Phil Goff's first 10-year budget looks for all the world to be a political success by holding the average rates increase to 1.4 per cent.

But strip away this impressive headline figure and it's clear there is no such thing as a free lunch.

Yes, after a complex mix of levies, general rates and targeted rates are taken into account, the average residential ratepayers will receive a 1.4 per cent rates rise - well below Goff's election promise to hold rates at 2.5 per cent.

But after a helping hand from the Government to introduce a regional petrol tax, Goff has pushed many of the costs to ease congestion, help fix the housing crisis and clean up the harbours from rates to the petrol pump.


According to the Automobile Association, motorists petrol bills will go up by $125 a year, equal to a 9 per cent rates rise.

One of Goff's early promises was to find new revenue sources to take the burden off ratepayers. To this end, he has succeeded with the election of a Labour-led Government, which has agreed to change the law to allow for a regional petrol tax in Auckland.

When the draft 10-year budget goes out for public consultation in March, Aucklanders will see the proposals for what they are. Low rates and higher petrol prices to fix the city's woes.

The full package - rates and higher petrol prices - will deliver another $6 billion of new projects over the next 10 years.