Well-known activist Penny Bright will have to pay more than $34,000 in unpaid rates to the Auckland Council, after a court judgment in the council's favour.

The decision comes after a long battle between the council and Ms Bright, who has unpaid rates going back to 2007.

A total of $34,182.56 in rates and penalties had been outstanding, as of last June.

Auckland Council's group chief financial officer, Sue Tindal, said court action was the last resort when it came to recovering unpaid rates.


"We have given Ms Bright ample opportunity to resolve this matter in a way that would not cause her financial hardship, including rates postponement," she said.

Ms Bright will now have to pay the outstanding rates amount or make a payment plan.

If she continues to refuse to pay her rates, the council will be able to apply to the High Court for a rating sale to recover unpaid rates.

In 2007, Ms Bright declared she would not be paying her rates until she knew where her money was going.

She called on the council to reveal publicly exactly what ratepayers' money was being used for - down to the last dollar.

Ms Bright said she would not comment but she said she was not talking to media until she'd read the judgment.