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Aucklanders face a rates increase of between 3.9 per cent and 6 per cent for 2011-12, but new Super City mayor Len Brown aims to set rates at or around the forecast rate of inflation of 2.6 per cent.

The Auckland Transition Agency has melded the budgets of the eight outgoing councils and arrived at a 6 per cent rates rise for the 2011-12 year.

It said the Auckland Council could get this down to 3.9 per cent from further savings of $47.7 million, without identifying the extra savings.

The agency has forecast savings of $75 million in the 2011-12 year, mostly from big job cuts. Further job cuts are forecast to take the savings to $95 million the following year.

Setting up the Super City has cost $200 million, which will be borne by ratepayers. Costs include about $125 million for information technology, $34 million for the transition agency, $26.5 million to set up a mega-water company and $14 million by the outgoing councils.

Mr Brown said last night his goal was to set rates at or around inflation. The latest consensus forecast from the Institute of Economic Research for the inflation rate for 2011-12 and 2012-13 was 2.6 per cent a year.

Meanwhile, the Auckland Council is being urged to consider right-wing economic measures along the lines of spending cuts in Britain and public sector reforms adopted during the Rogernomics era.

A report on securing efficiencies from the Super City has suggested the council look at freezing spending for three years, be prepared to abolish programmes and be wary of costly risks, such as Manukau's policy of free swimming pools, across the region.

Private sector people should lead reviews of big areas of expenditure, says the report by the financial and economic advisory company Taylor Duignan Barry.

The report was commissioned by the agency designing the Super City to "assist the new Auckland Council in the process of securing efficiencies arising from the reorganisation".

Mayor Brown poured cold water on the recommendations, saying he was neither right-wing nor radical, nor was the council "going down the path of having a Bill Birch clear-field approach", a reference to the former National Party finance minister hired by Mayor John Banks in 2004 to slash council spending.

Mr Brown said he had been elected to adopt common-sense, fair and prudent management of the finances.


Len Brown will be sworn in as the first mayor of the Super City today, promising to fix Auckland's transport.

According to draft speech notes for his inaugural speech at the Auckland Town Hall, Mr Brown will take his strong mandate as the green light to build an inner-city rail loop, rail to the airport and rail to the North Shore.

Mr Brown will also have a strong message for Prime Minister John Key, who is due to attend the inauguration and has poured cold water on the mayor's ambitious plans for rail.

For New Zealand to catch and pass Australia in the economic stakes - a goal of Mr Key's Government - Auckland's infrastructure needs to match and surpass that of Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney, Mr Brown will say.

The mayor will acknowledge it will not be easy to fund the expensive rail projects, "but we will do it".

He will commit Auckland to building a world-class convention centre and modern cruise ship terminal, pulling together all of Auckland's communities and diverse cultures for a "truly united future" and plans for 100 projects in his first 100 days in office.

The 20 councillors will also be sworn in at a three-hour ceremony at the town hall, which includes performances by city organist Dr John Wells and a premiere by the Auckland Philharmonic Orchestra of the Fanfare for Auckland.

Yesterday, Mr Brown said he was very excited about the sense of history of the occasion, three weeks after beating John Banks by 65,945 votes for the leadership of Auckland.

He was speaking at his new mayoral office in the town hall, which had been occupied by Mr Banks for the past three years in his second term as mayor of the old Auckland City Council.

Earlier, Mr Banks signed the visitors' book in the mayoral office: "Last mayor. Last day of a great city. Thank you for the honour and the privilege. Best wishes to everyone who follows here at the town hall. Gone again ... Banksie 2001-2004, 2007-2010."