Auckland households are facing a steep rates rise of about 9.5 per cent to pay for Mayor Len Brown's latest budget plan.
The mayor has released some details of the plan he outlined last Thursday, which included a general rates increase of 2.5 per cent and a targeted rate of about 4 per cent to top up spending on transport.
But due to new valuations and a lowering of business rates, it has emerged the combined impact of the general and targeted rate on households will be in the region of 9.5 per cent.
This is a steep increase from an earlier 5.6 per cent average rates rise for households.
Mr Brown did not say what the latest average household rates increase would be, but gave the example of a $750,000 property, where the combined rates would rise from $2160 to $2365.
He said this was a rise of $3.94 a week - equivalent to a 9.5 per cent rates rise.
Mr Brown has not released a breakdown of the combined rates by Local Board area.
The $99 flat charge for the targeted rate will have a bigger impact on poorer suburbs, like Otara, Papatoetoe and Beach Haven, where rates will rise by 11.5 per cent for houses valued at $500,000 - well below the average sales price of $804,282 recorded by Barfoot & Thompson last month.
The targeted rate for businesses in $159.
Mr Brown has introduced the targeted rate to replace a motorway toll or fuel tax, which was included for consultation in the draft 10-year budget and which the Government has repeatedly said it does not support, require legislation and take years to put in place.
He said the targeted rate was in direct response to the majority of Aucklanders saying they are prepared to dip into their pockets to fix the region's transport problems.
Submissions on the draft budget found 27 per cent support for the fuel tax and higher rates option.
Councillors will meet on Thursday and Friday to consider Mr Brown's latest budget plan and make final decisions.
The interim targeted rate will be in place for three years and top up transport spending by $523 million over that period.
Public transport, cycling and walking will receive $280 million.
The biggest boost will come to the city's patchwork cycling network, which will gain 52.4km of dedicated space.
Spending on cycling and walking programmes will increase from $14 million in a basic transport programme to $124 million, including about $30 million from the Government's urban cycleways fund and $45 million in subsidies from the New Zealand Transport Agency.
A new bus network across the city, 45km of new bus lanes, bus and rail interchanges at Otahuhu, Manukau and Te Atatu are on the cards if Mayor Len Brown can persuade councillors to accept the targeted rate.
The Otara-Papatoetoe and Kaipatiki Local Boards do not support a rates increase for increased spending on transport because of the impact on low income households.
North Shore councillor George Woods said the targeted rate of $99 for residential and $159 business was never signalled in the brochure that went to each home and business across Auckland.
A targeted rate for transport of $58.99 was buried in detailed budget documents, he said.
"People clearly wanted a change from rates and all they have got is a substantial rates increase," he said.
Mr Wood said councillors have been left in limbo for five days trying to get information from council officers, saying today's details raises more issues and questions.
"Councillors deserve to get the very best information from the mayor and council officers as to the meaning and impact of this targeted rate. Setting rates is one of the most important decisions councillors make and it's very concerning to be kept in the dark.
"This new fixed charge has distorted the makeup of the budget figures and the true impact has not, it appears, been appreciated," Mr Wood said.
He said the advisory group that prepared the motorway toll and fuel/rates options recommended an interim rates should be based on property values, not a fixed charge.
The Office of the Auditor-General said it was up to councils to assess the level of consultation for a draft 10-year budget and decide if further consultation is required.
A mayoral spokesman said the council had conducted the most comprehensive budget consultation process in New Zealand.
"Aucklanders provided very strong feedback during that process that they want the council to fix Auckland's transport issues and they are willing to pay to ensure that happens. The council's own professional and legal advisers are confident that what is being proposed is well within its ability to make this decision following the consultation already undertaken."