Bernard Orsman

Bernard Orsman is Super City reporter for the NZ Herald.

Budget riles Aucklanders

Auckland Mayor Len Brown. Photo / Sarah Ivey
Auckland Mayor Len Brown. Photo / Sarah Ivey

Aucklanders are rebelling at Mayor Len Brown's "black budget", which targets core services such as libraries and parks to pay for the $2.86 billion city rail link.

Many people are also reeling at the prospect of higher rates if Mr Brown breaks an election promise to hold rates at 2.5 per cent and goes for 3.5 per cent.

An overall rates increase of 3.5 per cent would result in household rates rising about 4.7 per cent under a policy to shift the rates burden from commercial to residential ratepayers.

Said Herald reader Lynda Brooks: "Since the Super City was formed my rates have gone up 25 per cent in four years. I worked very hard to buy my own home and will not be fleeced by a council that has been irresponsible with finances."

Mr Brown and council bosses outlined an overview of the new 10-year budget on Monday, which includes proposed cuts to many services and slashing up to $2.8 billion of new spending.

Closing under-used halls and swimming pools, ending inorganic rubbish collections and reduced park maintenance are among the options to put rates and debt on an "affordable" and "sustainable" path.

Mr Brown refused to discuss feedback on the budget and rail link yesterday, apart from issuing a statement: "The most consistent message I get from Aucklanders is that the City Rail Link needs to be our number one priority. That hasn't changed."

Auckland Transport has spent about $35 million buying properties along the 3.4km route from Britomart to Mt Eden.

Andrew Schollum summed up a lot of feedback to the Herald on the rail link, saying it would benefit the inner city suburbs, but the cost in slashed services will affect everyone else.Bernard Orsman

- NZ Herald

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