Auckland Council is not yet 'fit for purpose' and in some areas appears out of control, says Auckland Chamber of Commerce in a submission on a new 10-year budget.
"In a real sense Auckland is at a crossroads," chamber of commerce chief executive Michael Barnett said.
"One road has us continuing to jolt along a conflict-riddled and 'jumping from crisis-to-crisis'road.
"We have yet to find the other road we need to get onto and travel if we are to deliver the 'better Auckland' we all want," he said.
The chamber today released a 17-page submission on the draft budget, a few hours before public consultation closes at 4pm today.
The council has received more than 15,000 submisisons on the budget, which includes an overall rates rise of 3.5 per cent this year and a choice between a basic transport plan or raising an extra $300 million a year from motorway tolls or a mix of a regional fuel tax and higher rates to fund a much larger programme.
The chamber of commerce recommends rates should be limited to the rate of inflation.
It wants the $385 uniform general charge raised to $500. The charge is what every ratepayers pays towards council services regardless of property value.
The chamber is opposed to the regional fuel tax/higher rates option for transport and wants the motorway toll option to be debated further with the view of looking at other revenue sources.
Mr Barnett wants the council to explore the idea of the 'landlord model' for Ports of Auckland, whereby the council would maximise the return from its 100 per cent ownership by leasing the operations.
"An arrangement along these lines wouldn't give the port company an open book to expand further into the harbour.
"The lease arrangement would prescribe a precinct in which the port operations would be constrained," Mr Barnett said.
The chamber submission has called for the sale of the council's film studio in West Auckland, which is valued at $10 million.
It supports a line-by-line review of council spending, saying significant savings could be possible in the areas of planning, staff costs, an audit of selected areas, such as parks and council-controlled organisations - in particular Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development(Ateed).
The submission called on the council to require chief executive Stephen Town to "take a broom" to what appears to be excessive staff numbers and salaries.
"Contrary to promises at the time that Auckland Council was established in 2010, Auckland Council staff levels have not significantly reduced from the levels that existed under the seven legacy councils at amalgamation."
The submission said there 9430 fulltime equivalent staff in 2010 and 9394 in mid-2014.
Grey Power Auckland zone director Bill Rayner said he shared the chamber of commerce view that Auckland Council was not fit for purpose.
Mr Rayner said a recent meeting of eight Grey Power associations in Auckland called for dissolution of the Super City structure.
In a submission on the budget, Mr Rayner said that maybe a step too far at this stage but reflected a widespread and valid concern that the Super City was not working in the way it was presented to Aucklanders.
The submission said the multi-layered structure of the mayor's office, governing body, Local Boards, council-controlled organisations, Maori Statutory Board and new entities like a body to run the city's volcanic cones, or maunga, was complex and lacked cohesion.
The result was a "growing perception that the elected councillors do not have effective control of overall council affair", Mr Rayner said.
"It is time for an open and honest debate on whether the Super City is working as intended," the Grey Power submission said.