A small crowd of about 50 people have turned out at a public meeting in Auckland tonight to discuss looming rates increases.
Nine speakers, including a line-up of local and national politicians, are among those speaking at the Auckland Rates Increases public meeting at the Mt Eden War Memorial Hall in Dominion Rd.
The meeting follows a decision by Auckland Council to raise rates by 6.9 per cent from next month, although new valuations and a plan to lower business rates means the average household rates increase is 9.9 per cent.
The 6.9 per cent rates increase comprises a 2.5 per cent general rates rise and a 4.4 per cent targeted rate to top up spending on transport.
Factors, including the revaluations and completing the move to a single rating system for the Super City, will lead to average household rates increases above and below the 9.9 per cent figure.
In the Albert-Eden Local Board area, where tonight's meeting is being held, the average household rates increase is 14.9 per cent.
Orakei councillor Cameron Brewer told the meeting that 80 per cent of ratepayer feedback on the new budget opposed a 3.5 per cent rates increase.
"As you know you will get served up a residential average increase of 9.9 per cent," Mr Brewer said.
He said the council should find the extra money for new transport infrastructure spending of $60 million from within its $3.5 billion operating budget.
Fonterra, Mr Brewer said, was looking within its head office "and that's what we need to do".
United Future representative Damien Light said a fundamental review of local government was needed.
The current system, he said, was not sustainable or viable in future without massive rates increases.
Mr Light said United Future had promoted alternatives such as income and sales taxes.
Act leader and Epsom MP David Seymour said there was real anxiety out there.
He said the council was tackling an infrastructure deficit built up over decades but the bigger issue was a question of priorities.
"When we have got the mayor in Los Angeles tonight trying to be a global dealmaker with businessmen is that the role of local government," Mr Seymour said.
Mr Brown is currently leading a business delegation to the United States.
Hinurewa Te Hau, of the Maori Party, said Mr Brown made a promise to keep rates at 2.5 per cent.
"That has gone out the door. This will have an impact on our communities throughout Auckland," Ms Te Hau said.
One of the meeting organisers, Dick Cuthbert, said he was concerned about rising rates, saying they were well above inflation, unfair for people on fixed and low incomes and represented a broken promise by Mayor Len Brown, who campaigned on holding rates to 2.5 per cent.
Speakers at tonight's meeting include Orakei councillor Cameron Brewer, Epsom MP and Act leader David Seymour, National list MP Parmjeet Parma, protester and mayoral candidate Penny Bright, Affordable Auckland mayoral candidate Stephen Berry, Grey Power Auckland zone director Bill Rayner, Auckland Ratepayers' Alliance representative Jo Holmes, NZ First representative Brent Catchpole, Hinurewa Te Hau, from the Maori Party, and Damien Light, from United Future.
The first rates installments go out in early August.