Auckland councillors have voted 10-9 to approve Mayor Len Brown's new 10-year budget.

Those to vote for the budget were Mayor Len Brown, Arthur Anae, Bill Cashmore, Linda Cooper, Chris Darby, Alf Filipaina, Mike Lee, Calum Penrose, Wayne Walker, Penny Webster.

Councillors to vote against the budget were Cameron Brewer, Cathy Casey, Ross Clow, Chris Fletcher, Denise Krum, Dick Quax, Sharon Stewart, John Watson and George Wood.

Auckland councillors had been debating the new budget today, amid warnings it could be unlawful not to adopt it today and too late to make changes.


The Auditor-General, Lyn Provost, warned councillors they would be in breach of the law if the budget was not passed by next Tuesday.

Council chief executive Stephen Town told councillors that Ms Provost had also made it clear that tinkering and making late changes to the budget would not see it adopted by June 30.

That was because the Office of the Auditor-General could not provide a new audit based on any changes.

Mr Town said the council needed to be really clear of the need to adopt the budget by July 1, otherwise the council would be operating in an unlawful manner.

"We cannot set the rates, which means we cannot satisfy the confidence that the financial community needs to have in the council's ability to continue its cashflow collection.

"It is very, very clear what is required at this meeting, which is a formal adoption. We have actually completed the political and democratic debate on what should be in the long-term plan (budget)," he said.

One of the councillors opposed to the budget, Denise Krum, said the council was operating in the realm of a lack of trust.

"This is precisely the time where we should be bringing ratepayers with us," she said.


Ms Krum said a transport targeted rate, which takes average household rates increases to 9.9 per cent, "severely lacked visibility", adding no-one had the script on the rate during public consultation.

Ms Krum said councillors had been told that the impact of the rates increases would be more than $1000 for some people, that was the equivalent of some people's Christmas shopping budget.

Another councillor opposed to the budget, John Watson, said public consultation on the targeted rate for transport was inadequate.

He said the 16-page household summary on the budget had just one sentence on the issue. Of the 271,554 feedback points on the budget the targeted rate attracted 39 responses.

Mr Watson said in his view the council did not fulfill its consultation requirements under the Local Government Act.

Ms Provost, has urged councillors to consider matters "extremely seriously" while saying she did not have any advice on what they should do.

She told councillors there were a number of matters they needed to take into account as they think about their decisions.

They included considering the community of Auckland and the impact on rates, which could not be struck if the budget was not passed by June 30.

She said without a budget the council could issue invoices for a percentage of last year's rates for the first quarter of the new financial year, starting on July 1.

Ms Provost said the biggest consequence was in the funding area.

The council, she said, had significant funding agreements and debt instruments on three stocks exchanges in New Zealand, Switzerland and Singapore that would require notification.

There would also be implications for the council's interest costs and the cost of renewal of debt.

Mr Brown told councillors he was prepared to sit at the table for two, three or four days if that was how long it took to adopt the budget.

"I'm the protector and guardian of the purse of this city," he said.

The council had made its decisions in the budget on May 7 and May 8, he said.

"We have agreed the plan, now we have to adopt the budget," Mr Brown said.

The council will be in a necessary "temporary state of crisis" if a proposed 10-year $60 million budget is thrown out, councillor Christine Fletcher says.

Ms Fletcher told Newstalk ZB the rate increase was "completely and utterly unacceptable".

Some councillors were thinking of abstaining this week - a move that would not help the situation, Ms Fletcher said.

If councillors "vote properly" and the budget was declined it would mean a "temporary state of crisis" which would help the council springboard into a new way of thinking, she said.

"I am hoping that councillors will enter into the spirit of the debate today, remembering the ratepayers. I'm hopeful that common sense will prevail," she said.

"Democracy is a strange thing. I do not want people who have worked hard, played pushed out of their community because they just can't afford the rates."

Ms Fletcher said her community had been struggling with rising rates since 2010.

Chris Darby, one of the councillors in favour of the budget, said the public have said there was a huge public transport deficit and the council had finally got it.

Mr Darby said Aucklanders were bursting for the council to do more, and was delighted it had committed to reweighting spending towards public transport.

"We have gone up and down the isles picking things for this budget and it is time to check out.

"You can't go past the checkout without confirming your budget," Mr Darby said.

Another councillor in favour of the budget, Franklin's Bill Cashmore said the transport targeted rate amounted to an extra $2.19 a week to provide $520 million of new transport spending over three years.

Papakura councillor Calum Penrose said he may get shot next year for supporting the budget.

"We are here to make some hard calls. Sadly some people don't want to make those hard calls," he said.

What the budget means

- $60 billion of spending over 10 years
- 9.9 per cent average household rates increase from July
- Property revaluations and final step in new rating system for Super City means rates vary across region
- Household rates vary from -13 per cent on Great Barrier Island to 16.9 per cent in Mangere-Otahuhu
- $114 targeted rate for households

- With additional reporting from NZME. News Service