The average Auckland homeowner will pay an extra $270 in rates under a plan by Mayor Phil Goff to raise rates by 3.5 per cent a year in his second term.
Goff intends to increase general rates from 2.5 per cent a year in his first term to 3.5 per cent in his second term to meet the challenges and pressures on the cash-strapped council.
For someone owning the average home in Auckland, this year's rates bill of $2500 will increase by about $270 over the next three years. This equates to about $5 a week.
At his campaign launch yesterday, Goff said rates increases of 3.5 per cent were consulted widely amongst Aucklanders last year as part of his 10-year budget and received overwhelming support by councillors.
"I would much rather have a lower rate increase, but when we face rising construction costs, the huge demands on our infrastructure, we have to be realistic about the amount of money we raise," Goff said.
The mayor has been under fire from some quarters over his rates policy, which has included replacing a targeted rate for transport with targeted rates for the environment and improving water quality; a regional fuel tax of 11.5 cents a litre and a bed tax for accommodation providers.
More than 300 people, including Transport Minister Phil Twyford, several other Labour MPs, councillors and supporters attended the campaign launch in Mt Albert where Goff unveiled a slogan, "Building Auckland's Future", but little in the way of detail and policy.
The mayor hinted at extending his policy of paying the living wage to council staff to council contractors, and the need for a 10-year review of the Super City in 2020 with special focus on the accountability of council-controlled organisations.
Goff is placing trust at the centre of his campaign as he squares off against former Labour MP John Tamihere with former National MP Chris Fletcher as his running mate.
"This year's mayoral election is about who Aucklanders trust with the job of building the future of their city, and whose values and vision best matches up with their own," Goff said.
He said he would be standing on his merits, integrity, skill, experience and trustworthiness.
Tamihere has "welcomed" Phil Goff's announcement that he is seeking a second term but labelled him "a puppet for central government". Goff is standing as an independent with the endorsement of the Labour Party.
Goff reeled off a number of achievements in his first term, including house construction at record levels, huge investment in water quality, wiping out predators in the Hunua Ranges and housing 700 homeless people and families.
"Three years ago I ran for mayor because I wanted to play my part in shaping the future direction of our region - having started that job, I now want to see it through," he said.
Goff said traffic congestion - which has got worse under his leadership - remains one of Auckland's biggest challenges.
He listed transport, housing, the environment, supporting local communities and delivering value for money as his focus for a second term.
"We've made good progress but there is still much to do. Having started the job, I want to see it through," he said.
Goff, who was in Parliament for 32 years as a Labour MP, convincingly won the mayoralty in 2016 with a 76,000-vote majority over Victoria Crone. His campaign cost $410,000.