per cent and 3.5 per cent, less than the 4.9 per cent in the current 10-year budget.
Asked if he would keep his election promise of holding rates to no more than 2.5 per cent, Mr Brown said it was the preference of Aucklanders and councillors to maintain rates increases at a prudent level as possible.
"We will be looking to rates increases in and around 2.5 per cent...but we will also be taking the advice of our officers and I will be listening to the views of my political colleagues and the community.
"One thing we don't want to do is compromise the ability of the city build forward in a sustainable way," he said.
Households have received cumulative rates increases of up to 38 per cent under Mr Brown's first four budgets.
Mr Brown said he had been elected twice on prudent financial management, reasonably low rate levels, well managed debt, but balanced with strong investment in the Auckland economy.
"I will be going to the community, as will our councillors and Local Boards, and we will be giving them an indication of what we feel is an affordable way forward balancing off those two things.
"My mind will be open until that point in time," Mr Brown said.
As Mayor of Auckland, Mr Brown doubles as City Treasurer with responsibility for the budget.